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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you ID these and their nest
Location: Northern Texas
April 11, 2014 8:02 pm
I found some of these nymph stage bugs on my Live Oak tree last year and then this year i found several of their nests on my trees and house. The 1st picture is from this year, one up close to the eaves of my house on the bricks as they were hatching out. The 2nd picture is of them on my tree last year. I could not find anyone to ID them so sadly, I did spray them. The 3rd one is the bugs I collected off the tree after I sprayed them. (Sorry for that but I thought it would be better to err than have destructive bugs around. ) I just need to know what they are and if harmful or helpful. It looks like there are about 100 or so per nest. Hopefully the pictures are useful. If you use a viewer that can zoom in they looked good on my PC. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Dan in Texas

Wheel Bug Hatchlings

Wheel Bug Hatchlings

Dear Dan,
We hope our response this year prevents a similar carnage to that from last year.  These are beneficial, predatory Wheel Bug hatchlings, and they will help keep your trees and garden free of unwanted insect pests, eliminating the need to use pesticides.  Wheel Bugs are Assassin Bugs, and most are beneficial, and exception being the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs.  Some other Assassin Bugs are prone to biting humans, and though the bite is painful and may cause local swelling, it is not considered dangerous, again the exception being the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs.  We very rarely get reports of Wheel Bugs biting.  Adult Wheel Bugs are large, somewhat prehistoric looking creatures with a coglike “wheel” on the thorax. 

Wheel Bug Nymph Carnage

Wheel Bug Nymph Carnage

Daniel,
Thank you so much for the information and education.  I have seen a lot of the adult versions of these “armored wonders” around the house but never saw them in their early stages.  I must have found about 8 or 10 of these nests around, some already empty and I assure you now that I know what they are will not do them harm in the future.  I had contacted my agriculture agent about the adults I saw around and he informed me that they were beneficial insects but he could not identify the nest and nymph stages.
Thank you again for all your time and help.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found Bug
Location: Surrey, BC Canada
April 10, 2014 8:03 am
Found this bug outside @ my work in Surrey, BC Canada. Just wondering what it is.
Signature: Kelly

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Hi Kelly,
Our response to you yesterday was just a quick identification that this is a Toe-Biter, and we would like to elaborate a bit now that we have a moment.  Toe-Biters or Giant Water Bugs are also called Electric Light Bugs since they are attracted to lights.  They are aquatic predators that are capable of flying from pond to pond if the habitat dries up.  The bite is reported to be quite painful, and many a wader has encountered a Giant Water Bug with painful results, hence the common name of Toe-Biter.  Because of their large size and unusual appearance, the Toe-Biter is one of our most frequent identification requests.  As a side note, Giant Water Bugs are edible and their larger Asian cousins are considered a delicacy in Thailand.

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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