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Subject: What are these tiny bugs?
Location: Melbourne Australia
April 9, 2014 1:11 am
Hi There,
I noticed thousands of these tiny little bugs sheltering on an indigenous tree & a neighbouring fence bollard today. i’m guessing the very small red ones are the nymph stage of the slightly larger ( still only a couple of millimeters ) black and white ones. I’m not sure if they would normally be in the tree as we have had an unusually large amount of rain in the last few days and they might have been trying to get to higher and dryer ground. They look like they might be some kind of harlequin beetle to me but if they are they have a long way to get to the size of the ones I sometimes see around.
Hopefully they don’t all survive to adult stage if that is the case as I will have trouble getting through my front door!
Signature: Nick A

Coon Bugs, perhaps

Coon Bugs, perhaps

Hi Nick,
We have been researching this for some time now, and we believe we may have the correct answer for you.  Our first stop with Australian identifications is often the Brisbane Insect website, and we found some images of individual bugs that look somewhat like the winged adults in your incredible aggregation images.  They are identified on the Brisbane Insect website as Coon Bugs or Cottonseed Bugs in the family Oxycarenidae and this information is supplied:  “
Oxycarenus luctuosus or A. [we presume a misprint that should be O.] arctatus, body length 5mm.  The Cottonseed Bugs are small in size. Their back is triangular-patterned in black and white colours. We found them on our hibiscus plants on early spring. The nymphs are black in colour with blood-red abdomens.”  That description matches your images.  We did find the family represented on BugGuide where it states:  “formerly treated under Lygaeidae” and “worldwide, mostly Old World, esp. Palaearctic & Afrotropical(1); in NA, more diverse in the west.”  BugGuide also notes:  “seed-eaters; hosts include plants in a dozen families (there are cotton pests in this family, but not in NA).”  The Atlas of Living Australia has sightings in South Australia including on the border of Victoria, your state, but none close to Melbourne.  Furthermore, there are none in Queensland, the state where the Brisbane website originates.  No reported sightings doesn’t mean that they are not found there, just that no sightings have been reported to the Atlas of Living Australia.  FlickR has a nice set of images of closeups of Coon Bugs, but none show the incredible aggregation that you have documented.  Biodiversity Snapshots indicates they are found “Throughout Australia, including across Victoria.”  Finally, we located an image on FlickR that is identified as Coon Bug, Oxycarenus arctatus, and there is a link to a pdf that states:  “Coon bug, Oxycarenus arctatus, and cottonseed bug, Oxycarenus luctuosus, which are seed and fruit feeders, live by preference on malvaceous plants, such as the weed marshmallow, and hibiscus and cotton. Occasionally they swarm on other cultivated plants, damaging their growth, and on fruit trees, especially stone fruits. They suck the juices of the ripening fruits, leaving dried discoloured patches. If younger fruits are attacked they shrivel and exude gum. These small bugs often swarm around fowl yards, on fences and around the bases of walls of houses and outbuildings. The two species look similar, about 3 mm long and black and white as adults. The nymphs are black with blood-red abdomens.”

Close-up of Coon Bugs

Close-up of Coon Bugs

We are creating a new category for your Coon Bugs in the family Oxycarenidae.

Coon Bugs

Coon Bugs

Hi there again,
Many thanks for your searching efforts and yes, I can confirm that the bugs were indeed coon bugs after checking your links.
The tree they were congregating on ( due to all the rain I think ) is on the edge of a park that has a lot of the mallow weed in it so that makes sense also.
Once again thanks for your work. I am greatly impressed with your site and the work you did for me.
regards,
Nick from Melbourne.

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this beetle poisonous?
Location: Southern California
April 6, 2014 11:01 am
Hi,
We found this bug in my daughters bed. For the past week, she has been waking up with horribly swollen and disfiguring bites that turn into oozing blisters within a few days. Any ideas what this is?
Signature: Thank you, Krishni

Western Conenose Bug

Western Conenose Bug

Dear Krishni,
This is not a beetle.  It is a species of Assassin Bug known as a Kissing Bug or Western Conenose Bug,
Triatoma protracta.  You can compare your individual to this image on BugGuide.  Though it is not a poisonous species, it is of some concern because they carry a pathogen known to cause Chagas Disease.  Chagas Disease is a much greater threat in the tropics than it is in the United States, but there is a possibility that your daughter might have contracted the protozoan that causes Chagas Disease.  According to BugGuide:  “Bite can cause severe allergic reaction in many humans. Bite and defecation into bite can transmit Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan. The most notorious vector is T. infestans, found in South America. The North American species are not normally thought to transmit the disease, though they can carry the parasite. (The North American species do not normally defecate at the site of the bite, which is what actually transmits the parasite–see Kissing bugs (Triatoma) and the skin [University of California eScholarship]. The CDC site says that rare vector-borne cases of Chagas disease have been noted in the so. US.”  You may want to contact the Center for Disease Control for additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Attacked while watching TV
Location: Central Mississippi
April 3, 2014 8:37 pm
Dear Bugmen, This bug came out of nowhere and flew right down the leg of my shorts and gave me a decent sized sting (or bite?). It appears to have a stinger on its head, and it did put out a pretty foul smell. Its been a few minutes so i guess I’m not going to die but I’m sure curious what he was. Any ideas?
Signature: Bewildered in Mississippi

Black Corsair

Black Corsair

Dear Bewildered in Mississippi,
This Assassin Bug appears to be a Black Corsair,
Melanolestes picipes, and though they are not considered dangerous, the bite is reported to be quite painful.  You can compare your individual to this image posted to BugGuide.  It is noted on BugGuide that:  “Males seen in open in spring, presumably searching for females? During mating, spongy pads on legs are used by males to mount females. …  Males come to lights in summer.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Caution: reported to sometimes bite humans (when handled).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird bug in Maine
Location: Northeastern USA,Maine
March 29, 2014 9:15 pm
Hi bugman. We just got our first semi nice day here in Maine and all the birds and bugs are coming out,quite beautiful. But,we had some clothes out on the clothesline and we shook them out good then we saw this bug tonight. Not sure if its from outside from the clothes or from our basement? Our neighbor just did get back from Florida,too. It has my mother freaked! lol
Signature: Jacob from Maine

Masked Hunter

Masked Hunter

Hi Jacob,
It is quite apparent from your images that this Masked Hunter met with an untimely end, perhaps at the hand of your “freaked” mother.  The Masked Hunter is a local species for you, and it is a species that has adapted to living in close proximity to humans.  Masked Hunters are predators that when they are immature, like your individual, have a sticky surface that attracts dust and debris, effectively masking them, effective camouflage in their environment.  Masked Hunters feed on Bed Bugs and other undesirable creatures in the home, so they are beneficial, though they might bite if carelessly handled.  We would urge you to be more tolerant if you encounter additional Masked Hunters in the future, and we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Indianapolis Beetle
Location: Indianapolis, IN
March 29, 2014 7:08 pm
We saw this bug at a house we are considering buying. Should we be concerned about an infestation? Is it a type of cockroach?
Signature: Corey C.

Red Shouldered Bug

Red Shouldered Bug

Dear Corey,
This is a Red Shouldered Bug,
Jadera haematoloma, and it is basically a benign species, however, when they have a food source and conditions are correct, they can become quite plentiful when they gather in aggregations, and then they might become a nuisance.  Red Shouldered Bugs feed on the seeds of various plants, including the Goldenrain Tree, Koelreuteria sp.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults and larvae tend to feed in groups, and favor developing seeds and fruits of their favored hosts, but will also suck sap from foliage, flowers, buds, or oozing stems. They feed on a variety of plants primarily in and related to the family Sapindaceae. Favorites include Balloonvine (Cardiospermum species) and Goldenrain Tree (Koelreuteria sp.), both in Sapindaceae, and they regularly use Soapberry (Sapindus sp.; Sapindaceae) and Maple/Boxelder (Acer sp.; Aceraceae). Additionally, reported on a variety of other plants, especially feeding on fruit, including Chinaberry (Melia azedarach; Meliaceae), Fig (Ficus spp.; Moraceae), Althaea (Malvaceae), Plum, Cherry, & Peach (Prunus sp.; Rosaceae), Apple (Malus sp.; Rosaceae), Grape (Vitis sp.; Vitaceae), Ash (Fraxinus sp.; Oleaceae), etc. Adults sometimes gather around human food leftovers and other smashed insects to feed as well.”  BugGuide also notes that the Red Shouldered Bug:  “Also forms aggregations in winter to hibernate, often in association with human residences.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Corythucha species in so cal?
Location: Deukmejian Wilderness Park, La Crescenta, California 91214
March 28, 2014 10:49 pm
Hello,
I have been recently photographing a species of Lace Bug (Corythucha) for a biology project that I cannot identify. I have found these solely on the Thick-leaf Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium) and observed clusters of the nymphs as well (which I have included in the photos). The adults seemed to be exhibiting some maternal care and am very curious to find out what species I have been observing as this is the only population I have been able to find in this area. I have collected these photos from Deukmejian Wilderness Park in La Crescenta, CA 91214 in the Alluvial community at an elevation of 2500 ft. I will greatly appreciate any information you can lend to me, thank you for your time.
Signature: Travis Farwell

Lace Bug

Lace Bug

Hi Travis,
You might want to try posting these images to BugGuide as well because we are a bit leery of providing an exact species identification on Lace Bugs which are quite similar in appearance.  For now, we are posting your excellent images in the hope that one of our readers can provide additional information.

Lace Bug Nymphs

Lace Bug Nymphs

Thank you for your help Daniel, I will be posting to BugGuide shortly.

Let us know if you get a definitive identification.

Lace Bug

Lace Bug

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination