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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: They are devouring my figs!
Location: San Diego County, CA
August 5, 2014 12:15 pm
Dear Bugman
My young fig tree was going to have a big crop of figs – until these guys arrived! We live on 3 acres in northern San Diego County, CA, mild weather, etc.
I have spent HOURS looking online, but still haven’t found anything quite like them. I don’t think they are Japanese beetles, but that’s as close as I can come. I believe that they attack fruit that has had a bird peck at it, but once that happens, they are voracious.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your time,
Signature: Kathy

African Painted Bugs eat Figs!!!

African Painted Bugs eat Figs!!!

Hi Kathy,
When we read your subject line and saw the title of your digital image “BIG beetles”
, we thought for certain we were going to be responding that you have Figeaters, which fly in Southern California in August.  These are not big beetles, but rather, small Stink Bugs, African Painted Bugs, Bagrada hilaris, to be more exact.  We first encounted African Painted Bugs in our own garden in 2009 on kale and collard greens, and we learned at the time that this was a new invasive, exotic species that was just discovered in Southern California.  Several months later we predicted that:  “If there are no known predators, the African Painted Bugs might become a very serious agricultural pest in California.”  Most literature we read indicated that the African Painted Bugs prefer members of the cabbage family, including the kale and collard greens in our garden, but in 2010, we received a report from Arizona that African Painted Bugs were found on figs.  In 2011, the African Painted Bugs made the Los Angeles Times.  You should be able to locate significantly more information on the AFrican Painted Bugs now than we found back in 2009, and we still maintain that this is probably the biggest threat to agriculture in Southern California in recent memory.  African Painted Bugs have also been reported on citrus on the island of Cyprus.  We rid our garden of African Painted Bug by ripping out the kale and collard greens, but sadly, that is not an option with your fig tree.  Good luck with this scourge.

Yikes!
Daniel, I fear that you are dead on in your diagnosis!  My “BIG bugs” tag referred to the size of the photo: I had significantly enlarged it.  Now that I have a name I will do more research.  Thank you soooo much!
Gratefully,
Kathy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Stabby the Bug
Location: San Francisco, CA
August 3, 2014 5:57 pm
My wife felt something biting her in bed and caught this guy red- proboscis-ed. We live in San Francisco, California (west Side, nearish the ocean). The bug is about 3-4mm and has a long proboscis which is why I named it “Stabby rather than “Bitey”. I can tell that it is not a bed bug and my best guess is a true bug maybe related to a minute pirate bug. These are known to stab people when their usual preferred prey is not around…but the head shape and the coloration look wrong to me. Thanks in advance!
I apologize in advance if this is a repeat but I realized I never actually verified the last one went through (which may not be something the site does, so sorry for that, too)
Signature: Hernan

Bug Eyed Bug

Bug Eyed Bug

Dear Hernan,
We find your letter terribly entertaining.  The first thought in our mind when we looked at the images was “my what big eyes you have”, and sure enough, our research on BugGuide revealed that this is a Big Eyed Bug in the genus
Geocoris.  According to BugGuide the habitat is  “On ground between clumps of weeds and sparse grass, especially in sandy places, in woods and near streams” and they are “generalist predators of small arthropods.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Big-eyed bugs are among the most abundant and important predaceous insects in many crops in the US.”  Based on that information, it seems highly possible that the individual that bit your wife came in from the outdoors.  As far as the bite is concerned, we are attempting to research other information on bites to humans, and we are relatively certain your wife was not mistaken for a small arthropod.  Additional information is available on Featured Creatures and the Cornell University Biological Control site.  It is sad, but it seems that whenever we write about the possibility of a beneficial insect biting or stinging a person, paranoid individuals attribute horrible reactions to the situation, much like the recent spate of comments we have received regarding the bites from Lacewings.  We like to maintain an open dialog and an interactive site, and we refrain from editing comments, but quite frankly, the internet has become the refuge of paranoid kooks who are trying to protect themselves, their children and their pets from every perceived threat in the world.  Thanks again for your wonderful submission with its excellent images.  It isn’t hard to imagine “Stabby” jabbing that impressive proboscis into tender flesh, but we maintain that is a rarity, and countless millions of encounters between people and Big Eyed Bugs go unnoticed.

Big Eyed Bug

Big Eyed Bug showing proboscis

Big Eyed Bug

Big Eyed Bug us a tiny insect.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this?
Location: Buford Georgia
August 2, 2014 5:51 pm
I saw this in a pine tree.
Signature: mickey

Immature Sycamore Assassin Bug

Immature Sycamore Assassin Bug

Dear Mickey,
This is an immature Sycamore Assassin Bug.  Adult Sycamore Assassin Bugs have wings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: a hidden curiosity
Location: Playa del Rey, California
August 1, 2014 2:17 pm
Dear BugMan:
thank you for your wonderful site! I often refer to it for bug ID. I live in Southern California, very close to the beach, so the bugs I get are few and far between but when I do see bugs, they are often unusual (to me). I found this strange-looking bug hiding among the tall, tall stalks of my Egyptian Papyrus plants. It was just relaxing there, which startled me because the papyrus plant rarely ever has bugs on it.
As I searched your site, I wondered if it was another species of Western Conifer Seed bug, but it looks slightly thinner with longer, wispy antennae. When you get the opportunity, I’d appreciate a positive ID on this character so that I can decide whether to shoo it away, or welcome it as a beneficial insect. Thank you in advance!
Signature: befuddled by the beach

Assassin Bug:  Zelus tetracanthus

Assassin Bug: Zelus tetracanthus

Dear befuddled by the beach,
In our opinion, this looks more like a predatory Assassin Bug than a Leaf Footed Bug.  Additionally, the front legs look especially developed and raptorial.  It really resembles this image of
Zelus tetracanthus that is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it is known as the Four Spurred Assassin Bug.

it looks exactly like the one on your site!  thanks BugMan!!
-Grant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug
Location: Southern California
July 27, 2014 3:10 pm
We see this but a lot in our garden here in San Marino California., which is right next to Pasadena, CA. We would love to know what it is. Thank you!
Signature: Mirta

Large Milkweed Bug

Large Milkweed Bug

Dear Mirta,
We suspect you must have milkweed in your garden.  This is a Large Milkweed Bug,
Oncopeltus fasciatus, and it will feed on the seeds of milkweed, but otherwise does not harm the plant.  See BugGuide for more information on the Large Milkweed Bug.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this an assassin bug?
Location: Big Bend of Texas, Chihuahuan Desert
July 27, 2014 6:08 am
Thanks for all you folks do! I’m hoping you can help me identify what bug has been invading my house for the past couple weeks. We live in the Chihuahuan Desert, on the southwest edge of Texas. We have lots of interesting bugs, including the kissing bug called the conenose which can carry the parasite T. cruzi (causes Chagas disease).
The small bug that has been “blooming” lately resembles the conenose, but the body shape isn’t quite right and the sides are solid red, instead of striped. I’m hoping you will be able to identify this bug — and I’m also hoping it isn’t an assassin bug! We have been sweeping them up and tossing them outside daily, but it feels like bailing out the ocean!
Signature: Sara

Red Shouldered Bug

Red Shouldered Bug

Hi Sara,
The Red Shouldered Bug,
Jadera haematoloma, is a Scentless Plant Bug in the family Rhopalidae, not an Assassin Bug, so you do not have to worry about bites.  Though they are benign, they do have the habit of entering homes, sometimes in great numbers.  According to BugGuide, they are also called Goldenrain Tree Bugs, and perhaps you have a tree in your garden that is attracting them.  BugGuide states:  “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.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination