Currently viewing the category: "Aphids, Scale Insects, Leafhoppers, and Tree Hoppers"
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Subject: Please don’t be bed bugs…
Location: Seattle
January 25, 2015 3:57 am
As I was cleaning the house this morning, I removed the blankets from the couch in the living room to be washed. When I pulled one of the blankets up, I noticed about 5 tan colored insects sitting on the couch underneath where the blanket had been. I don’t deal well with bugs, so I immediately grabbed my vacuum and sucked each of them up. Then I decided I may as well vacuum the whole house. I moved to the other side of the room and started vacuuming up the pine needles on the carpet from my live Christmas tree… then I noticed the same bugs! Soon I discovered the tree was infested with them. I decided to throw the tree outside to the curb, decorations and all. When I threw the tree down, a swarm of bugs flew out of the tree and away. I finished vacuuming the entire house right after and haven’t been able to find anymore. I managed to take a blurry pic of one. The bugs were around the size of a lady bug with a tan coloration and six legs. The ones I sucked up with th e vacuum didn’t look or act as though they had wings, but the same looking bugs on the tree almost all had wings. In the pic, the bug is crawling across a stereo speaker. The tree was a Norwegian Spruce, if that matters. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Squeam Queen

Bed Bug or Giant Conifer Aphid???

Bed Bug or Giant Conifer Aphid???

Dear Squeam Queen,
Many folks feel squeamish around insects.  Unfortunately, there is not enough detail in your image to make a conclusive identification.  The location where you found this critter would be indicative that they might have been Bed Bugs, but if you are certain the insects on the Christmas Tree are identical, then we can rule out Bed Bugs.  Live Christmas Trees often carry living creatures, and one of the most common insects found on live trees is the Giant Conifer Aphid.  Giant Conifer Aphids often are not noticed until the tree begins to dry out and the Aphids begin to die.  Aphids are found in both winged forms and those that lack wings.  The most puzzling aspect of this for us is how Giant Conifer Aphids would have gotten from the tree to under the blanket on the couch.  Perhaps a pet?

Eeeeeeeek! Pleeeeease not bed bugs…
Yes, I have 2 cats. I was actually cleaning the apartment as part of my routine for dealing with fleas when I noticed the other creepy crawlers.
Never saw them before and haven’t seen them after. I guess if I see another one I’ll just jar it to learn what I’m dealing with. I’m pretty sure what I saw on the tree was the same as what I sucked up on the couch. I can’t be 100% certain though as it’s kind of a blur now… I was pretty terrified.
I was doing some research on my own before contacting you when I learned about Giant Conifer Aphids. The body looks remarkably like what I saw but the color wasn’t quite right and I haven’t been able to find an image of a light tan colored Giant Conifer Aphid… so I’m really unsure and quite honestly a bit panicked. I don’t really know what to do unless I know what I’m dealing with, you know? Hopefully I’ll catch one so I can know for sure. Thank you for helping me, I really appreciate it.

Hi again Squeam Queen,
We are speculating that the cats were interested in your Christmas Tree and that they also sleep on the couch, which explains how the Aphids could have migrated from tree to couch.

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Subject: White African Bug
Location: South Africa
January 24, 2015 11:58 am
A friend of mine was biking through south africa and took a photo of this bug and a second of a whole tree branch covered in them. What is this bug??
Signature: Confused Friends

Immature Moth Bug:  AKA Flattid Planthopper Nymph

Immature Mothbug: AKA Flattid Planthopper Nymph

Hi Confused Friends,
The white insect you want identified is an immature Planthopper, probably a Flattid Planthopper in the family Flatidae based on this image on iSpot.
  Two of your images include orange or yellow winged insects that we are speculating are adult Mothbugs, a South African name for Flattid Planthoppers.  The adults in your images look similar to Phromnia rosea, a species from Madagascar pictured on the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Research Blog.  We suspect your individuals are closely related as both adults and nymphs look similar to the images of Phromnia rosea pictured on Wildscreen Arkive.

Flattid Planthoppers:  Nymph and Adults

Flattid Planthoppers: Nymph and Adults

Flattid Planthoppers:  Nymphs and Adults

Flattid Planthoppers: Nymphs and Adults

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Subject: Unidentified turquoise bellied (probably) Plant Hopper from Bali, Indonesia
Location: Bali, Indonesia
January 16, 2015 10:44 pm
Dear Bugman,
I found that alien looking creature in my garden.
I am very confused about its identification, it’s head reminds me of mantids, but its movement and fluffy ‘butt’ reminds me of pant hoppers. I thought it could be a sort of moth, given that it apparently sports a galea, but then it has what appears to be a shell. I then thought it would be a kind of coleopteran, but then I was being silly.
It is also rather special in more than one way:
*It moves sideways and backward more often than forward
* It has two wings and two elytras but doesn’t appear to like flying
* It jumps short distances when feeling under pressure
* Sometimes emits a sort of white powder when jumping, probably as a defense mechanism, powder doesn’t seem to have any effect on me, maybe mildly irritating for the skin?
* Its abdomen ends in a sort of furry tuft of hair (thus my guess toward a hopper)
* It seems to have some kind of galea, and no visible mandibles.
* COLORS!
Thanks by advance for your help!
Signature: Danny Hefer

Planthopper

Planthopper

Dear Danny,
We agree that this is a Planthopper, and we are posting your submission prior to attempting a more conclusive identification.

Planthopper

Planthopper

Identification Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Danny:
I believe this is a Eurybrachyid planthopper (Eurybrachyidae = Eurybrachidae). This is a small and obscure family with representative species in Asia, Australia and Africa. In Australia they are commonly referred to as Gum Hoppers or Wattle Hoppers. There is very little information to be found about Eurybrachyids in Indonesia, but based on photos of specimens from other parts of Southeast Asia I would say it is likely a variety of Thessitus sp.  The genus has been reported from Thailand, Borneo and eastern Indonesia, so it seems reasonable that there are representatives on Bali as well. Danny’s comment that he thought it might be a beetle is interesting because some Eurybrachyid Planthoppers do look very much like beetles; so much so that they are sometimes referred to as Beetle Planthoppers. Check out these guys from Cambodia with their perfect false antennae and faces on their backsides. This is an example of automimcry, a type of mimicry where one part of an organism has evolved to resemble another part for the purpose of deception. Walking sideways or backwards is apparently a common behavior among Eurybrachyids, and is probably intended to deceive and confuse predators as well. In the case of some species, Ancyra spp. for example, both forms of deception are employed with impressive results. Regards. Karl

Planthopper

Planthopper

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Subject: Xmas tree bugs
Location: United Kingdom
December 28, 2014 12:36 pm
Hi I’m from UK and want to identify this bug I have found at the Base of my Normann Fir tree. The photo should show size but approx 5mm bigger than an and but smaller than a spider.
Signature: Steve

Aphids

Aphids

Hi Steve,
We believe these are Giant Conifer Aphids and each holiday season we receive several reports of infested Christmas Trees.  Often folks do not know the trees are infested until the trees begin to dry out and the Aphids either die or begin to search for a fresh food source.

Thanks Daniel, hope you have a great New Year.
Kind Regards, Steve

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Subject: These guys fell out of my hair
Location: Caledon, Ontario, Canada
December 21, 2014 9:54 am
Hello there, I have spent all morning scouring the internet to no avail.
What do you think these guys are, they fell out of my hair easily this morning. I have been renovating the basement, and sticking my head up into the cobwebs in the ceiling, but we also have a six-month old boy, a dog, cat and two horses. The closest I cam was a spider beetle, but those posterior black stubs are throwing me off. Just want to make sure that they are not ticks or bed bugs.
The body/thorax is around 2 mm long, and both images are the same scale.
Signature: CP

Aphid

Aphid

Dear CP,
This is an Aphid, a common pest on many cultivated and wild plants.  Do you have a live Christmas tree in the house?  Living trees brought indoors often carry unwelcome insect visitors, and Aphids coming indoors on Christmas trees are seasonal holiday sightings for our site.

Hi Daniel, thank you so much for the quick response! About 30 mins after I sent you the message, I realized that I had moved a house plant into another room…an OLEANDER…so guess what I looked up next! Big sigh of relief! The plant was covered in them!
Great site, you are one of a kind and thank you so much for the help!

Thanks for that update CP.  We did not think this looked like a Giant Conifer Aphid.  Oleander Aphids are generally yellow in color.

It wasn’t until I looked up the milkweed/oleander aphid that I realized it was a juvenile. Amazing little creatures; what would be your theory on how they ended up in my house, in the middle of winter, a thousand kilometers north of the natural range of oleander plants?
I suppose that phenomenon is similar to when the red Asiatic lily beetles appear in mid-summer to munch on – you guessed it – my Asiatic lilies.
The life of a human is so busy and hectic these days, those little natural details just get swept away in the madness…almost impossible to spot with the untrained eye.
Good to know there are still people out there who care about the heaviest portion of the world’s total biomass.
Colin

Hello again Colin,
The Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid,
Aphis nerii, feeds on plants other than oleander and milkweed that contain milky sap.  Our own potted Hoya plants are prone to infestations, especially on the new growth.  People who live in areas with freezing winter climates often grow semitropical plants like your own oleander, and they are frequently taken outdoors during the warm summer months when they might become host to a single female Aphid that will reproduce indoors under favorable conditions.  According to BugGuide, the range of the Oleander Aphid included Maine, and though there are no Canadian reports, we can assure you that insects do not respect international borders.  It is also possible that a recently acquired plant was purchased with a preexisting population of Aphids that initially escaped notice, but eventually multiplied.

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Subject: Tiny insect found on floor
Location: Ukiah, California
November 27, 2014 12:25 pm
I found this insect I believe to be a treehopper, but I am not too sure.I do not have the best of cameras, but I hope you can identify this.
Signature: I like bugs

Spittlebug

Spittlebug

In our opinion, this looks like a Spittlebug or Froghopper in the family Cercopidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Spittlebug: nymphs surround themselves with a frothy mass that resembles spittle.”  You may have noticed the spittle masses on plants in the area.

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