Fanmail From Readers

No one is immune to praise. and as humans, we are no exceptions. Over the last quarter of a century, we have received thousands of letters thanking us, full of praise.

Here, we have reproduced a few that have really stood out. Thanks to everyone who has showered their love on whatsthatbug.com. You guys have our hearts!

Letter 1 – Couldn’t open the photo

Moth Picture
Hello Bugman,
I have to convey to you how much I absolutely love your website! It is pretty much the coolest site EVER! I happened upon your website when trying to identify a very odd looking bug that my husband brought home for me from the grocery store parking lot the other day. He does that occassionally because I have a serious fascination with insects which people seem to think is strange but I just LOVE them!! Anyway, you site identified the insect as a Mole Cricket which thrilled me to death to just know what the little thing was. I have a picture of a moth I happened upon in yet another grocery store parking lot and I just wanted to be part of your wonderful site so I am sending the picture to you. Is this a species of the Polyphemus Moths that you have pictured on the site? Thanks so much for your time and I will walk around armed with a camera from now on since I now know about you guys!
Thanks,
Michelle in Suwanee, GA

Hi Michelle,
You sent such a wonderful letter, but sadly, we cannot open your photo attachment. Please try to resend it as a jpg attachment and not a bmp. Until we get the image, we are posting your letter on our fanmail page.

Letter 2 – Some interesting local names from Tennessee

we love your website
Dear Bugman,
First let me say I love your site. It has been the most informative that I have found. My son and I looked everywhere trying to identify an insect and we finally found it here, thanks . We also found out alot about insects that we thought we already knew about. For example, the camel cricket is known as the” blister cricket” here in Tennessee, and the saddle back caterpillar is known as the “packsaddle”. They’re just local names I’m sure so it was very interesting to find out their real names. Now I have a question. What ,if anything, does the hickory horned devil turn into? We have them evrywhere here and I’ve always assumed they were just a worm.
Thanks,
Paula
East Tennessee

Hi Paula,
The Hickory Horned Devil turns into the lovely Royal Walnut Moth.

Letter 3 – Helping to Ease Minds

Awesome Site!
Hi there, I wanted to tell you that this is a fabulous site! I found it in a true panic! I woke up in the middle of the night a couple nights ago to use the bathroom. To my suprise, I turned on the light and found a black bug sitting on my register vent. At first I didn’t really think much of it. (I’m not afraid of bugs) Then I took a piece of toilet paper and smushed it. As I was about to throw it away, I decided to open the tissue and look at it. Up close the wings almost made it look like a cockroach. I completely went numb and ran into the bedroom and jumped on the internet! I looked at all your pictures of cockroaches and decided it wasn’t that. Not being 100% sure, I will see if I across another and send a picture in. So since then, every bug I see in the house or outside even, I get on here and look it up. I feel so much better about my “buggy” surroundings now. Thanks for helping freaks like me put our minds at ease.
Sincerely,
Jennifer
MI

Letter 4 – Ewwww

Thank you! Your site is wonderful. My daughter spent the better part of an
hour clicking through the various bug links. Many of them got the wonderful
“Ewwww!” of little kids.
Steve

Letter 5 – Greeting from Kuwait

WEB SITE
Hello WTB!!
I’m sad to say that this E-mail will contain no specimen photo in need of ID. I simply wanted to compliment you on you web site. I am very impressed!! I am currently working as a DoD contractor (Vector Control) in southern Iraq . We are the “Bug men” for our troops deployed in OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). I was curious if you might like to have a few specimen photos of some of the creatures “our boys” encounter here in the “sandbox”? Though we deal with everything from Horned Vipers to the occasional herd of camels we spend the majority of our time focusing on local arthropods. If you might have any knowledge of sites similar to your own with information concerning creatures from our “neck of the woods” I would be very interested.
Thanks and Kudos,
Jason McCann
Vector Control Technician
Camp Buehring/Udairi, Kuwait

Hi Jason,
WE have gotten several photos of the infamous Camel Spider, including one that has been making quite a splash in the news along with horrific storiesl. The image was taken with a wide angle lens, so the critters look two feet long. Sorry we can’t help you with any Middle Eastern identification sites, but we will gladly publish any images you send our way.

Letter 6 – nice website

“What’s that Bug” Website Folk –
I enjoyed very much browsing your website. I am interested to know where you are located and what regional insect fauna you are most associated with. I am author of the Exploring California Insects website –
www.bugpeople.org.

Eddie Dunbar, Project Director
“Exploring California Insects”
5209 Congress Avenue
Oakland, CA 94601-5405

“Lake Merritt and Greater Oakland Insects”
a field guide covering 105 local groups
with 100 color images is now available.
Visit the ECI website: www.bugpeople.org

Hi Eddie,
Thank you for the nice letter. I can see downtown Los Angeles from my backyard. I live in the neighborhood of Mt. Washington near one of the entrances to Elyria Canyon. Most of the photos that I take for the site are in my garden or the canyon. What’s That Bug? started as a lark in a photocopied “zine” called American Homebody. When American Homebody went online, the column What’s That Bug? went along for the ride. The column generated so much mail that we purchased the domain name and www.whatsthatbug.com became a spin-off of the original site. Quite frankly, we aren’t associated with any entomological organizations, but we do occasionally get advice from the staff of the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. One of my greatest interests is to do documentary photos of the life cycles of some local insects and I am thinking of applying for funding to create a pamplet for Elyria Canyon Park with insect photos. I have also been toying with the idea of adapting a book based on our site that could act as a humorous accompaniment to Hogue’s awesome Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.

Letter 7 – Oxford Fan

Hurrah for you guys!
I just wanted to compliment you on your fascinating site! I’m a student in Oxford studying Environmental Biology (my speciality being spiders – recently identified 807 of them for a research project!). I’ve often used your site for information in essays, and i think it’s a brilliant resource for everybody.
You must thoroughly enjoy running it.
Keep up the good work,
Olivia

Thank you so much for the sweet letter Olivia. I am amazed that a prestigious institution like Oxford has benefitted from our humble site. My biggest thrill in the spider identification category was the Red Legged Purse Web Spider. That photo was so beautiful and I was obsessed with identifying it. Have a great day.
Daniel

Letter 8 – High School Entomology Teacher

I am a high school entomology teacher in coastal Georgia. I love your website. I just found it today. If you come across any resources that I could use for my ento. class please do not hesitate to send them to me. my email address is eharris@effingham.k12.ga.us . I have put together a web page for the class at www.effinghamschools.com/sehs/eharris We are trying to come up with material for it. I am sure that I will be sending you things now that I have found your site.
Thanks
Eric Harris
South Effingham High School
Head Volleyball Coach
Assistant Guys Soccer Coach

Letter 9 – Love your site

Well, I was going through my bookmarks on my work computer today and
thought I would check the What’s that Bug site and lucky me, you’re
back! I thought the site had disappeared. I use your site occasionally
to look up insects, and may one day send a photo if I ever get stumped.
I occasionally id insects with my job, and insect id is also a great
hobby, keep up the great work!
Rene Simon,
Placer County Agriculture Department

Thank you for the nice letter Rene
We don’t plan on going anywhere. We have free web hosting and continue to exceed our monthly traffic quota about mid month. Since we do not have advertising, and don’t really want to pay additional money for a labor of love, we do disappear on occasion
.

Letter 10 – Fanmail or Hate Mail???

Your Site
Hello Bugman,
I don’t have a question (anymore) but I do have a comment: I HATE BUGS! I HATE your site! Upon researching a scary critter, I came across WTB. I have learned more about bugs in the last two days than I EVER cared to know! I have spent hours upon hours reading, reading, reading and being totally grossed out by the pics! I was up until 3 a.m. perusing your site, and started again first thing upon waking this morning, and I am STILL reading and retching 4 hours later. I can’t quit! I have apparently dredged up a here-to-fore unknown fascination with bugs (much to my disgust – and, um, did I just say “here-to-fore”?)….and my husband will now be asking why his meals aren’t being prepared, or why the laundry isn’t being washed – I haven’t even turned on the TV at all today!! Horror upon horror! I blame you for this terrible addiction! Woe is me…. A new found (creeped out) fan,
Beth
Charlotte, NC

Dear Beth,
What’s That Bug? is a bit like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. We are not certain if you letter is fanmail or hate mail, but it amuses us terribly. Not turning on the TV might not be such a bad thing, but starving your husband cannot be healthy for your marriage. Try whipping up a nice peach cobbler for your husband and he should forgive you.

Letter 11 – Truly Candid Girl wants more Diversity

I love your site…..but you have repeats
Your site is great and all, but there are the same bugs or the same spiders listed on the SAME page. Example: Nursery Web Spider, listed 4 times on spiders11.html I notice you do this a lot on many of your pages. Listing the same bug over and over.
A Truly Candid Girl (unsigned note with name taken from email)

Dear Truly Candid Girl,
We try to be a diverse as possible, but another important aspect of our site is to show current population trends as well as sighting locations. Readers ofen like to know that something seen in Maine might also be found in Georgia. We would strongly advise you not to visit our Luna Moth pages as it might drive you over the edge. We have two whole pages devoted to a single species, though related species from elsewhere in the world are also presented. We often get requests and suggestions on how to improve our site, but your letter leaves us totally baffled.

Update: (06/15/2008) A heartfelt thank-you, and a rebuttal!
Hello again.
First, I’d like to thank you for identifying the female Dobsonfly photo (on 6-12-08) that I sent in. Second, I find myself compelled to comment on the e-mail that ‘Truly Candid Girl’ sent to you on 6-14-08 about “repeats”. I’d like to say that looking at several pics of the same bugs helps me to identify them. One pic cannot possibly show all the different sides, angles, sizes, and colors of a particular bug. I think “repeats” are necessary if you truly want to learn about a bug! And last, I LOVE your site! I have always been the type of girl that highly disliked bugs, and when I would see one, I’d say “Eww, bug!” and squash it if possible. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve fallen in love with bugs, but this site has evoked a curiosity in me. Every time I see a bug that I’m not familiar with, I want to know what it is, and I always come to this site. It’s a much better alternative to swatting, squishing, or running! Thank you so much for helping me to overcome my fear bit-by-bit, and keep up the good work!
Heather P

Update: Truly Candid Girl writes back(06/16/2008)
I just think it should be a little more organized. I know a lot of people come to your site to found out what a bug is and they don’t know the name of it. Also, it’s fine if you have the same species but label the link “Luna Moth” so people know the WHOLE page is just that. When you have the links that is just the general name “spider” “spider 2” “spider 3” and then on those pages have the SAME spider listed on all 3 pages, it’s a little annoying. Put all that species on ONE page. I am just saying, it is easier for your visitors to found out what they are looking for. Just an idea and I think it’s a good one.

Update: Truly Candid Girls starts NAGGING
I really don’t understand why you posted the first email I sent and not the one that I sent explaining what I meant about my idea. I have a good idea. And since I wrote back again to your response, I should think the first one should be removed from the site, or this follow up email should be posted, explaining what I meant.

Ed. Comment: (06/17/2008)
We just cannot bring ourselves to continue a dialog with a Truly Candid Girl. While her first email bugged us, the subsequent naggings and demands are making us angry. Totally reorganizing our website to please one reader is just not feasible. We know we are disorganized, however, our postings do run chronologically, and the word logic is built right in.

Letter 12 – Sharing our World View with a Loyal Reader

Daniel: about the red legged purse spider
Hi Daniel,
I continue to very much enjoy Whats that bug?, even though you don’t hear from me as often. I wanted to say that I write on Wikipedia, (mostly on mollusks) so if there is a problem with the info they are quoting from WTB about the red-legged purse spider, do let me know and I will fix it. Very best wishes to you!
Susan

Hi Susan, We do try to do our research on What’s That Bug? My comment has more to do with the fact that we are supporting our own information with information from Wikipedia, but we noticed that Wikipedia is citing us, meaning that we are citing ourselves. Just an amusing observation. To the best of my knowledge, it is correct. Thanks
Daniel

Oh, I see! Sorry I misunderstood… Always nice to hear from you, Daniel, thanks. You are doing really great with WTB, congratulations. Also you are really getting through to people and changing attitudes slowly but surely.
Susan

hi again Susan,
Our goal is to conquer global warming, and we feel that this needs to begin on a microcosmic level. Awareness of personal space is a good beginning to reducing each person’s carbon footprint on the planet. have a great day.

Letter 13 – We are not in competition with BugGuide. Rather, we have forged something of an Alliance.

love letter to the bugpeople
Hello there, I can’t even tell you how many bugs I’ve identified from your site. I prefer it to bugguide because I learn so much more while I’m searching for what I’m really looking for. I end up seeing some other interesting things and learning about them and soon enough (sometimes) I run into that very insect/arachnid. Thank you, thank you! For instance, this morning I was trying to ID what turned out to be a Giant Ichneumon and I ran across another photo which besides a wasp contained Cerambycid Beetle larva which I had run into last winter and completely misidentified as mud dauber larva. I love your site. Thank you so much. I know you must be swamped, so don’t feel it’s necessary to reply. Thanks again
Marielle

Dear Marielle,
Your letter put us in a very good mood today. We love hearing that our tangled method or archiving has led to identifications of some of your previous encounters, albeit through a circuitous route. We are huge fans of BugGuide and are in awe at the site’s organization, but slobs that we are here at What’s That Bug?, we doubt our own archives will ever be quite as tidy.

Letter 14 – Insect Enthusiast turned Professional Photographer

For the love of bugs.
Greetings!
Your site is one of the most enjoyable places I find myself coming back to over and over again. As a bug lover from the time I could stand on two feet, I have marveled at the incredible shapes, sizes and color variations of nature’s most abundant, yet often maligned creatures, the insects. As an adult, I continue to be awed by new discoveries, and find that your superb website brings an intelligent option to those who might otherwise have simply ignored or eradicated life forms they previously misunderstood. Growing up in New York City, my parents encouraged me to study insect life to a point that I joined a club of young entomologists which met monthly at The American Museum of Natural History, in Manhattan. That was many years ago, though my membership took me on some amazing summer field trips to places like Arizona, Florida, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and even Trinidad, in search of insects and their relatives. To this day I think of how very lucky I was, especially to have had parents like mine, who paid my way to go. After my teen years, which consisted of collecting and mounting insects, as was the method of preserving them to teach others, I began to see the light. That light was the one that was necessary to capture insects on film. With my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, I began trying to photograph my insect specimens on pins. Soon afterwards, on my first overseas trip, to visit an insect collector pen pal in Czechoslovakia, I purchased a 35mm SLR camera capable of taking macro photos. At age eighteen I began photographing every insect I could find, realizing that this was the way I wanted to remember these incredible creatures I came upon, without ever again doing harm to them. Today, I am a professional photographer, due to my love of insects. I travel throughout upstate New York, where I now reside, giving upwards of 100 slide lectures per year, about all sorts of wildlife that I have accumulated in photographs , over a span of three decades. My programs are illustrated with everything from mice to black bears, but when I include an insect close-up, as I often do, I always stress the importance of these basic building blocks of our natural world. Without the little things, there would not be the bigger things, like us. Once again, thanks for bringing awareness to the masses, of our wonderful world of invertebrates. “Everything you wanted to know about insects, but were afraid to ask”, might be another name for your site, although What’s that bug works great. Dr. Ruth would be impressed! Yours truly,
Gerry Lemmo

Hi Gerry,
What a fabulous letter for us to read so early in the morning. Your success story is wonderful. We are posting your letter to our fanmail page where we put general letters we love that are not accompanied by photos. You sound exactly like the type of person we would love to have on our professional advisory board at the photography department at Los Angeles City College.

Letter 15 – We assist employee at a Nature Preserve

Don’t want to ask, want to say…..
THANK YOU – for your awesome website, and the wealth of info – I work for a Park/Nature Preserve in Frankfort, KY – finding your site has made my job 10x easier – and more fun! Only problem is – I can’t quit scrolling……….Keep up the good work,
Debbie Bramlage

Letter 16 – Pop Culture Alternative Insect Identification Website for the Layman

just a little fan mail, for now
I am the kind of person who, when I find a bug in my house, scours the internet for hours, looking for the animal in question. But the Internet, with regard to bugs, is good at identifying a handful of nasty pests (roaches, bedbugs, ants, etc.), and good at providing giant webs of super-scientific information that are impossible for a layman to navigate. Your site is, therefore, a revelation, and totally a thrill. It is also a public service, for both the human and insect publics. In the past hour, for example, I have gone from thinking I had silverfish to knowing I have house centipedes (and wishing I hadn’t squashed one), and from thinking I might maybe have bedbugs (sort of, though I don’t have a big bite problem, which confused me, but now makes sense) to thinking I probably have carpet beetles. I wish that instead of bringing my yogurt container full of dead bugs – which I keep in the freezer – to the exterminator for inspection, I had taken pictures and sent them to you. I will do this from now on, though I don’t have a good digital camera. In any case, this is one of the best sites I’ve seen on the internet, and I will be a frequent visitor and sometime user from here on out, till the internet stops working (and the bugs keep on keeping on). Many thanks,
Judd

Hi Judd,
Thank you so much for your thoughful letter. We haven’t posted a letter to our fanmail page in over a month. That is strictly for letters about insects generally and without accompanying images. We have always though of ourselves as a pop culture alternative to the heavily scientific insect sites. We have art degrees, and do not have backgrounds in science, but there is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet if one knows how to search effectively.

Letter 17 – Holistic Viewpoint

Fan mail
I have a desk job and one of the highlights of my day as a receptionist is checking out for new bugs on your webpage. I used to have a severe arachnophobia but since learning about spiders and looking at the pictures of them on your webpage I have become tolerant of them. I no longer squash them when they wander near me. As I work in a holistic health care office, often I have patients complain about a supplement “its too big for me to swallow” or “I don’t want to eat kale it’s gross” or even “I hate fish” what frustrates me about these statements is that what is being prescribed is necessary for the body to work in unison with it’s organs and where I am going with this is I notice on your page often people ask, “will it hurt me?” and I am in awe of your patience with these people. Earth needs everyone of these insects, no matter how frightening to function and I find that question so ignorant, instead of being concerned with the dust mites, be concerned with the amount of bees disappearing or the amount of creatures displaced by our need to expand into their homes to build more homes and businesses. Here I am rambling when I just wanted to drop a note to say “I love your webpage!”.
Thanks,
Amanda from Canada

Letter 18 – Bug Love Poster

Bug Love
Hi Guys…Love your site! Showed it to my 17 year old who is thinking about art school for college to show him how an art degree can parlay into anything you want as long as you are passionate about it! He’s 17, but I think he was impressed, but who knows, he is 17!!! I wanted to forward a copy of a poster that my friend Rick and I made featuring bug love based on my photos. We thought up the idea one day at the beach after way too much beer and finally got it together after about 3 years of “talking about it”. So, without a doubt, we will have sunk some hard earned money into this poster with no real desire to make any money, and of course no real chance, but at least we hope to have some fun at it!!! And we are donating a portion of the proceeds (yeah right, like there will be any!) to insect conservation, maybe the Xerces Foundation or NABA or some such entity….I guess once we actually make some money we can figure out where to send it… So I know you guys are incredibly busy starting school etc… (my wife teaches too and September is insane!) but I wanted to see if we could chat about featuring the poster on your website. I really think your viewers might enjoy it and we can make some kind of arrangement so that you get the benefit as well of any sales. But I do want to stress that Rick and I are not really looking to make money on this only to have fun and hopefully not to lose the money we have already put into it! I think the poster is perfect for your website! I’d love to send you a hard copy, or if you want I can send you 25 or so to try out and see what happens, I just need a mailing address. The poster is printed on high quality stock and is 18″ x 24″ . Well, I hope reading this wasnt as painful as some freshman essay on “what I did for my summer”! ps….since you guys are obviously bug freaks, you may have seen some stories about my research with my colleagues at Rutgers and Princeton on strapping tiny radio transmitters on Anax junius and following them in migration…I’m a bug freak too! Anyway, I hope to hear from you, feel free to reach out for me via email…
Dave

Letter 19 – Praise from Georgia in New York!!!!

Thank you
Hello, I have a spider and am so delighted – a teensy Jumping one. I am enjoying him/her even more having discovered your site. I live in NYC (an art person – your “About WTB” photo is fabulous) and your site allows me to live vicariously elsewhere, through people’s insect stories, in places that are not so perversely devoid of nature (roaches, house centipedes and real-estate investors don’t do it for me). I grew up in Oregon, living with/learning about/deeply respecting all forms of nature, including insects, except mosquitos (my father is an acarologist – GW Krantz). So I look at your site every day and it brings me such unadulterated joy (including, needless to say, endless bursts of laughter). One more thing. Tears come to my eyes when I read about people who have come to their senses about their senseless slaughter of harmless/indeed beneficial critters. You are doing a great thing, and through such a beautifully ordinary mode of exchange (I use the word “ordinary” with the utmost respect – just casually talking to people about stuff that is actually important – no hype, no in-your-face, no bs, no Hollywood – wow, a jaded NY’er speaks). Anyway, thank you sincerely from the core of my soul. Evidently-in-parenthetical-remark-mode,
Georgia
Ps. After finishing this note I found my little spider in the toilet. Happily he/she is fine.

Letter 20 – Moths easily located

Awesome!
Hey bugman, just wanted to drop a line saying what an awesome site Whats That Bug is! I found you guys while trying to ID the Wood Nymph moth…funny thing was that the picture I found first of it described it exactly as I had thought of it….bird poop. Anyway, since then I have been using your site to help me ID all kinds of moths, and you haven’t failed me yet. I never realised how awesome moths are, and how varied and beautiful they are. I’m trying to get a good macro lens for my camera, so I can send you some shots of some of the odder ones I find. I was taking some with my digital camera, but they weren’t very good, and in most cases you already had excellent pictures of the same moth. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for all the work you must do to keep this site as excellent as it is, keep up the great work!
Ryan

Letter 21 – War of the Sexes

thanks & love the site
I came across your site while trying to settle an argument between me and my boyfriend. He said the red velvet ant we saw was a fire ant, I, having lived in an area in southern arkansas, know exactly what a fire ant is and proceded to tell him. He was sure he was right…as all men are…so i of course went to the computer and proved him wrong. Thanks for the help with that..score one for the ladies. While i was here i got tangled up in your wonderfull insect world and stayed for over an hour looking and reading. Great website…keep up the good work. i plan on showing this site to my children who are like me, terrified of insects. Somehow having this knowledge has helped me understand the critters a little more. Thanks again
Carla Knapp
Ozark Mountains, Arkansas

Letter 22 – Home-Schooling Mom is Thankful

Not a ? BUT a Thanks
This is a really nice site. I am a homeschool mom and my children and I are fasinated by creepy crawlies so when we found a mass of Millepeds we wanted to know what for sure they were. After a short search we found your site and imeadiately found the answer to our question. I will be making your site a perminate tool of teaching in our home. I also forwarded your site to many of my homeschool freinds it will be a great benifit to us. AND who knows as curoius as my children are I bet it will not be long before we come up with a bug we can not ID with out your help. A few years ago when we moved to this area (middle of Iowa) I found Morman crickets and not recognizing them took them to freinds at Iowa State University for ID. Eventually finding out that these crickets are not normally found East of Nebraska so that was really fun. We still frequently see them in the fall when there is not drought conditions. In our area we also see large praying manits, walking sticks of serveral kinds and LARGE black millipeds here NONE of which I had encountered growing up in Southern Iowa. Its been fun learning about these bugs. Oh and the huge wolf spiders we grow here DONT entertain us as much but we tolerate them. 🙂 Happy bug hunting and thanks for your incredible site.
Michele Kalsem

A Reader Comments (07/08/2008)
NOT A ?, COMMENT ON OLD POST-grammar hound
Hey Bugman,
Don’t want to waste your time on something non-bug related, but in perusing your old fanmail posts I ran across one that a homeschooling mother sent to you and you posted on 5/2/06. Sorry to say, but I’m afraid that her children would be better off in public school with the egregious amount of spelling errors there are in her email to you. It continues to astound me how many people think their children are better off at home with only their ignorant parents as teachers. Even a public school grammar teacher would be better than learning grammar from her! Your grammar, however, is usually quite excellent!! Thanks again for the great site. And let me know if you ever need any editing work done. Thanks,
Amy in Rockford, IL

Letter 23 – MFA Degrees

Credentials
Hi there.
I have enjoyed your site very much. Here is my problem. I am a grad student in education at East Stroudsburg U. and I would like to cite What’s That Bug as a resource for a project. I can’t seem to find any infomration on who you guys are, and how you know so much about bugs. I’m not asking for names and addresses, obviously, just something I can include in my paper? Please? BTW, the homebody site and knitting site are cool too.
Thanks!
Sue Chew

Hi Sue,
Lisa Anne and Daniel both have Master of Fine Arts degrees from Art Center College of Design. Daniel is the Chairman of Media Arts at Los Angeles City College. Lisa Anne and Daniel both teach Photography at Los Angeles City College. Daniel teaches Design 1 for Film and Advertising at Art Center College of Design. Lisa Anne teaches Photography at University of Southern California. The truth is, the site is an art project.

Letter 24 – A very sweet letter

Finally!!
Finally!!! A website that is easy to navigate and find the answers to all the bug questions our there. I stumbled onto your website when trying to identify a bug that my co-worker asked me to smash (I chose to catch and release). I then found your website through ask.com and, it was a solpugid. Intrigued I started to look through the many pictures and letters on your site and was ecstatic to find a picture of a fire beetle. Aka; clicker bug at my home. I am finally able to show people what I am talking about as they look at me like I am crazy when I try to describe it. Thank you again for this wonderful resource. My children are going to love it (future entomologists I think)
Kim Rios

Hi Kim,
Thanks for your sweet letter. It is not often people find our website easy to navigate.

Letter 25 – Lecture at the Getty: Maria Sibylla Merian

fanmail
Daniel,
Now that I am back in New Hampshire, I am still basking in the memory of my trip to California. On July 18, when I checked your website to research a Fritillary butterfly and send you a picture to confirm it, I saw your announcement that you were giving a lecture on the Maria Sibylla Merian exhibit at the Getty Museum in LA on July 25. What a great coincidence that I was flying to Los Angeles on July 22 to visit my daughter and son-in-law. I was delighted that you answered my email, and told me to introduce myself if I came to the Getty lecture. You know the rest of the story. They brought me to the Getty so we could attend your lecture. Wow!! What an exciting experience! Your “Point of View” lecture was most interesting–telling us about Merian’s life in the 1600’s, and her beautiful watercolors of insects and flowers–as we walked through the exhibit. As you said: “It was beautiful and well worth seeing.” We had never been to the Getty before so I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to see it too. We went back a second time to see more. And, of course, I was lucky enough to meet the “bugman,” and to top it off, you were kind enough to have your photo taken with me.
Your faithful fan, Mary Goode
Hillsborough, NH

Hi Mary,
It was so wonderful meeting you and your family. The Merian lecture was one of my best experiences this summer, and I am thrilled that you enjoyed it. Whenever I am asked how the lecture went, I launch into the account of answering your letter and meeting you. It reinforces our claim that What’s That Bug? is trying to develop a global sense of community. Please continue to write when you have interesting new photos or just for the sake of writing.
Daniel

Letter 26 – What’s That Bug? being used to identify specimens in Maria Sibylla Merian illustrations!!!

unidentified Caterpillars
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
regularly I take a look at your web site. I myself am a biologist from Germany. At the moment I am identifiying caterpillars and moth prints for a reprint of Maria Sibylla Merians book Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (1705) published by TASCHEN VERLAG Köln (probably 2008/2009). Because there are still a lot of unidentified moths and caterpillars in her images – although a lot of entomologists like in 1982 William Stearn (BM London) or recently (2008) Sandrine Ulenberg, an entomologist from Amsterdam, determined the depictions of insects before – I became engaged in it. With the help of your page whatsthatbug?, I managed to identify some (not all) of the unidentified caterpillars and moth-species in Merians book. Thank you!
The other information is: I found an interesting web site in which a huge larviform beetle image is seen, which you didnt identify up to now. I´ll send it. It is not a huge caterpillar but a beetle, which you have documented several times in the past. I hope I could help you. Yours sincerely
Katharina Schmidt-Loske, Bremen
I am sure you know the huge exhibition on “M.S. Merian and her daughters”, now at the Paul Ghetty Museum. Don´t you?

Hi Katharina,
Please let us know the date and page on our website when you provide the larviform beetle identification. I will be doing a lecture in conjunction with the Merian exhibit this month. I am copying Stephanie Schrader, the curator of the show on this email. I eagerly await any information you can provide.
Daniel Marlos

Letter 27 – Comment

(05/09/2008) Job well done! 🙂
Dear Daniel & Lisa Anne,
I’m a freaquent reader of your site since I’ve come accross it some months ago. Even though I’ve never submitted to your website, I find it very interesting and informative. I must admit I was horrified to come accross your Nasty Reader Awards tonight however and had to speak up. To think people still behave this way is absolutely unthinkable. They think nothing of sending such insulting e-mails and have no patience what-so-ever without even knowing who they’re speaking to. Thinking since they don’t know you and will never have to face you, then there’s no consequence or reason to feel any remorse for their rude behavior! It’s embarrassing. So I wanted to let you ladies know how much I appreciate your hard work and devotion to your site and your fans. Even though you have such demandig carreers (which I’m sure take up most of your time to begin with) you still find time for your loyal (and not so loyal) fans. Well done ladies! Keep up the good work!
Val

Thank your for your thoughtful letter Val, but the last we checked, Daniel was still a man. Your theory of face to face confrontation stretches much wider than just the internet. We have long believed that people feel isolated while driving their motor vehicles, and this isolation contributes to road rage. We personally always seek eye contact when attempting to change lanes in a difficult traffic snarl since many drivers tend to ignore a turn signal, but will rarely ignore a face with a pointing finger. Modern day warfare is another excellent example of what can happen when we lose touch of the fact that people are individuals.

Letter 28 – Another Satisfied Reader

Great website! I found a glow worm in my driveway tonight, and only figured out what it was through your page. I had only heard of them in my childhood memories. What a thrill!
D. Scott

Letter 29 – great site!

Thanks! I really enjoyed that … your site was featured in Cool Tricks &
Trinkets Email newsletter today … and although I find bugs creepy, I was
irrationally drawn to check out your site … is that kind of like slowing
down for an accident? Maybe. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I think
your design is great, your writing excellent, and all around, a great site!
What the Internet is all about!
Thanks!!
Regards,
M.-J. Taylor

Dear M.-J.,
Thanks so much for the glowing compliments. We’re just two college teachers with too much time on our hands and an interest in putting information out into the world. Have a great day.
Daniel & Lisa Anne

Letter 30 – A No Nonsense Letter of Support

Hi Very Nice People Offering an Unbelievable Free Service,
I could just not resist writing the following note to the selfish, unaware morons who feature in your “nastiest person on the Internet” (aka “Nasty Reader Award” section). Thanks for posting their emails so that they cannot remain anonymous and get away with such anti-social behavior.
Kindest regards and gratitude,
Julie

Clueless Ingrates: your post to What’s That Bug (Jen Cifon, jonathanayres, Dawn)
Sat, Nov 8, 2008 at 9:16 AM
I can’t believe that you are such self-centered and apparently pretty stupid people to EXPECT someone who offers you a FREE service (at their own cost, in their own time) to give you what you want, when you want it. Just who handed you your sense of entitlement?
If you had a smidgen of intelligence, you’d be off to some professional entomologist at some high $$, and THEN demand service. Don’t be so stupid and selfish to look a gift horse in the mouth.
It is people like you that are screwing up our society in a big way. You make generous people like the owners of “What’s That Bug?” give up through frustration, and ruin it for everybody else.
You are each a clearly clueless ingrate, acting like the brats that you are, and deserve only the worst in life. Get out of other peoples lives. Idiots
JB

Hi JB,
Thanks so much for your support in the matter of our Nasty Reader Awards. We cannot believe the bile that some people spew because of the anonymity of the internet. We have been chastised by some people for our responses to the Nasty Readers, but we reserve the right to voice our opinion on our own website. Thanks again
Daniel

Letter 31 – Fanmail

May 27, 2009,
Hello-
I just have to tell you that I am in love with your website! I am an Archives Technician at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (http://nmhm.washingtondc.museum/) and during my graduate work at George Washington University I focused a lot of my attention on Integrated Pest Management. I am now the “bug girl” in my museum and I am always looking for new websites to assist me with identificaction. I hope to utilize your site more in the future!
Keep up the outstanding work, my bug-loving friends!
jasmine high

Letter 32 – Fanmail

What’s That Bug?
Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 6:06 PM
I love your site. I check it every day to for the new wonder of the day. Not only do you give information and ID, but the photos submitted by your other fans are usually fantastic! So much beauty out there. And yet there are people who hate “bugs.” I always refer them to your site and tell them to say they hate the beauty and variety of the insects they see
Mary Thorman

Letter 33 – Fanmail

love your site
Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 10:08 AM
I have used your website many times and really love to save bugs (and other small critters) from uninformed friends (and sometimes strangers) I found a robber fly today and used your website to identify it. My goal is to get some great pictures of the spiders that live on my back porch and send them in. thank you for your easily found information and helping to save bugs everywhere.
Morgan Hart

Letter 34 – A nice piece of fanmail

A Cool Site!
July 11, 2009
I wished to thank you for such an amazing and informative site; this from a non-bug lover who would have to honestly admit to some unnecessary carnage in her lifetime especially a creepy, crawly anything…
butterflies, (caterpillars of course) lady bugs (the only one loved out of the beetle family) and a few others I’ve never murdered, though lets not go into carpenter ants and the wealth of stories there!
Either way, I began to research a funny looking beetle I have come across both last summer and this summer and though I did have a beetle farm (I am an adult) last summer, I could not find one informative answer to what type it was. Having Googled ‘Common Household Canadian Bugs’ early this morning, your site came up and yet I do not see this beetle here either:( No worries I’ll take a photo at some point.
By providing such an incredible site however, you have educated my mind and I won’t be so quick to tissue squish a harmless insect the next time, afterall God created all even if some of what he created isn’t all that pretty! If bugs had a voice, I’m certain they’d agree:)
Lastly I was very much amused in finding your Nasty Reader Award in the uncaterogized section and laughed heartily over a response to someone named Johnathan by a ‘loyal bug fan,’ in the reason his pictures were not sent by e-mail of his bug, was simply because said bug ‘was up his arse.’ The explanation and vivid imagination with which one of your loyal bug fans winged into their response was delightful reading at best. Simply a great way to begin my day.
So again thank you and I have bookmarked your site to begin an adventure into learning while one day I may be able to report that ‘I am now A Reformed Bug Squisher.’

Dear Reformed Squisher,
Thanks for your awesome letter.  We are happy that we amused you.  We have been without a computer for two day and were unable to make any new posts, but our fast new computer is allowing us to expedite the response process.  Though we doubt we will ever be able to respond to all of our mail, at least we will be able to respond to more of it.  Your letter will have a permanent home on our fanmail page.

Letter 35 – Fanmail

June 15, 2009
Hello. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your site even though it made me feel itchy. :OP. It’s nice to see teachers spread thier knowledge. Lord knows we need more of that these days.
May

Letter 36 – Fanmail

Love This Site!!
July 27, 2009
Just wanted to say thanks for this AWESOME site! Everyday at work I spend all day (between customers of course) looking at and reading about the fascinating bugs on your website! My co-workers try to avoid my desk, complaining that the bug pics give them the heebeejeebees. I admit, I used to be one of them. That was, until my mom introduced me to WTB when she wanted a wasp identified. I have always been curious about creatures (big and small), and you have an endless supply of information to satiate my appetite! Now when I see a bug, instead of smashing it or ignoring it, I just try to figure out what it is! I can’t wait to visit my folks in Ohio next week, and share with them all my newly aqcuired knowledge any time we run across an interesting bug! Thanks for all that you do!
Cassie Shaw
Cleveland MS

Hi Cassie,
Thanks so much for your kind letter of support.

Letter 37 – Fanmail

August 4, 2009
I usually freak out at any bug (especially silverfish, they CREEP me out), but when I found your website I’m instead curious rather than afraid of many bugs. A few nights ago I killed a wasp-looking bug on my door and I felt so horrible after I killed it that I wanted to look it up and I came across your site. I found out that the “stinger” was probably a ovipository-thingie (sorry, I know very LITTLE about bugs so far).
Another example is that I found a wee bug on my wall that looked like a tick (which I HATE) but instead of killing it I looked it up and found out that it was a grain weevil, so I put it outside. I can’t believe how I was so scared of something harmless like that.
The point is, I have learned a lot from this website, and the entries here have probably saved many future bugs that I happen to encounter. So, thanks 🙂
By the way, I know now the names of my favorite bugs; like the majestic luna moth, or the fairy-like wooly aphids that were in our yard a couple months ago.
Thanks for your GREAT website. 🙂
Chris

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your nice complimentary letter.  We are happy to hear that you will be researching which of the insects are beneficial or benign before killing them, but we should probably clarify that some killings may be justified.  We do not hesitate to kill grain weevils or pantry beetles we find infesting our stored foods and if you found one grain weevil on your wall, chances are good they are consuming your food or your pet’s food somewhere in the house.  We also do not hesitate to squash Woolly Aphids that we find on our apple tree.  Though the adult winged aphids might look fairy-like, they can still cause problems in the garden if they get too plentiful.  As in the case so often in so many other areas, the key is in moderation and not extreme fanaticism.  We are happy that What’s That Bug? is contributing to both your education and your appreciation of the lower beasts.

Letter 38 – Fanmail and Nostalgia

Love the site! Made me feel like a kid again!
September 9, 2009
I just wanted to say what a pleasure it has been to peruse your site this evening…er, morning I guess it is now. I grew up on my grandparents’ truck-farm (purple-hull peas, okra, tomatoes, the whole nine yards) so I was naturally turned toward biology at an early age.

We had neither air-conditioning or cable TV so I spent most of my waking hours outside getting scratched, poisoned, and bitten by anything I could find to study in the woods, in the fields, in the barn, and around the two creeks that cut through the property.

I just wanted to say that it was nice to dig around your site and finally find out the true names of some of the “critters” that fascinated my grandfather and myself for so many years. Growing up the way I did led to a deep-seated love of nature and a longing to learn everything I could about it. By the time I was ten this had turned into a full blown obsession with biology….well, marine biology. I loved fish…sorry, bug-people. 🙂

Unfortunately life usually doesn’t work the way we’d like and I chose to give up the studies I had longed for in order to pursue a career I could actually pay bills and support a family with. Believe me, what I wanted to do as a MARBie is friendly to neither family or finances.

But I’ve allowed myself to get off track…so in the interest of limiting how much of your time I waste I’ll try to wrap this up. Long story short: I love your site. It allows me to step back into the days of laying in the grass, getting itchy from God-knows-what, watching bugs do their thing. My life has taken a more…normal turn than I would have ever thought and I’m afraid I have made myself forget most of the science I once loved in the interest of “making it” in everyday life. As hard as I try, however, I can’t seem to completely push out the memories of my first love.

I know now that I will never get that degree in marine biology that I can remember dreaming about before I even knew what it was called, but visiting this wonderful site gives this overweight soon-to-be cop a window into his past and a chance to interact with those of you who are lucky enough to be living the dream.

I salute you, bug people, and I hope you will receive the thanks of this former fish guy for taking time out of your lives to put together this site. I know there are more urgent things out there you could be doing.

I’m sorry this ran so long, despite my best efforts it appears I got into quite a babbling spree. I appreciate it if you’ve stuck with me this long. I just wanted to express how I felt about finding your site. Thank you again for putting it together. 🙂

—Kris
Vidor, TX

ps: I’m currently between jobs thanks to this great economy of ours and an exceedingly long application process at my next place of employment, so since my schedule is open I think I might take tomorrow to go roll around in some poisonous plants and try to take some pictures of some cool bugs. If I get anything good I might just throw them your way.

Letter 39 – Fanmail

Kudos
September 12, 2009
Love your site. Part of what makes the WWW so cool !!
Laughed till I cried at “Joanne Near Chicago’s” response to Jen Cifone’s blurry photo and nasty response to you.
Thank you for putting together something so fun AND edjucashunal!
Gary & DJ

Letter 40 – Fanmail

September 25, 2009
To answer your queston, quote: “Are we experts yet?” Heck yes! I’m a young teen and aspiring entomologist, and I love everything about bugs! And so, you can imagine my wonder and awe when I found a bug ID Page! Keep up the good work!
Steel

Letter 41 – Fanmail: Starting an Insect Collection

Hi. I’ve been browsing this site for a while, but this is my first post.
I teach a group of four-year-olds, and among the many, many things I find myself repeating daily is “Let it be! Insects are helpers!” with respect to whatever critter my kids have discovered, whether indoors or on the playground (of course, when something is discovered inside the classroom, we find a way to get it outside).
The children, of course, are fascinated by insects, and, while insects’ identities could be taught through photographs and books, to teach the children to appreciate and respect animals and their purposes is best reinforced in practice. That is, to tell a child that a spider is beneficial and to smash it in front of him is counterproductive.
Unnecessary carnage and a lost moment for education. Terrible shame.
However, because of the age of the children I teach and their tendency toward kinesthetic learning, we do have an insect collection in the room. I want to teach respect, not hypocrisy, so the insects pinned to the board were all found dead. When a child finds an empty exoskeleton or a fallen butterfly on the playground, we pin it to the board and talk about what it is and how it might have come to its current state. Then, of course, comes the “Insects help us” talk.
I try to balance respect for a child’s preferred method of study with respect for the insects themselves. This is why we have only pre-deceased findings in our collection, imperfect though they may be when they are found.
To rely on photographs alone is a difficult way to keep kids interested. They need to experience more than an image can allow. An insect, living or dead, that is in front of the children makes it relevant to them and gives them more patience to listen while we talk about that insect.
Occasionally, however, my philosophies are put to the test, as was the case the day I found an adult, female black widow spider scooting across the playground. I had to get her off the playground and far, far away from my class. There was a considerable amount of panicking on my part, but no one was harmed, and the children learned that, even though we shouldn’t hurt any minding its own business, there are some creatures that, when discovered, need to be reported to mom and dad.
shellyc

Hi shellyc,
Though your letter arrived as a comment on a previous posting regarding the merits of starting an insect collection, we felt it needed to stand alone as well and post to our homepage.  Thanks for your valuable perspective on this point.

Letter 42 – Fanmail

Very Entertained.
October 27, 2009
I know you guys get messages and comments all the time saying how wonderful your site is. But, I just wanted to add one more things to your list of comments. Your site is very entertaining to me. I cought myself staying up til 4 in the morning just looking at all of the different kinds of bugs you guys have posted. I know, I’m a nerd. I am just so creeped out yet intrigued by insects. Especially the spiders. I always see an interesting bug and try to stop and look at it but my husband doesn’t seem as entertained by it as me so I have to move along. Now that I have found your site I can look at bugs for hours on end. I also love it because I am a new mommy and every time I see a new bug in the house or around my newborn, I wonder what dangers it is bringing or if it is beneficial. You he lp those worries go away. Thanks and keep up the great work!
Amber suarez

Thanks for your sweet letter Amber.  We always like getting new fans.  Since we have no plans to disappear from the internet, when your child begins to grow, hopefully you will be able to use us as an educational tool.

How do I become a member?
I’m sure this question has a very obvious answer but how on earth do i become a member to this site? I have looked high n low but only found one place where it says log in but nothing about registering.. Do I have to make a donation to be a member? Thanks again for taking time to reply to my previous babble. 🙂
Amber

Hi Amber,
Our site does not have a membership.  Anyone may write in, but alas, we are unable to post every submission we receive.  We select letters at random, often based on the subject line of the email.  Our services are free to anyone, but again, sending in an identification request is no indication that you will receive a response.  Though we do have a donation option, this is entirely voluntary, and donating to the site is never a guarantee that your letter will be posted.  Since we are such a small operation, we cannot provide unlimited access.  Thanks again for your interest.

Letter 43 – Fanmail

Inspiring Site – just another fanmail
November 5, 2009
I’m still currently trudging my way through your gigantic archive and loving it. I was always a bug lover, but I’ve learned so much and been able to happily identify bugs in my area I’ve seen around (Including the sudden swam of Polkadot Wasp Moths and Oleander Caterpillars). I’ve also pleased to learn that many bugs I was afraid of are perfectly harmless (Mostly various wasp species.). Also while going through your site, I had a nerdy artist sort of epiphany: Insects are like living art. So many have such wonderful color schemes and designs. Even bugs with neutral colors can be incredibly striking. Ever since I’ve been making a collection of photos off your site for color scheme references in my own art. It’s wonderful that there are some very good professional and amateur photographe rs contributing with their photos. Anyway, thanks so much for providing this service and your own educating comments. I look forward to finishing your archives.
Regards,
Casey

Thanks for the sweet email Casey.

Letter 44 – Fanmail from the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum: Exploratory Conversation?
November 9, 2009
Hi,
I work at the Natural History Museum in Expo Park. I am managing a project through which the museum will create 3 acres of outdoor green space on the north side of our building. We are aiming to create a place for our visitors to engage with local, urban, nature, including (my favourite, and it seems your’s too) insects! I would love to chat with you more about this project and about What’s That Bug.
Lila Higgins

We will contact Lila as soon as we have a spare moment.

Update:  December 8, 2009
Yesterday, we had the long awaited telephone chat with Lila at the Natural History Museum.  We are very excited to possibly work with the Museum on the outdoor space that is being constructed on the North side of the campus.  We made it abundantly clear that we are clumsy amateurs, and not trained science professionals, but that characteristic is exactly what Lila believes the visitors to the Museum and the new outdoor space will find appealing.  The area at the Museum will be planted once the existing hardscaping is removed, and it is hoped that the green space will attract fauna (insects included) that thrive in the urban ecosystem of Los Angeles.  More and more attention needs to be placed on studying and trying to understand the creatures that live in our proximity, and there is just as much of a probability of discovering a species that is new to science in one’s own backyard as there is by making an expedition to the rain forest.  Chances are good that the discovery may not be grand or flashy, but it could have economic significance, be it positive or negative.  We are going to request that Lila provide a press release for the new space so that we can inform our readership.  We have many faithful local fans, and Los Angeles remains a viable tourist attraction to our readership from around the globe, and we will all be eagerly anticipating the improvements at the Natural History Museum.

Letter 45 – Fanmail from a satisfied reader

Thank You!
I just wanted to thank WTB for identifying a bug I had crawling up my bedroom wall about a month ago. It was a Western Conifer Seed Bug. After I knew what it was, I hopped onto WTB and found tons of useful info on my bug. Since I found him, I’ve kept him in a container (with plenty of airholes), and I’ve named him Axel. All he needs is water during the winter, and in the spring, I plan to release him on some conifer trees next to my house. Ever since finding the WTB page, I’ve been on here for 2-3 hours every day just looking at all the great pics of all the different bugs you have, I have to say that WTB is a truly amazing website and I cannot believe how much info you guys put out there. Thanks WTB, I am no longer a scaredy-cat about bugs! Thanks again for doing such a great job!
Jenn Kendall
West Brookfield, MA

Letter 46 – Fanmail

Thank you and best regards for 2010
Dear Bugman and all at WTB, thank you for the interesting updates over the past years. Wishing everyone the best for the holidays (vested interest to get more interesting updates when everyone is well). Cheers!
Melvin Poon

Letter 47 – Nuclear Bomb Needed to Eliminate Bugs in Yard

Help!
2005
I have these bugs that are invading my home! My husband and I find at LEAST 5 every morning. Eww! They are the “pincher bugs”;. Something else we’ve discovered in our house are these dark brown spiders that love to just hang out on the top of our ceiling. Our newly purchased home in Southern California is crawling with creatures who’ve roamed free in the unattended soil for 50 years. What is the best way to get rid of insects? We have some yellow jackets that fly around along with mosquitoes. In our ground though we have pincher bugs by the thousands and also pill bugs. We are in the process of ripping out plants, trees and shrubbery to replant the entire yard. How do we kill off all the insects!?  Any suggestions would be MOST appreciated!
Thank you!
Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,
Nothing short of a nuclear bomb will rid your property of all your dreaded insects, but considering the current political climate, you just might get your wish. In the event that that doesn’t happen, you just might have to learn to live together. We at What’s that Bug? do not advocate getting rid of all insects since we would be out of business.

A Reader Comments
(08/27/2005) Hi Daniel and Lisa Anne!
JAW DROP!!!!!
WOW!!!!!!!!!!
I just had to write you two, your site is the best bug site I have ever seen! Your main page helped me identify a bug that was posted at our forum, and I must admit that some of the pictures submitted to your site are so absolutely beautiful that I had to capture them for my screen saver! In exchange I wish to offer some photos of my own, taken in my yard in Santa Ana California. I have included 10 photos that I took with my digital camera, you may use them as you see fit I would also like to reply to Rebecca from Southern California who wishes to know how to get rid of all of her bugs, if a reply is allowed.
Hi Rebecca!
I live in Southern California too, and I have all the things you described in my yard as well. If they are getting into your house, then you probably have openings around windows and doors that should be attended to. You do not want to kill the bugs in your yard, they provide very necessary functions to keep your yard healthy. Ants are your cleaning crew, they dispose of dead things. Earthworms are what make the earth that your garden grows in, and their castings contain an enzyme that repels white flies. Wasps are your predators, they eat the caterpillars that eat your plants. Caterpillars are your butterflies and moths, and they pollinate your flowers so they bloom again next year. Robber flies are your wasp controllers, they keep wasp populations down. Potato bugs, pill bugs, earwigs and click beetles are your compost engineers, they recycle leaf litter and break
it down so the earthworms can turn it into healthy soil. Possums are your snail controllers. Garden snails are not native and have no other predator than possums here in California. Spiders are your general insect controllers, you should capture and take outside any that wander into your house. There are many other insects that you
will find in your yard as well, but they are all pretty harmless and will avoid you if you just give them time to move out of your way.
Your yard is its own ecosystem, with its own checks and balances. Learn to love your bugs, explore them, research them, discover the benefits they give to you and the beauty of your yard. If you get stung by a wasp or bee, or bitten by a mosquito, simply dissolve a real aspirin in your hand with a few drops of water and apply directly to the site, the pain and itch will be gone within a matter of seconds. If you want to help control your mosquitoes, simply place a container of water under a bush which is easily accessible to
you and leave it there, check it every day, when you see the larvae swimming around just dump the entire container of water on the ground. The larvae will die. Refill the container. Insure that there is no other standing water on your property. Keep an eye out for Black Widows, they are the only bugs in your yard that can actually harm you. Hope this helps 🙂
Sincerely, Cathy 🙂
Thank you Daniel and Lisa, for such a wonderful site! I have it bookmarked and will be back here often!

Letter 48 – Fanmail

Hello!
I just wanted to extend a thanks to all you who make “What’s That Bug” possible. It’s really an excellent site and I often find myself perusing it just to feed my amateur entomolgist’s appetite! I noticed the Nasty Reader’s Section you have and was both amazed by the breath-taking idiocy of some of the readers featured there and amused by your responses.
So thanks again, for all you hard work on an excellent site!
Nate McInnis

Hi Nate,
Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Letter 49 – Fanmail Par Excellance

site comment
March 1, 2010
site comment
just want to say i think the site is awsome. been usin it since i was 5 years old and i am 16 now. i recomend it to everybody.
josh smith

Wow Josh,
This is just about the best fanmail letter we have ever received.  You must have been one of our first readers back when we were a brand new presence on the internet.

Letter 50 – Fanmail

April 15, 2010
Great Job!
Wow guys! You have done an awesome job with the site! Can’t belive how much it has grown since you first started, and I asked for my first bug ID! I share this site with people who have kids interested in bugs, so they can learn more, and be less afraid of these critters.
Good job, keep it up!
Kaye

Letter 51 – Fanmail from a Faithful Fan

April 16, 2010
It IS wonderful to see how the site has grown but it’s darn near impossible to get a message through to Dan and Lisa, let alone a photo.  But I still love these guys!  I know they’re as busy as bees!
Joannne
Now in Romeoville IL, not Darien IL

Hi Joannne,
We see you have added an n to your name since the last time we wrote back to you.  We haven’t noticed any mail from you, but we don’t always read names in an effort to be more impartial when reading our mail.  Though much more would get answered if we hired staff, we like maintaining a personal touch with our responses.
Dear, dear Joannne,
We will never forget that “hornet’s nest” you stirred up a few years back with your wry comments.  As always, we love being a bit edgy and controversial, and even adult in our humor, but we strive to maintain public decorum and we always refrain from posting obscenities and foul language to our humble site, either from our own keyboards or those of the public.  Try resending that photo Joanne.

Thanks so much for remembering me, Dan!  I have left my partner of 18 years and am now living on my own in Romeoville, IL.  It’s for the best so don’t worry!
My best friend lives in Sheridan, IL and whilst staying with her the weekend I left my partner, I found this beautiful garden spider and her husband….sperm donor….whatever.  I will send three images on a separate email.
I am looking forward to a summer of new bugs in Sheridan, IL.  My friend out there and I have been buddies since 1977 so I know I’m welcome out there any time!
Much love,
Joanne (still 2 “n”s I think I was drinking…)

Letter 52 – Fanmail

note of thanks
May 12, 2010
Thank you for providing this great resource! After moving to Gainesville FL I was overwhelmed and a bit terrified by the variety of ‘bug’ life outside (and sometimes inside). After discovering your site I’ve turned every encounter into an identification game. Even after five years I’m still finding new creatures. Just yesterday my house was covered in Red Shouldered Bugs. Funny little things. Anyway, thank you! I’ve pre-ordered your book on amazon and can’t wait for it to be released.
Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for your kind email.  We just returned from five days in Ohio and we have 100s of emails, and we are only going to be able to answer and post a few, and your fanmail letter is the first.

Letter 53 – Fanmail

Sent a donation!
May 23, 2010
Dear WTB,
I identified “my bug” of interest,thank to your photos,and descriptions.Also I was looking it up,because I had a bit of insomnia last night,since a loved one is in the hospital ( gonna be fine) but anyway,after fulfilling all my bugelicious curiosity,I am not quite sleepy..MUCH better than a sleeping pill. Thanks!
OH,and my critter was a snake bug! Our little vineyard welcomes them!
Leslie in Penn Valley,Ca 95946

Hi Leslie,
We are happy the site was helpful and that things are well with your ailing relative.  Thanks for your kind donation.

Letter 54 – Fanmail

Love the new format!
July 6, 2010
I love the new format!!! I was not a fan of the last changes that were made, but the new changes are fantastic! Great Job!
inlovewithbugs

Letter 55 – Fanmail: WTB? benefits youngster with Autism

fanmail from a thankful sister
July 6, 2010
Dear Bugman,
I wanted to express how your site and the work you do has affected my life in such a personal way. My little brother, Brian, was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. He’s had a lot of trouble learning to use language and doesn’t really engage with other people. I’m his sister and around him all the time, and he used to hardly ever connect with me. About a year ago, though, I started researching because of my own interest in insects, and I started bringing bugs I caught into the house in small cages during the day to watch them. Brian was aware of them right away and kept asking me what different bugs I caught were, and he got really frustrated when I didn’t know. When I stumbled across your site one night, I was so happy it was easy to use to try to identify bugs, had so many resources, and, of course, let me send in pictures if I couldn’t figure one out for myself. Since then, Brian and I have been able to catch bugs together and find out what they are. He l oves it. He’s talked to me more in the past year than he has in his whole life. He sometimes tells his teacher about bugs he finds and takes worms off the sidewalk to put them in the grass (his first sign of empathy, I think). These are h-u-g-e steps for him. Even his psychologist is blown away by the changes he’s experienced recently.
I wanted to express my gratitude for the work you do and how important it is for me and my family.
Jenny
the picture is Brian at a butterfly habitat near our home

Brian with Gulf Fritillary and Morpho

Dear Jenny,
This might be the only time in the entire time we have been posting letters that we are totally without words of comment.  Your letter made our day.

Letter 56 – Fanmail

Very pleased with the website!
July 19, 2010 9:17 pm
Thank you so much! I’m so pleased with your website, it’s opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know about certain insects which I was often surprised by, but now realise are benificial and/or harmless. I just recently got into studying bugs in what little spare time I have between writing electronic music and working. This website has helped me very much in identifying insects I have never seen before in my area (lots of interesting new insects popping up in Ontario lately that I cannot describe). If I happen to snap some photos of insects that baffle me (some husks and sheddings I have found in the northern parts of Ontario that I have never encountered before especially) I will let you know first hand and hopefully the team here can help us figure out what’s with the crazy and interesting new species I have never encountered before!
Thank you so much again,
yours, Cody J.

Thanks so much for your kind letter Cody.

Letter 57 – Fanmail

Your wonderful website assists in Blister Beetle “bite” in Arizona
July 25, 2010 1:42 am
Hi Folks,
Love your website and just registered. As soon as I can find my darned Visa, I will be sending along a donation; I truly appreciate your labor of love and use your site frequently. Tonight, I was “bitten” by a Blister Beetle, which I identified due to your website. Of course, I wasn’t bitten; Mr. Beetle was in my shirt (I had just taken it off the clothesline) and laid down on it…CRUNCH! Then, burning and swelling. I washed the area with soap, took a Benedryl, applied a cold compress over Neosporin on my back. There was no itching, but certainly a burning feeling, and I became very worried. The bug (crushed) was still identifiable with the help from your site. Then I googled Arizona Blister Beetle and found from other sites I was not “bitten”. The substance in the joints of the bug had caused a chemical reaction on skin that can result in blistering and just the reactions I experienced. I also found I had already done all the right things. But I wouldn’t have known where to
begin identification without your website. A big thanks, watch for my grateful donation!
elliemay

Dear elliemay,
Thanks for letting us know that we have been helpful.  We hope you recover quickly from your encounter with the Blister Beetle.

Letter 58 – Fanmail

Thank you!
August 3, 2010 10:23 pm
I’ve been faithfully reading every new entry on WTB, and I can’t help but feel happy knowing that you’ve created an avenue for the public’s questions about the little six-legged creatures they find. You have a wonderful way of encouraging the acceptance and enjoyment of the arthropod world, and I wish you best of luck on any future endeavors.
Thanks again!
Megan Hussey

Hi Megan,
Your email really cheered us up.

Letter 59 – Fanmail

“Pre-order The Curious World of Bugs”
August 4, 2010
I pre Ordered my copy on Amazon today! I can’t wait to get it.

I am actually really excited to get an early copy in my hot little hands.  Thanks for your enthusiasm.
Daniel

I work for a pest control company and I am making the owners buy a copy for our front lobby too. We help people keep destructive pests out of their homes, but we also teach people about beneficial insects and integrated pest management. We are all excited to get the book! My personal copy will be shared with my 7 year old daughter who shares my fascination with all creatures great and small.

Letter 60 – Fabulous Fanmail

I’m scary stalker obsessed with your site
August 14, 2010 4:18 pm
Realy, I can’t stop.  I work outdoors at a zoo in Texas, and I see bugs- LOTS of bugs- every day.  And I admit, I am now a reformed Destroyer of Creepy Crawlies.  Ever since stumbling on this site, I now study the bug instead of squashing it.  It’s good for the bug, good for the environment, and honestly that Cheeto’s crunch always gave me the willies.  Any time a bug would get near me, which happens daily, I would flail and run and bat at it- trying to get away. Then it would feel my angry shoe wrath-  But now I want to get closer to see if I recognize it from your site.  Thank Goodness I now know the Robber fly.  Those little boogers were scary until I found out more about them.  I’m also learning the differences between all the wasps out here, and the wasp look-a-likes.  A giant cicada-killer is who led me to this site originally.  Well, it didn’t phsycially lead me here- that would be weird, but after I saw that fatty flying around I was convinced in B-movie mutated giant
wasps trying to take over the world and HAD to find out what was going on.  Now I’m learning all about the insects and spiders.  A real testament to your site is when I DIDN’T freak out after walking head first into a spider’s web.  I thought I got most of the sticky stuff off me, but a guest at the zoo was walking towards me, pointing and screaming.  I’m thinking “Crud! There’s a lion behind me, isn’t there?”  Nope.  Giant mammoth spider stuck in my hair.  I’ll admit I did a little squealing and dancing, and he was yo-yo’ed a bit from my hand with his sticky string.  But I didn’t squash him.  I looked him up.  He was a big ol’ grey garden orb weaver.  I admit, I’d like him a lot better if he wasn’t in my hair, but I’m loving finding these bugs and looking them up on your site, and recognizing the bugs out here.  There’s one gigantic flying white and black spotty beetle out here, that one day I will get a picture of to send you. I’m dying to find out what that bohemoth is.
Anyway, my point is, thanks so much for the site.  I’m having so mu
ch fun with it, and it’s been so useful.  Your site realy does convert avid smooshers into “live and let bee” people.  (bee… get it?)  Also, it’s the one site I can look up at work and not have to hover the mouse over the “x” button in case the boss walks up!  (I’m not a pervert or anything. I just really like sites where idiots hurt themselves).  Keep up the good work!
Reformed Bug Squisher

Dear Reformed Bug Squisher,
Your letter is awesome.  It is one of the best fanmail letters we have ever received.  We want to stop posting for the evening just so your letter will stay at the top of our homepage for a spell.  Try looking up Cottonwood Borer to see if that is your black and white beetle.

Thanks so much!  I’m glad you liked my letter because now I tell people I’m a published author.  And then I try to start discussions where I can name drop the ovispositer, just because it’s a new big word and I sound super smart when I talk about it.  As soon as I find my camera charger I am going to document my decent into the dangerous world of venom.  We have daddy longlegs (of the harvestman variety, now I know, thanks to your site) ALL over the zoo, and the myth prevails here that they are indeed the “most venomous spider known to man, but thier teeth are too small to penetrate human skin”.  Now, you and I know this is not true.  And the harvestman isn’t even a spider, although it is an arachnid. (See?  I look like I know what I’m talking about.  This is awesome).  So I’m on a photo safari to royally tick off a daddy longlegs, have him bite me, and then NOT die, just so I can show my stubborn and WRONG co-workers that I am right, and they are wrong.  So take THAT in the ovipositer!

Update
Forgot to tell you in my reply that the big scary white and black beetle that facinates me so is indeed a cottonwood borer, I think.  From what I’ve read, they get to be up to 1 1/2 inches, and the one that follows me around seems bigger.  Maybe I found the biggest one in the world and should get a prize or something.  Or maybe the mutant freaks really ARE taking over… just as I suspected.
And I also realized it’s a bit ironic to try to impress people with my new giant brain knowledge, using big words like OVIPOSITOR, when I misspell that dang thing all over the place.  Me smart. Give cookie.
Gwen

 

Letter 61 – Fanmail

Just a quick thank you
September 23, 2010 1:09 am
I know you probably get this all the time, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to thank you for your wonderful open minded opinion of nature. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been rescuing little spiders from the sink or carrying a crane fly outside, because they’re harmless, and I’m so sick of people accusing them of biting.
I’ve tried very vigilantly to convince people that there’s no life without purpose, and every creature has it’s place big or small, that each one should be treated with respect. The amount of ignorance laced through the society we humans created is distressing. It’s just so awesome to find another person able to see past that. 🙂 Thanks for all your hard work getting the message across!
Signature: Desiree Hill

Letter 62 – Fanmail

Nasty reader award
Location: Maryland
October 26, 2010 12:34 am
Love, love, love your site. I find it very informative and am pleased to say that I now think before I squish. (I admit, though, that cockroaches are squished without a second thought. Fortunately I haven’t had roaches to squish since I lived in that one questionable apartment…) anyway, I wanted to say kudos to you for having the ”Nasty Reader Award” links. Too often the people who write nasty letters get no comeuppance (sp?) and it gives me great satisfaction to see that at least a few of these horrible people face some kind of recourse. Keep up the great work, both with the bugs and the karma. (PS- I included the pic of me because for some reason the site wouldn’t let me send this w/out a pic. Please don’t post it! Thanks!)
Signature: Faithful reader in Maryland

Dear Faithful reader in Maryland,
Thank you for your nice letter.  We are pleased to hear that our website has contributed toward your appreciation of and tolerance for the lower beasts.  We admit that we ourselves have very little tolerance for certain creatures, like the Argentine Ants that have colonized Southern California.  While we will tolerate them in the garden, they are dispatched without mercy should they happen to invade the kitchen.  We are happy to honor your request not to publish the beguiling image of you dancing at what looks like a fun party because What’s That Bug? does not run a dating service and we imagine that we would be getting countless comments and requests from the eligible gentlemen among our readership if we were to run your photo.

Letter 63 – Fanmail, kind of

Ed Note November 1, 2010: We just discovered this blog posting, and though it is theoretically not a letter that was submitted to the website, Daniel was thrilled to read it.

My super last minute grainy sleepyhead SciFri post!
This week I went to a seminar given by a Wildlife Ecologist and Entomologist from the University of Delaware and before the seminar the campus bookstore had a booth set up selling his book and a few other books, one of those other books being The Curious World of Bugs by Daniel Marlos and though I NEVER pay full price for books (because I’m always buying them so if I always paid full price I would be super broke) I decided I had to have this book right then. I’m flying through it because it’s so interesting. I wasn’t all that interested in insects until I got my job at the entomology lab and now I think they are some of the coolest creatures ever, especially after learning more from this book. Maybe I’m a Wildlife Ecologist/Entomologist in the making…
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/scifri

Letter 64 – Fanmail

your site
November 3, 2010 10:55 am
This site is just amazing. I love the  many mantis pictures and .. well alll them Bugs.
I forge Bugs in a smithy (though i might try unicorns if I want money) and the pictures really really help me visualise these amazing creatures.
Thank you.
Signature: jack frost

Hi Jack,
Thanks for the compliment.  We wish you would send us a few photos of your sculptures.

Letter 65 – Fanmail

General Comment(aka “Fan Mail”)
December 5, 2010 6:56 pm
Hey what’s WTB? I just love the site. I’m on it for hours and hours and a time. Also love the new book. I got it a few weeks ago, and I read it when i was on bed rest from a surgery. Finally someone talks about feeding habits of fiery searcher ground beetles and bee robber flies. Hopefully I get into the UW of Madison entomology class next year(knock on wood). But I am only 15 years old so a UW class will kick me around a bit. Anyway I’ll wrap this up. I know you are busy so no need to response. Unless you would like to. Keep up the Great Work! ~ Alex G.
Signature: Alex G.

Hi Alex,
Thanks so much for your kind letter and Good luck getting into the UW Madison class.

Letter 66 – Curious World of Bugs Fanmail

the curious world of bugs
January 4, 2010
hi daniel,
just wanted to say that my husband gave me your book “The Curious World Of Bugs
for christmas. i was thrilled to receive your book and i am enjoying it immensely! i am very
happy you wrote the book. i so enjoy your perspective.
cheers,
venice kelly

Thanks for the positive feedback Venice.

Letter 67 – Fanmail and Request from BAMONA

identification help at BAMONA
Website: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org
February 10, 2011 7:17 pm
Hi folks,
Your site is great!  I coordinate Butterflies and Moths of North America, and I love what you do.  We have a tiny staff too (2 part-time) and it is a ton of work.  I know you must get loads of submissions here as well. If you ever want to point submitters to our site for identification help on those ones you don’t feature, feel free.  Submitters can upload a photo and other details, and a volunteer regional coordinator will ID their submission. We also would love it if you would point users to our site to share rare submissions like the Owl moth (2010/11/16/owl-moth-can-this-be-a-state-record-for-wisconsin/) because we store all these records and make them available to scientists. If you are not interested in pointing folks to our project, that’s okay too.
Cheers,
Kelly
Signature: Kelly Lotts

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for your email.  We will post your offer and request in the hopes that our readership will visit your site and provide contributions.  We believe that the normal ranges and migration patterns of many animal species (not just butterflies and moths) are changing, and that this is a symptom of a global shift that we probably cannot truly comprehend.

Letter 68 – A Reader states a Credo on Bugs

Bug/insect credo
Location: Bugs in theory
April 6, 2011 2:03 pm
Dear Bugman,
I absolutely love your site! Even most of the unnecessary carnage section. However, I’d like to share my credo. (I’m going to use the word ”bug” to describe both bugs and insects.)
1.) If I’m outside and a bug is over there and I’m over here, I don’t touch it. Live and let live. I might even watch it from afar.
2.) If a bug enters my home uninvited, I consider this home invasion and I act accordingly; the ”intruder” dies. I was raised in Idaho, the lovely potato state. Though the state’s motto should be ’shoot first, ask questions later’. I feel this way about all intruders big or small. In this instance we can say, ’Shoe first, ask questions later.’ I wouldn’t step in a badger’s hole and think it’s not going to attack me. That’s just silly, it’s protecting it’s space. I am just protecting mine.(Also, don’t tell me you don’t happily go around the house with the fly swatter in the summer because I won’t believe it! And mosquitoes…)
3.) If a bug happens to land/fly violently into my person, I consider this an assault and I’m going to defend myself against the attacking wild. I’m just an innocent by-standard (see number 1.) I’m not harming anything! If some thug came up to you with malicious intent, wouldn’t you try to defend yourself? Even if this person was only 3’4. Just because I’m bigger doesn’t make it O.K. to assault me. Period. It’s not my fault if the bug gets a boo-boo. That’s what happens when you mess with the big kids.
4.) Being a bug doesn’t mean being my enemy. Just as I allow friends into my home, I do allow known nice/beneficial bugs into my abode. I don’t kill butterflies. I don’t kill praying mantis. (And not because they are pretty either! Although maybe Zorak has something to do with it.) Fuzzy caterpillar? Come on, it’s fuzzy!! Lady bugs… Yeah, that’s all I can think of. Oh, Daddy Long Legs! Anyway, those buggies (and others!) get taken outside by my spouse. I don’t go tromping through the wilderness looking for bugs to fry with a magnifying glass, THAT is unnecessary.
Signed,
-M-
P.S. It’s natural to fear the unknown, so thanks for keeping this site up and running. Thank you for continuing to education about the harmless bugs and the not so harmless ones. It is appreciated. Please, go easy on us though.
Signature: Ride a pony bug man, not a high horse!

Zorak

Dear M,
Thank you for taking the time to write.  We hope Hanna-Barbera doesn’t come after us for copyright infringement.  We agree with you fully that it is natural to fear the unknown, and we hope our website helps to dispel some of that fear with regards to bugs.  For the record, we cannot tolerate Argentine Ants invading our offices, which they always seem to do after especially heavy rains and more frequently during the hot dry summer months in Los Angeles.  We routinely squish aphids and scale insects in the garden as well.

Letter 69 – Fanmail

no response needed
May 14, 2011 3:57 pm
I only recently found this site and i makes me feel alot better about being a bug person. there aren’t many people who appreciate those smaller creatures and often fear them. i was helping out at Outdoor School (a local outdoors education camp) in the water ecology section and half the kids had never even seen a mayfly before. But seeing their eyes light up when they learned to idenify a dragonfly nymph or what a stonefly was made up for it. Thank you for having this amazing website and thankyou to all you fellow bug lovers for helping educate those who don’t uderstand insects.
Signature: Bugbite

Dear Bugbite,
Thanks for your kind email.

Letter 70 – Fanmail

speaking engagement
Website: www.themermaid.com
June 1, 2011 12:06 am
Hello Daniel:
I attended your lecture at the Payne Foundation last Saturday and really enjoyed your presentation!!! I sat in the back next to Lily Singer.
I have a horticultural garden retreat in Topanga
called The Mermaid and do evening programs sometimes featuring speakers. i am passionate about butterflies and rear different native species on the site.
Would you be available for such a speaking event?  And if so please tell me how I go about making arrangements with you, cost, etc.
The Mermaid has a wonderful history — built as a country club in 1930, later to be coma a gambling house during world war 2 and then a gay bar called the Canyon Club in the 50s and 60s.
I have lived here for 21 years and rent the place out for all sorts of things. Please see our website, www.themermaid.com.
Thank you,
Bill Buerge, owner
The Mermaid, Topanga

Hi Bill,
Thanks for your kind email.  I am glad you enjoyed the presentation.  Topanga Canyon is a wonderful area and I hope that posting your letter and link will be positive publicity for your garden retreat.  With summer approaching and budget cuts at the California Community College level, LACC has decided not to offer any photography classes among its drastically scaled back summer session, so I have some free time.  I will also contact you through my personal email address so that we can discuss specifics.

Letter 71 – Fanmail

Just wanted to say I enjoy your site
June 4, 2011 2:01 pm
Hey. I just wanted to say that I enjoy your site. I have identified a few bugs using the site and I enjoy looking at the pictures. I try not to kill bugs if I can avoid it, though I do admit that I’m not all that kind to wasps, mosquitos, and spiders in the house. If I know that a bug is harmless I usually leave it alone. I’ve got some honeybee, praying mantis, lunar moth, butterfly, and a few other random insect pictures that I could send if you would like to add them to your archive. They’re probably fairly common species, though, so you probably have pictures already.
Anyway, I really enjoy your site. You do a good job with it. Thanks for maintaining it.
Signature: L.M.

Dear L.M.
We look forward to the day you cannot identify the insect you have photographed.  At that time, send us your photo.  We are currently getting close to 100 identification requests per day and we are unable to handle them all, so many requests go unanswered.  We are postdating your fanmail email to go live on our site on June 8 because we will be gone from the office for a week.

Letter 72 – Fanmail

If you ever consider writing a children’s book…
June 6, 2011 10:03 pm
I just bought your “Curious World” book in Boston.  Love it.  I am a backyard  organic gardener, bug aficionado, and illustrator of 25 books.  And I live on Santa Monica.  I think you should write a picture book celebrating bugs and I could illustrate it.
Signature: Kathryn Hewitt

Hi Kathryn,
Thanks so much for the compliment.  The circumstances that lead to my writing The Curious World of Bugs was very atypical, and you may read about it here on the Perigee Bookmarks site.  The thought of writing a children’s book is tempting.  I just might consider it.  Perhaps we should continue this dialog offline upon my return from visiting my mother in Ohio for a week.
Daniel

Letter 73 – Hawaiian Insects Fanmail

Documenting Hawaii bugs
June 26, 2011
Hi love your site. Thank you so much for assisting me in identifying our bug.  My kids cheered like we won the lottery after seeing my recently snapped mystery beetle picture on line.  I must say your site has given me a whole new way of thinking about the tiny lives we share this planet with.

I’d searched bug guide and the Hawaii insect identification site for information (as well as doing other web research) before submitting the picture.  I had really taken them to use to look at while I was searching to see if I could find a match.  I admit my previous sheer terror at most bugs had me wishing most didn’t exist but I never enjoyed bug carnage–so looking at the Hawaii ID st was very hard.  Most are in some type of gel or petri dish or impaled for viewing. Seeing so many, even “enemy” bugs, displayed like that was quite distressing .   I was wondering if we could somehow help them change this by giving them better more accurate portraits (like the ones displayed on your site) to help them begin to have a much clearer, vivid catalog of information to perhaps replace the blurry impaled photos.

I know I’d appreciate it.  I’d also like better information like a listing of known feeding habits, habitat, plants that they like, are they garden-friendly, poisonous and if so how dangerous? i.e., mild, to other bug only, or severe.  That might seem like info so that one can destroy but it isn’t. For example if I knew what plants could attract “pest” bugs away from my garden or might attract beneficial insects to it, I could use that information to use simple natural methods of pest control.  Also as is the case here in Hawaii, we could help species nearing extinction like the beautiful Hawaiian Monarch butterfly, begin to flourish again–just by knowing what to plant.

I’m no expert photographer and I like my privacy but any photos I could submit to help I would definitely take a cup of bravery and try to snap for such a venture. I and I’m sure many others who live in these isles would definitely appreciate seeing more accurate Hawaii info, with a broader scope, on the web.  It could begin with you and the Hawaii insect identification site .

I know they have so many insects listed and it could take years, but the effort has to start somewhere eh? Can it begin with you?  Thank you so much for your site.

Hi Dasi,
Thanks for your suggestion.  Since our goal is to try to educate the web browsing public about the creatures that we share this planet with, we love posting photos of living specimens in their natural habitat, though we also gravitate to more unusual images that demonstrate the intersection between the natural world and the civilized world for purely aesthetic reasons.  Alas, we really haven’t the time to create a unique site dedicated to Hawaiian insects.  Many species found on Hawaii are actually non-native species that were accidentally introduced.  If you want to aggregate the Hawaiian insects found on our site, you may use our search engine and type in Hawaii or Hawaiian and you will find all the postings where those words are mentioned.  Our search engine works quite well.

I was delighted to see the Hawaii Insect site that you directed me to in your recent email.  I see that there is a site with pictorial images that don’t make me cringe. It is welcome addition to my educational sites.
I can’t believe how far a little knowledge goes.  I find myself catching spiders and releasing them now…me, an immensely terrified bugaphobe (my own word ). Seriously my kids looked at me today like “who is this woman and what did she do with our mom” when after they shrieked at a jumping spider (as we call them) I said “No killing! Catch it and put it outside,” then promptly helped them do it using an empty glass.  Heck I surprised myself.  Not so sure I can face them all but hey, small steps. Kudos for inspiring us critter-scarified folk to give our planet neighbors some thought..

Letter 74 – Fanmail

How do I post a pic from my iPhone?
July 9, 2011 1:48 pm
Hello Mr. and Mrs. Bugman!
Love your site, and I will say that I get great great, no — EXTREME satisfaction from your responses to the Nasty Readers.  Especially the ones with grammatical and spelling delinquencies.  Heeheehee!
Anyway, I’d like to post a bug for ID, but the ‘insert image’ sections don’t allow me to actually insert an image from my iPhone.  Any trix that I’m missing?
Very best,
Martha P. Humphreys

Ed. Note: We are currently trying to resolve Martha’s technical difficulties.

Letter 75 – Fanmail

Just a thank you for a great site.
Website: http://anenglishgirlrambles.blogspot.com
July 9, 2011 3:07 pm
I have been a fan of your site for some time now.  I also sent in a letter with a couple of pictures a while ago for an ID, but totally understand why it was not answered as I can only imagine how many mails you must get with similar requests.  As a matter of fact not so long afterwards I found this bug on here  which supplied me with the identification.
Thank you, this is a fun place to learn and I shall enjoy popping in to improve my knowledge of the bug world.  The more I see on here, the more fascinated I become.
Signature: Denise

Hi Denise,
Thank you for your kind email.  We are sorry we did not respond to your earlier request, but we appreciate your understanding.  The secret to getting our attention on a busy day is a catchy subject line.

Letter 76 – Fanmail

encouragement for your site
September 20, 2011 12:42 pm
I just recently came across a huge bug half dead in the Home Depot. found out it was a sand puppy or Jerusalem Cricket. I have it in a jar I feel ad for it someone obviously tried to kill it. I have always loved bus. My mother is always coming into my home complaining I should sweep the cobwebs down…haha I always told her I left them because spiders eat the flies and I hate flies.I love that you talk about how each has it’s place and purpose. I admit I have squashed bugs but mostly because I can’t take the whining or screaming of people afraid of them. I usually try to take them outside. I am a 32 year old mother of 3 and I was so excited to have found a centipede on he bathroom floor at church. I carried it out to show the children and other mothers were looked at me like I was nuts and said just kill it already! I am so glad to have found a sympathetic site to not harming bugs. I am even happier it is not about mushy-gushy-I-could-never-hurt-a-fly kind of attitude but about educating other to appreciate them! Great job! Now if only I could learn to live with mice.
Signature: Sarah

Thanks for the encouragement Sarah.

Letter 77 – How to Register a New Species

How to register a new species
October 3, 2011 9:49 am
The subject says it all really… how do I go about registering a new species?
Nice site by the way, very interesting!
Regards
Tim
Signature: Tim

Hi Tim,
We don’t know how to go about registering a new species, but we suspect one of our readers will be able to supply that information.  Coincidentally, while posting a photo of an unknown Golden Silk Spider from Taiwan, we learned that:  “At last count there were 28,700 spiders known from Australia BUT only 7,000 have been described. It costs up to $1,500 to describe a species and can take 3-4 years to get published. By ROSCO  Dr R J Ross” on the OzarkWild website.  That might be for Australian registrations.

Thank you for your email Daniel.
You don’t seem to have a forum on your site. Whats the best way for me to ask your readers the process for registering a new species in different countries.
I read somewhere that you needed an expert in the field to describe it and name it in a journal but that sounds very unofficial.
Tim Parsons

Hi again Tim,
You may post a comment to this posting, or you may try our Facebook or Twitter options.  Our editorial staff strongly controls the content of the actual website, but there is much uncensored dialog on the Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Letter 78 – Fanmail

An ode to one of my fave sites
November 21, 2011 11:39 am
Hey whatsthatbug friends!
As I love your site and think that people should  have a little more tolerance towards our buggy friends, and spent much time procrastinating on your site, not to mention that you’ve helped me identify things I’ve never seen before or now want to hunt down and see, anyhoooooooo, I made a blog posting dedicated to your site and some of my favourite or most interesting bugs. Here’s hoping you may have a chance to take a gander through my top tens (at least the pics :-D)
Take care & awesome job maintaining such a superb site!!
Signature: Van

Well that was kind of silly of me I forgot the link to my blog.
http://vanswisdom.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/bugs-bugs-bugs/
Thanks again!!

Hi Van,
Thanks so much for the great endorsement.

Letter 79 – Traveling with an insect collection

traviling with insects
April 27, 2012 8:31 am
Hey my name is Jani and im a very big fan, im in the process of reading the curiouse world of bugs and i love it! But i have a question, I collect insects as a hobby and while on holiday i colected a few, but i wish to take them home, but i have to travel by plane. I was wondering if you might know what the rules and regulations are when it comes to traveling with the insects (they are dead, and pinned!)
Looking forward to your reply!
Signature: jani Bester

Hi Jani,
Traveling with any valuables makes us nervous.  We would strongly suggest shipping your collection.

Letter 80 – Fanmail

Subject: Kudo’s
November 19, 2012 1:03 pm
I wish I had money, because you deserve it all. You make me happy I couldn’t ID a gnat (duh).  Three hours after finding my answer, I am STILL looking/learning/fascinated.
Thanks !
Signature: Carol Black

Thank you so much Carol.  We try our best to be entertaining as well as informative.  We are also indebted to our readership and the wonderful images and provocative questions they supply.

Letter 81 – Fanmail

Subject: Just a Thank You
Website:
July 28, 2013 7:31 pm
I just wanted to send a message to say THANKS for all the hard work on this awesome website!! Thank you for educating so many people about all the great bugs out there too. Enjoy the rest of your summer and THANK YOU AGAIN!!
🙂
Signature: Kara Osborne

Thank you for your kind email Kara.

Letter 82 – A Humanitarian Comment

Subject: your kindness & knowledge
November 27, 2013 2:31 pm
I cannot thank you enough for your consideration, kindness & knowledge you try to pass on to people.  The insect & arachnid world is amazing!  I have passed onto my son the NECESSARY kindness to all animals.  I’ve seen him rescue praying mantis (and others)  from death by shoe, etc.  We carry our visitors outside. I’ve been known to take spider egg mass’s into jars and into a safe place for the winter.  We take pictures of them and admire them.  I’ve been viewed as “odd”; these people need to be educated and that is where you fit right in! I’ve educated many people about as much as possible without forcing it upon them.  Knowledge is power.  Besides, they are small and we are HUGE! How much of a bully are these killing, uneducated jerks anyway!  Oh, sorry… that is how we feel about it.  I have to say, there are a few I have a hard time with; cockroaches, ticks and fleas.  Blood suckers are not in my “to be kind to” list.  I’m not perfect!  Keep up the fabulous work!
Signature: PAULA

Dear PAULA,
Thanks so much for your passionate comment.  We have to admit that the invasive Argentine Ant, which we have heard called a Sugar Ant, is at the top of our “take no prisoners” list.

Letter 83 – Fanmail

Subject: Thank You
July 7, 2014 2:31 pm
Just wanted to drop a quick line telling you guys how AWESOME you are! Just discovered your sight recently, and it is now one of my top go-tos.  I work at a retail nursery, and spend a lot of time helping customers with ‘pest’ identification.  We all feel this is our opportunity to help educate the public about the wonders of the insect world, and change their philosophy from “it’s a bug– kill it!” to “wow! what’s that?” I like to recommend your site, and appreciate your live-and-let-live attitude. Keep up the good work!
Signature: Mary Elliott

Dear Mary,
It is nice to hear that folks working in a nursery share our philosophy regarding the importance of insect life on our planet.

.

.

Letter 1 – Couldn’t open the photo

Moth Picture
Hello Bugman,
I have to convey to you how much I absolutely love your website! It is pretty much the coolest site EVER! I happened upon your website when trying to identify a very odd looking bug that my husband brought home for me from the grocery store parking lot the other day. He does that occassionally because I have a serious fascination with insects which people seem to think is strange but I just LOVE them!! Anyway, you site identified the insect as a Mole Cricket which thrilled me to death to just know what the little thing was. I have a picture of a moth I happened upon in yet another grocery store parking lot and I just wanted to be part of your wonderful site so I am sending the picture to you. Is this a species of the Polyphemus Moths that you have pictured on the site? Thanks so much for your time and I will walk around armed with a camera from now on since I now know about you guys!
Thanks,
Michelle in Suwanee, GA

Hi Michelle,
You sent such a wonderful letter, but sadly, we cannot open your photo attachment. Please try to resend it as a jpg attachment and not a bmp. Until we get the image, we are posting your letter on our fanmail page.

Letter 2 – Some interesting local names from Tennessee

we love your website
Dear Bugman,
First let me say I love your site. It has been the most informative that I have found. My son and I looked everywhere trying to identify an insect and we finally found it here, thanks . We also found out alot about insects that we thought we already knew about. For example, the camel cricket is known as the” blister cricket” here in Tennessee, and the saddle back caterpillar is known as the “packsaddle”. They’re just local names I’m sure so it was very interesting to find out their real names. Now I have a question. What ,if anything, does the hickory horned devil turn into? We have them evrywhere here and I’ve always assumed they were just a worm.
Thanks,
Paula
East Tennessee

Hi Paula,
The Hickory Horned Devil turns into the lovely Royal Walnut Moth.

Letter 3 – Helping to Ease Minds

Awesome Site!
Hi there, I wanted to tell you that this is a fabulous site! I found it in a true panic! I woke up in the middle of the night a couple nights ago to use the bathroom. To my suprise, I turned on the light and found a black bug sitting on my register vent. At first I didn’t really think much of it. (I’m not afraid of bugs) Then I took a piece of toilet paper and smushed it. As I was about to throw it away, I decided to open the tissue and look at it. Up close the wings almost made it look like a cockroach. I completely went numb and ran into the bedroom and jumped on the internet! I looked at all your pictures of cockroaches and decided it wasn’t that. Not being 100% sure, I will see if I across another and send a picture in. So since then, every bug I see in the house or outside even, I get on here and look it up. I feel so much better about my “buggy” surroundings now. Thanks for helping freaks like me put our minds at ease.
Sincerely,
Jennifer
MI

Letter 4 – Ewwww

Thank you! Your site is wonderful. My daughter spent the better part of an
hour clicking through the various bug links. Many of them got the wonderful
“Ewwww!” of little kids.
Steve

Letter 5 – Greeting from Kuwait

WEB SITE
Hello WTB!!
I’m sad to say that this E-mail will contain no specimen photo in need of ID. I simply wanted to compliment you on you web site. I am very impressed!! I am currently working as a DoD contractor (Vector Control) in southern Iraq . We are the “Bug men” for our troops deployed in OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). I was curious if you might like to have a few specimen photos of some of the creatures “our boys” encounter here in the “sandbox”? Though we deal with everything from Horned Vipers to the occasional herd of camels we spend the majority of our time focusing on local arthropods. If you might have any knowledge of sites similar to your own with information concerning creatures from our “neck of the woods” I would be very interested.
Thanks and Kudos,
Jason McCann
Vector Control Technician
Camp Buehring/Udairi, Kuwait

Hi Jason,
WE have gotten several photos of the infamous Camel Spider, including one that has been making quite a splash in the news along with horrific storiesl. The image was taken with a wide angle lens, so the critters look two feet long. Sorry we can’t help you with any Middle Eastern identification sites, but we will gladly publish any images you send our way.

Letter 6 – nice website

“What’s that Bug” Website Folk –
I enjoyed very much browsing your website. I am interested to know where you are located and what regional insect fauna you are most associated with. I am author of the Exploring California Insects website –
www.bugpeople.org.

Eddie Dunbar, Project Director
“Exploring California Insects”
5209 Congress Avenue
Oakland, CA 94601-5405

“Lake Merritt and Greater Oakland Insects”
a field guide covering 105 local groups
with 100 color images is now available.
Visit the ECI website: www.bugpeople.org

Hi Eddie,
Thank you for the nice letter. I can see downtown Los Angeles from my backyard. I live in the neighborhood of Mt. Washington near one of the entrances to Elyria Canyon. Most of the photos that I take for the site are in my garden or the canyon. What’s That Bug? started as a lark in a photocopied “zine” called American Homebody. When American Homebody went online, the column What’s That Bug? went along for the ride. The column generated so much mail that we purchased the domain name and www.whatsthatbug.com became a spin-off of the original site. Quite frankly, we aren’t associated with any entomological organizations, but we do occasionally get advice from the staff of the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. One of my greatest interests is to do documentary photos of the life cycles of some local insects and I am thinking of applying for funding to create a pamplet for Elyria Canyon Park with insect photos. I have also been toying with the idea of adapting a book based on our site that could act as a humorous accompaniment to Hogue’s awesome Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.

Letter 7 – Oxford Fan

Hurrah for you guys!
I just wanted to compliment you on your fascinating site! I’m a student in Oxford studying Environmental Biology (my speciality being spiders – recently identified 807 of them for a research project!). I’ve often used your site for information in essays, and i think it’s a brilliant resource for everybody.
You must thoroughly enjoy running it.
Keep up the good work,
Olivia

Thank you so much for the sweet letter Olivia. I am amazed that a prestigious institution like Oxford has benefitted from our humble site. My biggest thrill in the spider identification category was the Red Legged Purse Web Spider. That photo was so beautiful and I was obsessed with identifying it. Have a great day.
Daniel

Letter 8 – High School Entomology Teacher

I am a high school entomology teacher in coastal Georgia. I love your website. I just found it today. If you come across any resources that I could use for my ento. class please do not hesitate to send them to me. my email address is eharris@effingham.k12.ga.us . I have put together a web page for the class at www.effinghamschools.com/sehs/eharris We are trying to come up with material for it. I am sure that I will be sending you things now that I have found your site.
Thanks
Eric Harris
South Effingham High School
Head Volleyball Coach
Assistant Guys Soccer Coach

Letter 9 – Love your site

Well, I was going through my bookmarks on my work computer today and
thought I would check the What’s that Bug site and lucky me, you’re
back! I thought the site had disappeared. I use your site occasionally
to look up insects, and may one day send a photo if I ever get stumped.
I occasionally id insects with my job, and insect id is also a great
hobby, keep up the great work!
Rene Simon,
Placer County Agriculture Department

Thank you for the nice letter Rene
We don’t plan on going anywhere. We have free web hosting and continue to exceed our monthly traffic quota about mid month. Since we do not have advertising, and don’t really want to pay additional money for a labor of love, we do disappear on occasion
.

Letter 10 – Fanmail or Hate Mail???

Your Site
Hello Bugman,
I don’t have a question (anymore) but I do have a comment: I HATE BUGS! I HATE your site! Upon researching a scary critter, I came across WTB. I have learned more about bugs in the last two days than I EVER cared to know! I have spent hours upon hours reading, reading, reading and being totally grossed out by the pics! I was up until 3 a.m. perusing your site, and started again first thing upon waking this morning, and I am STILL reading and retching 4 hours later. I can’t quit! I have apparently dredged up a here-to-fore unknown fascination with bugs (much to my disgust – and, um, did I just say “here-to-fore”?)….and my husband will now be asking why his meals aren’t being prepared, or why the laundry isn’t being washed – I haven’t even turned on the TV at all today!! Horror upon horror! I blame you for this terrible addiction! Woe is me…. A new found (creeped out) fan,
Beth
Charlotte, NC

Dear Beth,
What’s That Bug? is a bit like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. We are not certain if you letter is fanmail or hate mail, but it amuses us terribly. Not turning on the TV might not be such a bad thing, but starving your husband cannot be healthy for your marriage. Try whipping up a nice peach cobbler for your husband and he should forgive you.

Letter 11 – Truly Candid Girl wants more Diversity

I love your site…..but you have repeats
Your site is great and all, but there are the same bugs or the same spiders listed on the SAME page. Example: Nursery Web Spider, listed 4 times on spiders11.html I notice you do this a lot on many of your pages. Listing the same bug over and over.
A Truly Candid Girl (unsigned note with name taken from email)

Dear Truly Candid Girl,
We try to be a diverse as possible, but another important aspect of our site is to show current population trends as well as sighting locations. Readers ofen like to know that something seen in Maine might also be found in Georgia. We would strongly advise you not to visit our Luna Moth pages as it might drive you over the edge. We have two whole pages devoted to a single species, though related species from elsewhere in the world are also presented. We often get requests and suggestions on how to improve our site, but your letter leaves us totally baffled.

Update: (06/15/2008) A heartfelt thank-you, and a rebuttal!
Hello again.
First, I’d like to thank you for identifying the female Dobsonfly photo (on 6-12-08) that I sent in. Second, I find myself compelled to comment on the e-mail that ‘Truly Candid Girl’ sent to you on 6-14-08 about “repeats”. I’d like to say that looking at several pics of the same bugs helps me to identify them. One pic cannot possibly show all the different sides, angles, sizes, and colors of a particular bug. I think “repeats” are necessary if you truly want to learn about a bug! And last, I LOVE your site! I have always been the type of girl that highly disliked bugs, and when I would see one, I’d say “Eww, bug!” and squash it if possible. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve fallen in love with bugs, but this site has evoked a curiosity in me. Every time I see a bug that I’m not familiar with, I want to know what it is, and I always come to this site. It’s a much better alternative to swatting, squishing, or running! Thank you so much for helping me to overcome my fear bit-by-bit, and keep up the good work!
Heather P

Update: Truly Candid Girl writes back(06/16/2008)
I just think it should be a little more organized. I know a lot of people come to your site to found out what a bug is and they don’t know the name of it. Also, it’s fine if you have the same species but label the link “Luna Moth” so people know the WHOLE page is just that. When you have the links that is just the general name “spider” “spider 2” “spider 3” and then on those pages have the SAME spider listed on all 3 pages, it’s a little annoying. Put all that species on ONE page. I am just saying, it is easier for your visitors to found out what they are looking for. Just an idea and I think it’s a good one.

Update: Truly Candid Girls starts NAGGING
I really don’t understand why you posted the first email I sent and not the one that I sent explaining what I meant about my idea. I have a good idea. And since I wrote back again to your response, I should think the first one should be removed from the site, or this follow up email should be posted, explaining what I meant.

Ed. Comment: (06/17/2008)
We just cannot bring ourselves to continue a dialog with a Truly Candid Girl. While her first email bugged us, the subsequent naggings and demands are making us angry. Totally reorganizing our website to please one reader is just not feasible. We know we are disorganized, however, our postings do run chronologically, and the word logic is built right in.

Letter 12 – Sharing our World View with a Loyal Reader

Daniel: about the red legged purse spider
Hi Daniel,
I continue to very much enjoy Whats that bug?, even though you don’t hear from me as often. I wanted to say that I write on Wikipedia, (mostly on mollusks) so if there is a problem with the info they are quoting from WTB about the red-legged purse spider, do let me know and I will fix it. Very best wishes to you!
Susan

Hi Susan, We do try to do our research on What’s That Bug? My comment has more to do with the fact that we are supporting our own information with information from Wikipedia, but we noticed that Wikipedia is citing us, meaning that we are citing ourselves. Just an amusing observation. To the best of my knowledge, it is correct. Thanks
Daniel

Oh, I see! Sorry I misunderstood… Always nice to hear from you, Daniel, thanks. You are doing really great with WTB, congratulations. Also you are really getting through to people and changing attitudes slowly but surely.
Susan

hi again Susan,
Our goal is to conquer global warming, and we feel that this needs to begin on a microcosmic level. Awareness of personal space is a good beginning to reducing each person’s carbon footprint on the planet. have a great day.

Letter 13 – We are not in competition with BugGuide. Rather, we have forged something of an Alliance.

love letter to the bugpeople
Hello there, I can’t even tell you how many bugs I’ve identified from your site. I prefer it to bugguide because I learn so much more while I’m searching for what I’m really looking for. I end up seeing some other interesting things and learning about them and soon enough (sometimes) I run into that very insect/arachnid. Thank you, thank you! For instance, this morning I was trying to ID what turned out to be a Giant Ichneumon and I ran across another photo which besides a wasp contained Cerambycid Beetle larva which I had run into last winter and completely misidentified as mud dauber larva. I love your site. Thank you so much. I know you must be swamped, so don’t feel it’s necessary to reply. Thanks again
Marielle

Dear Marielle,
Your letter put us in a very good mood today. We love hearing that our tangled method or archiving has led to identifications of some of your previous encounters, albeit through a circuitous route. We are huge fans of BugGuide and are in awe at the site’s organization, but slobs that we are here at What’s That Bug?, we doubt our own archives will ever be quite as tidy.

Letter 14 – Insect Enthusiast turned Professional Photographer

For the love of bugs.
Greetings!
Your site is one of the most enjoyable places I find myself coming back to over and over again. As a bug lover from the time I could stand on two feet, I have marveled at the incredible shapes, sizes and color variations of nature’s most abundant, yet often maligned creatures, the insects. As an adult, I continue to be awed by new discoveries, and find that your superb website brings an intelligent option to those who might otherwise have simply ignored or eradicated life forms they previously misunderstood. Growing up in New York City, my parents encouraged me to study insect life to a point that I joined a club of young entomologists which met monthly at The American Museum of Natural History, in Manhattan. That was many years ago, though my membership took me on some amazing summer field trips to places like Arizona, Florida, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and even Trinidad, in search of insects and their relatives. To this day I think of how very lucky I was, especially to have had parents like mine, who paid my way to go. After my teen years, which consisted of collecting and mounting insects, as was the method of preserving them to teach others, I began to see the light. That light was the one that was necessary to capture insects on film. With my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, I began trying to photograph my insect specimens on pins. Soon afterwards, on my first overseas trip, to visit an insect collector pen pal in Czechoslovakia, I purchased a 35mm SLR camera capable of taking macro photos. At age eighteen I began photographing every insect I could find, realizing that this was the way I wanted to remember these incredible creatures I came upon, without ever again doing harm to them. Today, I am a professional photographer, due to my love of insects. I travel throughout upstate New York, where I now reside, giving upwards of 100 slide lectures per year, about all sorts of wildlife that I have accumulated in photographs , over a span of three decades. My programs are illustrated with everything from mice to black bears, but when I include an insect close-up, as I often do, I always stress the importance of these basic building blocks of our natural world. Without the little things, there would not be the bigger things, like us. Once again, thanks for bringing awareness to the masses, of our wonderful world of invertebrates. “Everything you wanted to know about insects, but were afraid to ask”, might be another name for your site, although What’s that bug works great. Dr. Ruth would be impressed! Yours truly,
Gerry Lemmo

Hi Gerry,
What a fabulous letter for us to read so early in the morning. Your success story is wonderful. We are posting your letter to our fanmail page where we put general letters we love that are not accompanied by photos. You sound exactly like the type of person we would love to have on our professional advisory board at the photography department at Los Angeles City College.

Letter 15 – We assist employee at a Nature Preserve

Don’t want to ask, want to say…..
THANK YOU – for your awesome website, and the wealth of info – I work for a Park/Nature Preserve in Frankfort, KY – finding your site has made my job 10x easier – and more fun! Only problem is – I can’t quit scrolling……….Keep up the good work,
Debbie Bramlage

Letter 16 – Pop Culture Alternative Insect Identification Website for the Layman

just a little fan mail, for now
I am the kind of person who, when I find a bug in my house, scours the internet for hours, looking for the animal in question. But the Internet, with regard to bugs, is good at identifying a handful of nasty pests (roaches, bedbugs, ants, etc.), and good at providing giant webs of super-scientific information that are impossible for a layman to navigate. Your site is, therefore, a revelation, and totally a thrill. It is also a public service, for both the human and insect publics. In the past hour, for example, I have gone from thinking I had silverfish to knowing I have house centipedes (and wishing I hadn’t squashed one), and from thinking I might maybe have bedbugs (sort of, though I don’t have a big bite problem, which confused me, but now makes sense) to thinking I probably have carpet beetles. I wish that instead of bringing my yogurt container full of dead bugs – which I keep in the freezer – to the exterminator for inspection, I had taken pictures and sent them to you. I will do this from now on, though I don’t have a good digital camera. In any case, this is one of the best sites I’ve seen on the internet, and I will be a frequent visitor and sometime user from here on out, till the internet stops working (and the bugs keep on keeping on). Many thanks,
Judd

Hi Judd,
Thank you so much for your thoughful letter. We haven’t posted a letter to our fanmail page in over a month. That is strictly for letters about insects generally and without accompanying images. We have always though of ourselves as a pop culture alternative to the heavily scientific insect sites. We have art degrees, and do not have backgrounds in science, but there is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet if one knows how to search effectively.

Letter 17 – Holistic Viewpoint

Fan mail
I have a desk job and one of the highlights of my day as a receptionist is checking out for new bugs on your webpage. I used to have a severe arachnophobia but since learning about spiders and looking at the pictures of them on your webpage I have become tolerant of them. I no longer squash them when they wander near me. As I work in a holistic health care office, often I have patients complain about a supplement “its too big for me to swallow” or “I don’t want to eat kale it’s gross” or even “I hate fish” what frustrates me about these statements is that what is being prescribed is necessary for the body to work in unison with it’s organs and where I am going with this is I notice on your page often people ask, “will it hurt me?” and I am in awe of your patience with these people. Earth needs everyone of these insects, no matter how frightening to function and I find that question so ignorant, instead of being concerned with the dust mites, be concerned with the amount of bees disappearing or the amount of creatures displaced by our need to expand into their homes to build more homes and businesses. Here I am rambling when I just wanted to drop a note to say “I love your webpage!”.
Thanks,
Amanda from Canada

Letter 18 – Bug Love Poster

Bug Love
Hi Guys…Love your site! Showed it to my 17 year old who is thinking about art school for college to show him how an art degree can parlay into anything you want as long as you are passionate about it! He’s 17, but I think he was impressed, but who knows, he is 17!!! I wanted to forward a copy of a poster that my friend Rick and I made featuring bug love based on my photos. We thought up the idea one day at the beach after way too much beer and finally got it together after about 3 years of “talking about it”. So, without a doubt, we will have sunk some hard earned money into this poster with no real desire to make any money, and of course no real chance, but at least we hope to have some fun at it!!! And we are donating a portion of the proceeds (yeah right, like there will be any!) to insect conservation, maybe the Xerces Foundation or NABA or some such entity….I guess once we actually make some money we can figure out where to send it… So I know you guys are incredibly busy starting school etc… (my wife teaches too and September is insane!) but I wanted to see if we could chat about featuring the poster on your website. I really think your viewers might enjoy it and we can make some kind of arrangement so that you get the benefit as well of any sales. But I do want to stress that Rick and I are not really looking to make money on this only to have fun and hopefully not to lose the money we have already put into it! I think the poster is perfect for your website! I’d love to send you a hard copy, or if you want I can send you 25 or so to try out and see what happens, I just need a mailing address. The poster is printed on high quality stock and is 18″ x 24″ . Well, I hope reading this wasnt as painful as some freshman essay on “what I did for my summer”! ps….since you guys are obviously bug freaks, you may have seen some stories about my research with my colleagues at Rutgers and Princeton on strapping tiny radio transmitters on Anax junius and following them in migration…I’m a bug freak too! Anyway, I hope to hear from you, feel free to reach out for me via email…
Dave

Letter 19 – Praise from Georgia in New York!!!!

Thank you
Hello, I have a spider and am so delighted – a teensy Jumping one. I am enjoying him/her even more having discovered your site. I live in NYC (an art person – your “About WTB” photo is fabulous) and your site allows me to live vicariously elsewhere, through people’s insect stories, in places that are not so perversely devoid of nature (roaches, house centipedes and real-estate investors don’t do it for me). I grew up in Oregon, living with/learning about/deeply respecting all forms of nature, including insects, except mosquitos (my father is an acarologist – GW Krantz). So I look at your site every day and it brings me such unadulterated joy (including, needless to say, endless bursts of laughter). One more thing. Tears come to my eyes when I read about people who have come to their senses about their senseless slaughter of harmless/indeed beneficial critters. You are doing a great thing, and through such a beautifully ordinary mode of exchange (I use the word “ordinary” with the utmost respect – just casually talking to people about stuff that is actually important – no hype, no in-your-face, no bs, no Hollywood – wow, a jaded NY’er speaks). Anyway, thank you sincerely from the core of my soul. Evidently-in-parenthetical-remark-mode,
Georgia
Ps. After finishing this note I found my little spider in the toilet. Happily he/she is fine.

Letter 20 – Moths easily located

Awesome!
Hey bugman, just wanted to drop a line saying what an awesome site Whats That Bug is! I found you guys while trying to ID the Wood Nymph moth…funny thing was that the picture I found first of it described it exactly as I had thought of it….bird poop. Anyway, since then I have been using your site to help me ID all kinds of moths, and you haven’t failed me yet. I never realised how awesome moths are, and how varied and beautiful they are. I’m trying to get a good macro lens for my camera, so I can send you some shots of some of the odder ones I find. I was taking some with my digital camera, but they weren’t very good, and in most cases you already had excellent pictures of the same moth. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for all the work you must do to keep this site as excellent as it is, keep up the great work!
Ryan

Letter 21 – War of the Sexes

thanks & love the site
I came across your site while trying to settle an argument between me and my boyfriend. He said the red velvet ant we saw was a fire ant, I, having lived in an area in southern arkansas, know exactly what a fire ant is and proceded to tell him. He was sure he was right…as all men are…so i of course went to the computer and proved him wrong. Thanks for the help with that..score one for the ladies. While i was here i got tangled up in your wonderfull insect world and stayed for over an hour looking and reading. Great website…keep up the good work. i plan on showing this site to my children who are like me, terrified of insects. Somehow having this knowledge has helped me understand the critters a little more. Thanks again
Carla Knapp
Ozark Mountains, Arkansas

Letter 22 – Home-Schooling Mom is Thankful

Not a ? BUT a Thanks
This is a really nice site. I am a homeschool mom and my children and I are fasinated by creepy crawlies so when we found a mass of Millepeds we wanted to know what for sure they were. After a short search we found your site and imeadiately found the answer to our question. I will be making your site a perminate tool of teaching in our home. I also forwarded your site to many of my homeschool freinds it will be a great benifit to us. AND who knows as curoius as my children are I bet it will not be long before we come up with a bug we can not ID with out your help. A few years ago when we moved to this area (middle of Iowa) I found Morman crickets and not recognizing them took them to freinds at Iowa State University for ID. Eventually finding out that these crickets are not normally found East of Nebraska so that was really fun. We still frequently see them in the fall when there is not drought conditions. In our area we also see large praying manits, walking sticks of serveral kinds and LARGE black millipeds here NONE of which I had encountered growing up in Southern Iowa. Its been fun learning about these bugs. Oh and the huge wolf spiders we grow here DONT entertain us as much but we tolerate them. 🙂 Happy bug hunting and thanks for your incredible site.
Michele Kalsem

A Reader Comments (07/08/2008)
NOT A ?, COMMENT ON OLD POST-grammar hound
Hey Bugman,
Don’t want to waste your time on something non-bug related, but in perusing your old fanmail posts I ran across one that a homeschooling mother sent to you and you posted on 5/2/06. Sorry to say, but I’m afraid that her children would be better off in public school with the egregious amount of spelling errors there are in her email to you. It continues to astound me how many people think their children are better off at home with only their ignorant parents as teachers. Even a public school grammar teacher would be better than learning grammar from her! Your grammar, however, is usually quite excellent!! Thanks again for the great site. And let me know if you ever need any editing work done. Thanks,
Amy in Rockford, IL

Letter 23 – MFA Degrees

Credentials
Hi there.
I have enjoyed your site very much. Here is my problem. I am a grad student in education at East Stroudsburg U. and I would like to cite What’s That Bug as a resource for a project. I can’t seem to find any infomration on who you guys are, and how you know so much about bugs. I’m not asking for names and addresses, obviously, just something I can include in my paper? Please? BTW, the homebody site and knitting site are cool too.
Thanks!
Sue Chew

Hi Sue,
Lisa Anne and Daniel both have Master of Fine Arts degrees from Art Center College of Design. Daniel is the Chairman of Media Arts at Los Angeles City College. Lisa Anne and Daniel both teach Photography at Los Angeles City College. Daniel teaches Design 1 for Film and Advertising at Art Center College of Design. Lisa Anne teaches Photography at University of Southern California. The truth is, the site is an art project.

Letter 24 – A very sweet letter

Finally!!
Finally!!! A website that is easy to navigate and find the answers to all the bug questions our there. I stumbled onto your website when trying to identify a bug that my co-worker asked me to smash (I chose to catch and release). I then found your website through ask.com and, it was a solpugid. Intrigued I started to look through the many pictures and letters on your site and was ecstatic to find a picture of a fire beetle. Aka; clicker bug at my home. I am finally able to show people what I am talking about as they look at me like I am crazy when I try to describe it. Thank you again for this wonderful resource. My children are going to love it (future entomologists I think)
Kim Rios

Hi Kim,
Thanks for your sweet letter. It is not often people find our website easy to navigate.

Letter 25 – Lecture at the Getty: Maria Sibylla Merian

fanmail
Daniel,
Now that I am back in New Hampshire, I am still basking in the memory of my trip to California. On July 18, when I checked your website to research a Fritillary butterfly and send you a picture to confirm it, I saw your announcement that you were giving a lecture on the Maria Sibylla Merian exhibit at the Getty Museum in LA on July 25. What a great coincidence that I was flying to Los Angeles on July 22 to visit my daughter and son-in-law. I was delighted that you answered my email, and told me to introduce myself if I came to the Getty lecture. You know the rest of the story. They brought me to the Getty so we could attend your lecture. Wow!! What an exciting experience! Your “Point of View” lecture was most interesting–telling us about Merian’s life in the 1600’s, and her beautiful watercolors of insects and flowers–as we walked through the exhibit. As you said: “It was beautiful and well worth seeing.” We had never been to the Getty before so I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to see it too. We went back a second time to see more. And, of course, I was lucky enough to meet the “bugman,” and to top it off, you were kind enough to have your photo taken with me.
Your faithful fan, Mary Goode
Hillsborough, NH

Hi Mary,
It was so wonderful meeting you and your family. The Merian lecture was one of my best experiences this summer, and I am thrilled that you enjoyed it. Whenever I am asked how the lecture went, I launch into the account of answering your letter and meeting you. It reinforces our claim that What’s That Bug? is trying to develop a global sense of community. Please continue to write when you have interesting new photos or just for the sake of writing.
Daniel

Letter 26 – What’s That Bug? being used to identify specimens in Maria Sibylla Merian illustrations!!!

unidentified Caterpillars
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
regularly I take a look at your web site. I myself am a biologist from Germany. At the moment I am identifiying caterpillars and moth prints for a reprint of Maria Sibylla Merians book Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (1705) published by TASCHEN VERLAG Köln (probably 2008/2009). Because there are still a lot of unidentified moths and caterpillars in her images – although a lot of entomologists like in 1982 William Stearn (BM London) or recently (2008) Sandrine Ulenberg, an entomologist from Amsterdam, determined the depictions of insects before – I became engaged in it. With the help of your page whatsthatbug?, I managed to identify some (not all) of the unidentified caterpillars and moth-species in Merians book. Thank you!
The other information is: I found an interesting web site in which a huge larviform beetle image is seen, which you didnt identify up to now. I´ll send it. It is not a huge caterpillar but a beetle, which you have documented several times in the past. I hope I could help you. Yours sincerely
Katharina Schmidt-Loske, Bremen
I am sure you know the huge exhibition on “M.S. Merian and her daughters”, now at the Paul Ghetty Museum. Don´t you?

Hi Katharina,
Please let us know the date and page on our website when you provide the larviform beetle identification. I will be doing a lecture in conjunction with the Merian exhibit this month. I am copying Stephanie Schrader, the curator of the show on this email. I eagerly await any information you can provide.
Daniel Marlos

Letter 27 – Comment

(05/09/2008) Job well done! 🙂
Dear Daniel & Lisa Anne,
I’m a freaquent reader of your site since I’ve come accross it some months ago. Even though I’ve never submitted to your website, I find it very interesting and informative. I must admit I was horrified to come accross your Nasty Reader Awards tonight however and had to speak up. To think people still behave this way is absolutely unthinkable. They think nothing of sending such insulting e-mails and have no patience what-so-ever without even knowing who they’re speaking to. Thinking since they don’t know you and will never have to face you, then there’s no consequence or reason to feel any remorse for their rude behavior! It’s embarrassing. So I wanted to let you ladies know how much I appreciate your hard work and devotion to your site and your fans. Even though you have such demandig carreers (which I’m sure take up most of your time to begin with) you still find time for your loyal (and not so loyal) fans. Well done ladies! Keep up the good work!
Val

Thank your for your thoughtful letter Val, but the last we checked, Daniel was still a man. Your theory of face to face confrontation stretches much wider than just the internet. We have long believed that people feel isolated while driving their motor vehicles, and this isolation contributes to road rage. We personally always seek eye contact when attempting to change lanes in a difficult traffic snarl since many drivers tend to ignore a turn signal, but will rarely ignore a face with a pointing finger. Modern day warfare is another excellent example of what can happen when we lose touch of the fact that people are individuals.

Letter 28 – Another Satisfied Reader

Great website! I found a glow worm in my driveway tonight, and only figured out what it was through your page. I had only heard of them in my childhood memories. What a thrill!
D. Scott

Letter 29 – great site!

Thanks! I really enjoyed that … your site was featured in Cool Tricks &
Trinkets Email newsletter today … and although I find bugs creepy, I was
irrationally drawn to check out your site … is that kind of like slowing
down for an accident? Maybe. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I think
your design is great, your writing excellent, and all around, a great site!
What the Internet is all about!
Thanks!!
Regards,
M.-J. Taylor

Dear M.-J.,
Thanks so much for the glowing compliments. We’re just two college teachers with too much time on our hands and an interest in putting information out into the world. Have a great day.
Daniel & Lisa Anne

Letter 30 – A No Nonsense Letter of Support

Hi Very Nice People Offering an Unbelievable Free Service,
I could just not resist writing the following note to the selfish, unaware morons who feature in your “nastiest person on the Internet” (aka “Nasty Reader Award” section). Thanks for posting their emails so that they cannot remain anonymous and get away with such anti-social behavior.
Kindest regards and gratitude,
Julie

Clueless Ingrates: your post to What’s That Bug (Jen Cifon, jonathanayres, Dawn)
Sat, Nov 8, 2008 at 9:16 AM
I can’t believe that you are such self-centered and apparently pretty stupid people to EXPECT someone who offers you a FREE service (at their own cost, in their own time) to give you what you want, when you want it. Just who handed you your sense of entitlement?
If you had a smidgen of intelligence, you’d be off to some professional entomologist at some high $$, and THEN demand service. Don’t be so stupid and selfish to look a gift horse in the mouth.
It is people like you that are screwing up our society in a big way. You make generous people like the owners of “What’s That Bug?” give up through frustration, and ruin it for everybody else.
You are each a clearly clueless ingrate, acting like the brats that you are, and deserve only the worst in life. Get out of other peoples lives. Idiots
JB

Hi JB,
Thanks so much for your support in the matter of our Nasty Reader Awards. We cannot believe the bile that some people spew because of the anonymity of the internet. We have been chastised by some people for our responses to the Nasty Readers, but we reserve the right to voice our opinion on our own website. Thanks again
Daniel

Letter 31 – Fanmail

May 27, 2009,
Hello-
I just have to tell you that I am in love with your website! I am an Archives Technician at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (http://nmhm.washingtondc.museum/) and during my graduate work at George Washington University I focused a lot of my attention on Integrated Pest Management. I am now the “bug girl” in my museum and I am always looking for new websites to assist me with identificaction. I hope to utilize your site more in the future!
Keep up the outstanding work, my bug-loving friends!
jasmine high

Letter 32 – Fanmail

What’s That Bug?
Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 6:06 PM
I love your site. I check it every day to for the new wonder of the day. Not only do you give information and ID, but the photos submitted by your other fans are usually fantastic! So much beauty out there. And yet there are people who hate “bugs.” I always refer them to your site and tell them to say they hate the beauty and variety of the insects they see
Mary Thorman

Letter 33 – Fanmail

love your site
Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 10:08 AM
I have used your website many times and really love to save bugs (and other small critters) from uninformed friends (and sometimes strangers) I found a robber fly today and used your website to identify it. My goal is to get some great pictures of the spiders that live on my back porch and send them in. thank you for your easily found information and helping to save bugs everywhere.
Morgan Hart

Letter 34 – A nice piece of fanmail

A Cool Site!
July 11, 2009
I wished to thank you for such an amazing and informative site; this from a non-bug lover who would have to honestly admit to some unnecessary carnage in her lifetime especially a creepy, crawly anything…
butterflies, (caterpillars of course) lady bugs (the only one loved out of the beetle family) and a few others I’ve never murdered, though lets not go into carpenter ants and the wealth of stories there!
Either way, I began to research a funny looking beetle I have come across both last summer and this summer and though I did have a beetle farm (I am an adult) last summer, I could not find one informative answer to what type it was. Having Googled ‘Common Household Canadian Bugs’ early this morning, your site came up and yet I do not see this beetle here either:( No worries I’ll take a photo at some point.
By providing such an incredible site however, you have educated my mind and I won’t be so quick to tissue squish a harmless insect the next time, afterall God created all even if some of what he created isn’t all that pretty! If bugs had a voice, I’m certain they’d agree:)
Lastly I was very much amused in finding your Nasty Reader Award in the uncaterogized section and laughed heartily over a response to someone named Johnathan by a ‘loyal bug fan,’ in the reason his pictures were not sent by e-mail of his bug, was simply because said bug ‘was up his arse.’ The explanation and vivid imagination with which one of your loyal bug fans winged into their response was delightful reading at best. Simply a great way to begin my day.
So again thank you and I have bookmarked your site to begin an adventure into learning while one day I may be able to report that ‘I am now A Reformed Bug Squisher.’

Dear Reformed Squisher,
Thanks for your awesome letter.  We are happy that we amused you.  We have been without a computer for two day and were unable to make any new posts, but our fast new computer is allowing us to expedite the response process.  Though we doubt we will ever be able to respond to all of our mail, at least we will be able to respond to more of it.  Your letter will have a permanent home on our fanmail page.

Letter 35 – Fanmail

June 15, 2009
Hello. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your site even though it made me feel itchy. :OP. It’s nice to see teachers spread thier knowledge. Lord knows we need more of that these days.
May

Letter 36 – Fanmail

Love This Site!!
July 27, 2009
Just wanted to say thanks for this AWESOME site! Everyday at work I spend all day (between customers of course) looking at and reading about the fascinating bugs on your website! My co-workers try to avoid my desk, complaining that the bug pics give them the heebeejeebees. I admit, I used to be one of them. That was, until my mom introduced me to WTB when she wanted a wasp identified. I have always been curious about creatures (big and small), and you have an endless supply of information to satiate my appetite! Now when I see a bug, instead of smashing it or ignoring it, I just try to figure out what it is! I can’t wait to visit my folks in Ohio next week, and share with them all my newly aqcuired knowledge any time we run across an interesting bug! Thanks for all that you do!
Cassie Shaw
Cleveland MS

Hi Cassie,
Thanks so much for your kind letter of support.

Letter 37 – Fanmail

August 4, 2009
I usually freak out at any bug (especially silverfish, they CREEP me out), but when I found your website I’m instead curious rather than afraid of many bugs. A few nights ago I killed a wasp-looking bug on my door and I felt so horrible after I killed it that I wanted to look it up and I came across your site. I found out that the “stinger” was probably a ovipository-thingie (sorry, I know very LITTLE about bugs so far).
Another example is that I found a wee bug on my wall that looked like a tick (which I HATE) but instead of killing it I looked it up and found out that it was a grain weevil, so I put it outside. I can’t believe how I was so scared of something harmless like that.
The point is, I have learned a lot from this website, and the entries here have probably saved many future bugs that I happen to encounter. So, thanks 🙂
By the way, I know now the names of my favorite bugs; like the majestic luna moth, or the fairy-like wooly aphids that were in our yard a couple months ago.
Thanks for your GREAT website. 🙂
Chris

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your nice complimentary letter.  We are happy to hear that you will be researching which of the insects are beneficial or benign before killing them, but we should probably clarify that some killings may be justified.  We do not hesitate to kill grain weevils or pantry beetles we find infesting our stored foods and if you found one grain weevil on your wall, chances are good they are consuming your food or your pet’s food somewhere in the house.  We also do not hesitate to squash Woolly Aphids that we find on our apple tree.  Though the adult winged aphids might look fairy-like, they can still cause problems in the garden if they get too plentiful.  As in the case so often in so many other areas, the key is in moderation and not extreme fanaticism.  We are happy that What’s That Bug? is contributing to both your education and your appreciation of the lower beasts.

Letter 38 – Fanmail and Nostalgia

Love the site! Made me feel like a kid again!
September 9, 2009
I just wanted to say what a pleasure it has been to peruse your site this evening…er, morning I guess it is now. I grew up on my grandparents’ truck-farm (purple-hull peas, okra, tomatoes, the whole nine yards) so I was naturally turned toward biology at an early age.

We had neither air-conditioning or cable TV so I spent most of my waking hours outside getting scratched, poisoned, and bitten by anything I could find to study in the woods, in the fields, in the barn, and around the two creeks that cut through the property.

I just wanted to say that it was nice to dig around your site and finally find out the true names of some of the “critters” that fascinated my grandfather and myself for so many years. Growing up the way I did led to a deep-seated love of nature and a longing to learn everything I could about it. By the time I was ten this had turned into a full blown obsession with biology….well, marine biology. I loved fish…sorry, bug-people. 🙂

Unfortunately life usually doesn’t work the way we’d like and I chose to give up the studies I had longed for in order to pursue a career I could actually pay bills and support a family with. Believe me, what I wanted to do as a MARBie is friendly to neither family or finances.

But I’ve allowed myself to get off track…so in the interest of limiting how much of your time I waste I’ll try to wrap this up. Long story short: I love your site. It allows me to step back into the days of laying in the grass, getting itchy from God-knows-what, watching bugs do their thing. My life has taken a more…normal turn than I would have ever thought and I’m afraid I have made myself forget most of the science I once loved in the interest of “making it” in everyday life. As hard as I try, however, I can’t seem to completely push out the memories of my first love.

I know now that I will never get that degree in marine biology that I can remember dreaming about before I even knew what it was called, but visiting this wonderful site gives this overweight soon-to-be cop a window into his past and a chance to interact with those of you who are lucky enough to be living the dream.

I salute you, bug people, and I hope you will receive the thanks of this former fish guy for taking time out of your lives to put together this site. I know there are more urgent things out there you could be doing.

I’m sorry this ran so long, despite my best efforts it appears I got into quite a babbling spree. I appreciate it if you’ve stuck with me this long. I just wanted to express how I felt about finding your site. Thank you again for putting it together. 🙂

—Kris
Vidor, TX

ps: I’m currently between jobs thanks to this great economy of ours and an exceedingly long application process at my next place of employment, so since my schedule is open I think I might take tomorrow to go roll around in some poisonous plants and try to take some pictures of some cool bugs. If I get anything good I might just throw them your way.

Letter 39 – Fanmail

Kudos
September 12, 2009
Love your site. Part of what makes the WWW so cool !!
Laughed till I cried at “Joanne Near Chicago’s” response to Jen Cifone’s blurry photo and nasty response to you.
Thank you for putting together something so fun AND edjucashunal!
Gary & DJ

Letter 40 – Fanmail

September 25, 2009
To answer your queston, quote: “Are we experts yet?” Heck yes! I’m a young teen and aspiring entomologist, and I love everything about bugs! And so, you can imagine my wonder and awe when I found a bug ID Page! Keep up the good work!
Steel

Letter 41 – Fanmail: Starting an Insect Collection

Hi. I’ve been browsing this site for a while, but this is my first post.
I teach a group of four-year-olds, and among the many, many things I find myself repeating daily is “Let it be! Insects are helpers!” with respect to whatever critter my kids have discovered, whether indoors or on the playground (of course, when something is discovered inside the classroom, we find a way to get it outside).
The children, of course, are fascinated by insects, and, while insects’ identities could be taught through photographs and books, to teach the children to appreciate and respect animals and their purposes is best reinforced in practice. That is, to tell a child that a spider is beneficial and to smash it in front of him is counterproductive.
Unnecessary carnage and a lost moment for education. Terrible shame.
However, because of the age of the children I teach and their tendency toward kinesthetic learning, we do have an insect collection in the room. I want to teach respect, not hypocrisy, so the insects pinned to the board were all found dead. When a child finds an empty exoskeleton or a fallen butterfly on the playground, we pin it to the board and talk about what it is and how it might have come to its current state. Then, of course, comes the “Insects help us” talk.
I try to balance respect for a child’s preferred method of study with respect for the insects themselves. This is why we have only pre-deceased findings in our collection, imperfect though they may be when they are found.
To rely on photographs alone is a difficult way to keep kids interested. They need to experience more than an image can allow. An insect, living or dead, that is in front of the children makes it relevant to them and gives them more patience to listen while we talk about that insect.
Occasionally, however, my philosophies are put to the test, as was the case the day I found an adult, female black widow spider scooting across the playground. I had to get her off the playground and far, far away from my class. There was a considerable amount of panicking on my part, but no one was harmed, and the children learned that, even though we shouldn’t hurt any minding its own business, there are some creatures that, when discovered, need to be reported to mom and dad.
shellyc

Hi shellyc,
Though your letter arrived as a comment on a previous posting regarding the merits of starting an insect collection, we felt it needed to stand alone as well and post to our homepage.  Thanks for your valuable perspective on this point.

Letter 42 – Fanmail

Very Entertained.
October 27, 2009
I know you guys get messages and comments all the time saying how wonderful your site is. But, I just wanted to add one more things to your list of comments. Your site is very entertaining to me. I cought myself staying up til 4 in the morning just looking at all of the different kinds of bugs you guys have posted. I know, I’m a nerd. I am just so creeped out yet intrigued by insects. Especially the spiders. I always see an interesting bug and try to stop and look at it but my husband doesn’t seem as entertained by it as me so I have to move along. Now that I have found your site I can look at bugs for hours on end. I also love it because I am a new mommy and every time I see a new bug in the house or around my newborn, I wonder what dangers it is bringing or if it is beneficial. You he lp those worries go away. Thanks and keep up the great work!
Amber suarez

Thanks for your sweet letter Amber.  We always like getting new fans.  Since we have no plans to disappear from the internet, when your child begins to grow, hopefully you will be able to use us as an educational tool.

How do I become a member?
I’m sure this question has a very obvious answer but how on earth do i become a member to this site? I have looked high n low but only found one place where it says log in but nothing about registering.. Do I have to make a donation to be a member? Thanks again for taking time to reply to my previous babble. 🙂
Amber

Hi Amber,
Our site does not have a membership.  Anyone may write in, but alas, we are unable to post every submission we receive.  We select letters at random, often based on the subject line of the email.  Our services are free to anyone, but again, sending in an identification request is no indication that you will receive a response.  Though we do have a donation option, this is entirely voluntary, and donating to the site is never a guarantee that your letter will be posted.  Since we are such a small operation, we cannot provide unlimited access.  Thanks again for your interest.

Letter 43 – Fanmail

Inspiring Site – just another fanmail
November 5, 2009
I’m still currently trudging my way through your gigantic archive and loving it. I was always a bug lover, but I’ve learned so much and been able to happily identify bugs in my area I’ve seen around (Including the sudden swam of Polkadot Wasp Moths and Oleander Caterpillars). I’ve also pleased to learn that many bugs I was afraid of are perfectly harmless (Mostly various wasp species.). Also while going through your site, I had a nerdy artist sort of epiphany: Insects are like living art. So many have such wonderful color schemes and designs. Even bugs with neutral colors can be incredibly striking. Ever since I’ve been making a collection of photos off your site for color scheme references in my own art. It’s wonderful that there are some very good professional and amateur photographe rs contributing with their photos. Anyway, thanks so much for providing this service and your own educating comments. I look forward to finishing your archives.
Regards,
Casey

Thanks for the sweet email Casey.

Letter 44 – Fanmail from the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum: Exploratory Conversation?
November 9, 2009
Hi,
I work at the Natural History Museum in Expo Park. I am managing a project through which the museum will create 3 acres of outdoor green space on the north side of our building. We are aiming to create a place for our visitors to engage with local, urban, nature, including (my favourite, and it seems your’s too) insects! I would love to chat with you more about this project and about What’s That Bug.
Lila Higgins

We will contact Lila as soon as we have a spare moment.

Update:  December 8, 2009
Yesterday, we had the long awaited telephone chat with Lila at the Natural History Museum.  We are very excited to possibly work with the Museum on the outdoor space that is being constructed on the North side of the campus.  We made it abundantly clear that we are clumsy amateurs, and not trained science professionals, but that characteristic is exactly what Lila believes the visitors to the Museum and the new outdoor space will find appealing.  The area at the Museum will be planted once the existing hardscaping is removed, and it is hoped that the green space will attract fauna (insects included) that thrive in the urban ecosystem of Los Angeles.  More and more attention needs to be placed on studying and trying to understand the creatures that live in our proximity, and there is just as much of a probability of discovering a species that is new to science in one’s own backyard as there is by making an expedition to the rain forest.  Chances are good that the discovery may not be grand or flashy, but it could have economic significance, be it positive or negative.  We are going to request that Lila provide a press release for the new space so that we can inform our readership.  We have many faithful local fans, and Los Angeles remains a viable tourist attraction to our readership from around the globe, and we will all be eagerly anticipating the improvements at the Natural History Museum.

Letter 45 – Fanmail from a satisfied reader

Thank You!
I just wanted to thank WTB for identifying a bug I had crawling up my bedroom wall about a month ago. It was a Western Conifer Seed Bug. After I knew what it was, I hopped onto WTB and found tons of useful info on my bug. Since I found him, I’ve kept him in a container (with plenty of airholes), and I’ve named him Axel. All he needs is water during the winter, and in the spring, I plan to release him on some conifer trees next to my house. Ever since finding the WTB page, I’ve been on here for 2-3 hours every day just looking at all the great pics of all the different bugs you have, I have to say that WTB is a truly amazing website and I cannot believe how much info you guys put out there. Thanks WTB, I am no longer a scaredy-cat about bugs! Thanks again for doing such a great job!
Jenn Kendall
West Brookfield, MA

Letter 46 – Fanmail

Thank you and best regards for 2010
Dear Bugman and all at WTB, thank you for the interesting updates over the past years. Wishing everyone the best for the holidays (vested interest to get more interesting updates when everyone is well). Cheers!
Melvin Poon

Letter 47 – Nuclear Bomb Needed to Eliminate Bugs in Yard

Help!
2005
I have these bugs that are invading my home! My husband and I find at LEAST 5 every morning. Eww! They are the “pincher bugs”;. Something else we’ve discovered in our house are these dark brown spiders that love to just hang out on the top of our ceiling. Our newly purchased home in Southern California is crawling with creatures who’ve roamed free in the unattended soil for 50 years. What is the best way to get rid of insects? We have some yellow jackets that fly around along with mosquitoes. In our ground though we have pincher bugs by the thousands and also pill bugs. We are in the process of ripping out plants, trees and shrubbery to replant the entire yard. How do we kill off all the insects!?  Any suggestions would be MOST appreciated!
Thank you!
Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,
Nothing short of a nuclear bomb will rid your property of all your dreaded insects, but considering the current political climate, you just might get your wish. In the event that that doesn’t happen, you just might have to learn to live together. We at What’s that Bug? do not advocate getting rid of all insects since we would be out of business.

A Reader Comments
(08/27/2005) Hi Daniel and Lisa Anne!
JAW DROP!!!!!
WOW!!!!!!!!!!
I just had to write you two, your site is the best bug site I have ever seen! Your main page helped me identify a bug that was posted at our forum, and I must admit that some of the pictures submitted to your site are so absolutely beautiful that I had to capture them for my screen saver! In exchange I wish to offer some photos of my own, taken in my yard in Santa Ana California. I have included 10 photos that I took with my digital camera, you may use them as you see fit I would also like to reply to Rebecca from Southern California who wishes to know how to get rid of all of her bugs, if a reply is allowed.
Hi Rebecca!
I live in Southern California too, and I have all the things you described in my yard as well. If they are getting into your house, then you probably have openings around windows and doors that should be attended to. You do not want to kill the bugs in your yard, they provide very necessary functions to keep your yard healthy. Ants are your cleaning crew, they dispose of dead things. Earthworms are what make the earth that your garden grows in, and their castings contain an enzyme that repels white flies. Wasps are your predators, they eat the caterpillars that eat your plants. Caterpillars are your butterflies and moths, and they pollinate your flowers so they bloom again next year. Robber flies are your wasp controllers, they keep wasp populations down. Potato bugs, pill bugs, earwigs and click beetles are your compost engineers, they recycle leaf litter and break
it down so the earthworms can turn it into healthy soil. Possums are your snail controllers. Garden snails are not native and have no other predator than possums here in California. Spiders are your general insect controllers, you should capture and take outside any that wander into your house. There are many other insects that you
will find in your yard as well, but they are all pretty harmless and will avoid you if you just give them time to move out of your way.
Your yard is its own ecosystem, with its own checks and balances. Learn to love your bugs, explore them, research them, discover the benefits they give to you and the beauty of your yard. If you get stung by a wasp or bee, or bitten by a mosquito, simply dissolve a real aspirin in your hand with a few drops of water and apply directly to the site, the pain and itch will be gone within a matter of seconds. If you want to help control your mosquitoes, simply place a container of water under a bush which is easily accessible to
you and leave it there, check it every day, when you see the larvae swimming around just dump the entire container of water on the ground. The larvae will die. Refill the container. Insure that there is no other standing water on your property. Keep an eye out for Black Widows, they are the only bugs in your yard that can actually harm you. Hope this helps 🙂
Sincerely, Cathy 🙂
Thank you Daniel and Lisa, for such a wonderful site! I have it bookmarked and will be back here often!

Letter 48 – Fanmail

Hello!
I just wanted to extend a thanks to all you who make “What’s That Bug” possible. It’s really an excellent site and I often find myself perusing it just to feed my amateur entomolgist’s appetite! I noticed the Nasty Reader’s Section you have and was both amazed by the breath-taking idiocy of some of the readers featured there and amused by your responses.
So thanks again, for all you hard work on an excellent site!
Nate McInnis

Hi Nate,
Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Letter 49 – Fanmail Par Excellance

site comment
March 1, 2010
site comment
just want to say i think the site is awsome. been usin it since i was 5 years old and i am 16 now. i recomend it to everybody.
josh smith

Wow Josh,
This is just about the best fanmail letter we have ever received.  You must have been one of our first readers back when we were a brand new presence on the internet.

Letter 50 – Fanmail

April 15, 2010
Great Job!
Wow guys! You have done an awesome job with the site! Can’t belive how much it has grown since you first started, and I asked for my first bug ID! I share this site with people who have kids interested in bugs, so they can learn more, and be less afraid of these critters.
Good job, keep it up!
Kaye

Letter 51 – Fanmail from a Faithful Fan

April 16, 2010
It IS wonderful to see how the site has grown but it’s darn near impossible to get a message through to Dan and Lisa, let alone a photo.  But I still love these guys!  I know they’re as busy as bees!
Joannne
Now in Romeoville IL, not Darien IL

Hi Joannne,
We see you have added an n to your name since the last time we wrote back to you.  We haven’t noticed any mail from you, but we don’t always read names in an effort to be more impartial when reading our mail.  Though much more would get answered if we hired staff, we like maintaining a personal touch with our responses.
Dear, dear Joannne,
We will never forget that “hornet’s nest” you stirred up a few years back with your wry comments.  As always, we love being a bit edgy and controversial, and even adult in our humor, but we strive to maintain public decorum and we always refrain from posting obscenities and foul language to our humble site, either from our own keyboards or those of the public.  Try resending that photo Joanne.

Thanks so much for remembering me, Dan!  I have left my partner of 18 years and am now living on my own in Romeoville, IL.  It’s for the best so don’t worry!
My best friend lives in Sheridan, IL and whilst staying with her the weekend I left my partner, I found this beautiful garden spider and her husband….sperm donor….whatever.  I will send three images on a separate email.
I am looking forward to a summer of new bugs in Sheridan, IL.  My friend out there and I have been buddies since 1977 so I know I’m welcome out there any time!
Much love,
Joanne (still 2 “n”s I think I was drinking…)

Letter 52 – Fanmail

note of thanks
May 12, 2010
Thank you for providing this great resource! After moving to Gainesville FL I was overwhelmed and a bit terrified by the variety of ‘bug’ life outside (and sometimes inside). After discovering your site I’ve turned every encounter into an identification game. Even after five years I’m still finding new creatures. Just yesterday my house was covered in Red Shouldered Bugs. Funny little things. Anyway, thank you! I’ve pre-ordered your book on amazon and can’t wait for it to be released.
Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for your kind email.  We just returned from five days in Ohio and we have 100s of emails, and we are only going to be able to answer and post a few, and your fanmail letter is the first.

Letter 53 – Fanmail

Sent a donation!
May 23, 2010
Dear WTB,
I identified “my bug” of interest,thank to your photos,and descriptions.Also I was looking it up,because I had a bit of insomnia last night,since a loved one is in the hospital ( gonna be fine) but anyway,after fulfilling all my bugelicious curiosity,I am not quite sleepy..MUCH better than a sleeping pill. Thanks!
OH,and my critter was a snake bug! Our little vineyard welcomes them!
Leslie in Penn Valley,Ca 95946

Hi Leslie,
We are happy the site was helpful and that things are well with your ailing relative.  Thanks for your kind donation.

Letter 54 – Fanmail

Love the new format!
July 6, 2010
I love the new format!!! I was not a fan of the last changes that were made, but the new changes are fantastic! Great Job!
inlovewithbugs

Letter 55 – Fanmail: WTB? benefits youngster with Autism

fanmail from a thankful sister
July 6, 2010
Dear Bugman,
I wanted to express how your site and the work you do has affected my life in such a personal way. My little brother, Brian, was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. He’s had a lot of trouble learning to use language and doesn’t really engage with other people. I’m his sister and around him all the time, and he used to hardly ever connect with me. About a year ago, though, I started researching because of my own interest in insects, and I started bringing bugs I caught into the house in small cages during the day to watch them. Brian was aware of them right away and kept asking me what different bugs I caught were, and he got really frustrated when I didn’t know. When I stumbled across your site one night, I was so happy it was easy to use to try to identify bugs, had so many resources, and, of course, let me send in pictures if I couldn’t figure one out for myself. Since then, Brian and I have been able to catch bugs together and find out what they are. He l oves it. He’s talked to me more in the past year than he has in his whole life. He sometimes tells his teacher about bugs he finds and takes worms off the sidewalk to put them in the grass (his first sign of empathy, I think). These are h-u-g-e steps for him. Even his psychologist is blown away by the changes he’s experienced recently.
I wanted to express my gratitude for the work you do and how important it is for me and my family.
Jenny
the picture is Brian at a butterfly habitat near our home

Brian with Gulf Fritillary and Morpho

Dear Jenny,
This might be the only time in the entire time we have been posting letters that we are totally without words of comment.  Your letter made our day.

Letter 56 – Fanmail

Very pleased with the website!
July 19, 2010 9:17 pm
Thank you so much! I’m so pleased with your website, it’s opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know about certain insects which I was often surprised by, but now realise are benificial and/or harmless. I just recently got into studying bugs in what little spare time I have between writing electronic music and working. This website has helped me very much in identifying insects I have never seen before in my area (lots of interesting new insects popping up in Ontario lately that I cannot describe). If I happen to snap some photos of insects that baffle me (some husks and sheddings I have found in the northern parts of Ontario that I have never encountered before especially) I will let you know first hand and hopefully the team here can help us figure out what’s with the crazy and interesting new species I have never encountered before!
Thank you so much again,
yours, Cody J.

Thanks so much for your kind letter Cody.

Letter 57 – Fanmail

Your wonderful website assists in Blister Beetle “bite” in Arizona
July 25, 2010 1:42 am
Hi Folks,
Love your website and just registered. As soon as I can find my darned Visa, I will be sending along a donation; I truly appreciate your labor of love and use your site frequently. Tonight, I was “bitten” by a Blister Beetle, which I identified due to your website. Of course, I wasn’t bitten; Mr. Beetle was in my shirt (I had just taken it off the clothesline) and laid down on it…CRUNCH! Then, burning and swelling. I washed the area with soap, took a Benedryl, applied a cold compress over Neosporin on my back. There was no itching, but certainly a burning feeling, and I became very worried. The bug (crushed) was still identifiable with the help from your site. Then I googled Arizona Blister Beetle and found from other sites I was not “bitten”. The substance in the joints of the bug had caused a chemical reaction on skin that can result in blistering and just the reactions I experienced. I also found I had already done all the right things. But I wouldn’t have known where to
begin identification without your website. A big thanks, watch for my grateful donation!
elliemay

Dear elliemay,
Thanks for letting us know that we have been helpful.  We hope you recover quickly from your encounter with the Blister Beetle.

Letter 58 – Fanmail

Thank you!
August 3, 2010 10:23 pm
I’ve been faithfully reading every new entry on WTB, and I can’t help but feel happy knowing that you’ve created an avenue for the public’s questions about the little six-legged creatures they find. You have a wonderful way of encouraging the acceptance and enjoyment of the arthropod world, and I wish you best of luck on any future endeavors.
Thanks again!
Megan Hussey

Hi Megan,
Your email really cheered us up.

Letter 59 – Fanmail

“Pre-order The Curious World of Bugs”
August 4, 2010
I pre Ordered my copy on Amazon today! I can’t wait to get it.

I am actually really excited to get an early copy in my hot little hands.  Thanks for your enthusiasm.
Daniel

I work for a pest control company and I am making the owners buy a copy for our front lobby too. We help people keep destructive pests out of their homes, but we also teach people about beneficial insects and integrated pest management. We are all excited to get the book! My personal copy will be shared with my 7 year old daughter who shares my fascination with all creatures great and small.

Letter 60 – Fabulous Fanmail

I’m scary stalker obsessed with your site
August 14, 2010 4:18 pm
Realy, I can’t stop.  I work outdoors at a zoo in Texas, and I see bugs- LOTS of bugs- every day.  And I admit, I am now a reformed Destroyer of Creepy Crawlies.  Ever since stumbling on this site, I now study the bug instead of squashing it.  It’s good for the bug, good for the environment, and honestly that Cheeto’s crunch always gave me the willies.  Any time a bug would get near me, which happens daily, I would flail and run and bat at it- trying to get away. Then it would feel my angry shoe wrath-  But now I want to get closer to see if I recognize it from your site.  Thank Goodness I now know the Robber fly.  Those little boogers were scary until I found out more about them.  I’m also learning the differences between all the wasps out here, and the wasp look-a-likes.  A giant cicada-killer is who led me to this site originally.  Well, it didn’t phsycially lead me here- that would be weird, but after I saw that fatty flying around I was convinced in B-movie mutated giant
wasps trying to take over the world and HAD to find out what was going on.  Now I’m learning all about the insects and spiders.  A real testament to your site is when I DIDN’T freak out after walking head first into a spider’s web.  I thought I got most of the sticky stuff off me, but a guest at the zoo was walking towards me, pointing and screaming.  I’m thinking “Crud! There’s a lion behind me, isn’t there?”  Nope.  Giant mammoth spider stuck in my hair.  I’ll admit I did a little squealing and dancing, and he was yo-yo’ed a bit from my hand with his sticky string.  But I didn’t squash him.  I looked him up.  He was a big ol’ grey garden orb weaver.  I admit, I’d like him a lot better if he wasn’t in my hair, but I’m loving finding these bugs and looking them up on your site, and recognizing the bugs out here.  There’s one gigantic flying white and black spotty beetle out here, that one day I will get a picture of to send you. I’m dying to find out what that bohemoth is.
Anyway, my point is, thanks so much for the site.  I’m having so mu
ch fun with it, and it’s been so useful.  Your site realy does convert avid smooshers into “live and let bee” people.  (bee… get it?)  Also, it’s the one site I can look up at work and not have to hover the mouse over the “x” button in case the boss walks up!  (I’m not a pervert or anything. I just really like sites where idiots hurt themselves).  Keep up the good work!
Reformed Bug Squisher

Dear Reformed Bug Squisher,
Your letter is awesome.  It is one of the best fanmail letters we have ever received.  We want to stop posting for the evening just so your letter will stay at the top of our homepage for a spell.  Try looking up Cottonwood Borer to see if that is your black and white beetle.

Thanks so much!  I’m glad you liked my letter because now I tell people I’m a published author.  And then I try to start discussions where I can name drop the ovispositer, just because it’s a new big word and I sound super smart when I talk about it.  As soon as I find my camera charger I am going to document my decent into the dangerous world of venom.  We have daddy longlegs (of the harvestman variety, now I know, thanks to your site) ALL over the zoo, and the myth prevails here that they are indeed the “most venomous spider known to man, but thier teeth are too small to penetrate human skin”.  Now, you and I know this is not true.  And the harvestman isn’t even a spider, although it is an arachnid. (See?  I look like I know what I’m talking about.  This is awesome).  So I’m on a photo safari to royally tick off a daddy longlegs, have him bite me, and then NOT die, just so I can show my stubborn and WRONG co-workers that I am right, and they are wrong.  So take THAT in the ovipositer!

Update
Forgot to tell you in my reply that the big scary white and black beetle that facinates me so is indeed a cottonwood borer, I think.  From what I’ve read, they get to be up to 1 1/2 inches, and the one that follows me around seems bigger.  Maybe I found the biggest one in the world and should get a prize or something.  Or maybe the mutant freaks really ARE taking over… just as I suspected.
And I also realized it’s a bit ironic to try to impress people with my new giant brain knowledge, using big words like OVIPOSITOR, when I misspell that dang thing all over the place.  Me smart. Give cookie.
Gwen

 

Letter 61 – Fanmail

Just a quick thank you
September 23, 2010 1:09 am
I know you probably get this all the time, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to thank you for your wonderful open minded opinion of nature. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been rescuing little spiders from the sink or carrying a crane fly outside, because they’re harmless, and I’m so sick of people accusing them of biting.
I’ve tried very vigilantly to convince people that there’s no life without purpose, and every creature has it’s place big or small, that each one should be treated with respect. The amount of ignorance laced through the society we humans created is distressing. It’s just so awesome to find another person able to see past that. 🙂 Thanks for all your hard work getting the message across!
Signature: Desiree Hill

Letter 62 – Fanmail

Nasty reader award
Location: Maryland
October 26, 2010 12:34 am
Love, love, love your site. I find it very informative and am pleased to say that I now think before I squish. (I admit, though, that cockroaches are squished without a second thought. Fortunately I haven’t had roaches to squish since I lived in that one questionable apartment…) anyway, I wanted to say kudos to you for having the ”Nasty Reader Award” links. Too often the people who write nasty letters get no comeuppance (sp?) and it gives me great satisfaction to see that at least a few of these horrible people face some kind of recourse. Keep up the great work, both with the bugs and the karma. (PS- I included the pic of me because for some reason the site wouldn’t let me send this w/out a pic. Please don’t post it! Thanks!)
Signature: Faithful reader in Maryland

Dear Faithful reader in Maryland,
Thank you for your nice letter.  We are pleased to hear that our website has contributed toward your appreciation of and tolerance for the lower beasts.  We admit that we ourselves have very little tolerance for certain creatures, like the Argentine Ants that have colonized Southern California.  While we will tolerate them in the garden, they are dispatched without mercy should they happen to invade the kitchen.  We are happy to honor your request not to publish the beguiling image of you dancing at what looks like a fun party because What’s That Bug? does not run a dating service and we imagine that we would be getting countless comments and requests from the eligible gentlemen among our readership if we were to run your photo.

Letter 63 – Fanmail, kind of

Ed Note November 1, 2010: We just discovered this blog posting, and though it is theoretically not a letter that was submitted to the website, Daniel was thrilled to read it.

My super last minute grainy sleepyhead SciFri post!
This week I went to a seminar given by a Wildlife Ecologist and Entomologist from the University of Delaware and before the seminar the campus bookstore had a booth set up selling his book and a few other books, one of those other books being The Curious World of Bugs by Daniel Marlos and though I NEVER pay full price for books (because I’m always buying them so if I always paid full price I would be super broke) I decided I had to have this book right then. I’m flying through it because it’s so interesting. I wasn’t all that interested in insects until I got my job at the entomology lab and now I think they are some of the coolest creatures ever, especially after learning more from this book. Maybe I’m a Wildlife Ecologist/Entomologist in the making…
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/scifri

Letter 64 – Fanmail

your site
November 3, 2010 10:55 am
This site is just amazing. I love the  many mantis pictures and .. well alll them Bugs.
I forge Bugs in a smithy (though i might try unicorns if I want money) and the pictures really really help me visualise these amazing creatures.
Thank you.
Signature: jack frost

Hi Jack,
Thanks for the compliment.  We wish you would send us a few photos of your sculptures.

Letter 65 – Fanmail

General Comment(aka “Fan Mail”)
December 5, 2010 6:56 pm
Hey what’s WTB? I just love the site. I’m on it for hours and hours and a time. Also love the new book. I got it a few weeks ago, and I read it when i was on bed rest from a surgery. Finally someone talks about feeding habits of fiery searcher ground beetles and bee robber flies. Hopefully I get into the UW of Madison entomology class next year(knock on wood). But I am only 15 years old so a UW class will kick me around a bit. Anyway I’ll wrap this up. I know you are busy so no need to response. Unless you would like to. Keep up the Great Work! ~ Alex G.
Signature: Alex G.

Hi Alex,
Thanks so much for your kind letter and Good luck getting into the UW Madison class.

Letter 66 – Curious World of Bugs Fanmail

the curious world of bugs
January 4, 2010
hi daniel,
just wanted to say that my husband gave me your book “The Curious World Of Bugs
for christmas. i was thrilled to receive your book and i am enjoying it immensely! i am very
happy you wrote the book. i so enjoy your perspective.
cheers,
venice kelly

Thanks for the positive feedback Venice.

Letter 67 – Fanmail and Request from BAMONA

identification help at BAMONA
Website: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org
February 10, 2011 7:17 pm
Hi folks,
Your site is great!  I coordinate Butterflies and Moths of North America, and I love what you do.  We have a tiny staff too (2 part-time) and it is a ton of work.  I know you must get loads of submissions here as well. If you ever want to point submitters to our site for identification help on those ones you don’t feature, feel free.  Submitters can upload a photo and other details, and a volunteer regional coordinator will ID their submission. We also would love it if you would point users to our site to share rare submissions like the Owl moth (2010/11/16/owl-moth-can-this-be-a-state-record-for-wisconsin/) because we store all these records and make them available to scientists. If you are not interested in pointing folks to our project, that’s okay too.
Cheers,
Kelly
Signature: Kelly Lotts

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for your email.  We will post your offer and request in the hopes that our readership will visit your site and provide contributions.  We believe that the normal ranges and migration patterns of many animal species (not just butterflies and moths) are changing, and that this is a symptom of a global shift that we probably cannot truly comprehend.

Letter 68 – A Reader states a Credo on Bugs

Bug/insect credo
Location: Bugs in theory
April 6, 2011 2:03 pm
Dear Bugman,
I absolutely love your site! Even most of the unnecessary carnage section. However, I’d like to share my credo. (I’m going to use the word ”bug” to describe both bugs and insects.)
1.) If I’m outside and a bug is over there and I’m over here, I don’t touch it. Live and let live. I might even watch it from afar.
2.) If a bug enters my home uninvited, I consider this home invasion and I act accordingly; the ”intruder” dies. I was raised in Idaho, the lovely potato state. Though the state’s motto should be ’shoot first, ask questions later’. I feel this way about all intruders big or small. In this instance we can say, ’Shoe first, ask questions later.’ I wouldn’t step in a badger’s hole and think it’s not going to attack me. That’s just silly, it’s protecting it’s space. I am just protecting mine.(Also, don’t tell me you don’t happily go around the house with the fly swatter in the summer because I won’t believe it! And mosquitoes…)
3.) If a bug happens to land/fly violently into my person, I consider this an assault and I’m going to defend myself against the attacking wild. I’m just an innocent by-standard (see number 1.) I’m not harming anything! If some thug came up to you with malicious intent, wouldn’t you try to defend yourself? Even if this person was only 3’4. Just because I’m bigger doesn’t make it O.K. to assault me. Period. It’s not my fault if the bug gets a boo-boo. That’s what happens when you mess with the big kids.
4.) Being a bug doesn’t mean being my enemy. Just as I allow friends into my home, I do allow known nice/beneficial bugs into my abode. I don’t kill butterflies. I don’t kill praying mantis. (And not because they are pretty either! Although maybe Zorak has something to do with it.) Fuzzy caterpillar? Come on, it’s fuzzy!! Lady bugs… Yeah, that’s all I can think of. Oh, Daddy Long Legs! Anyway, those buggies (and others!) get taken outside by my spouse. I don’t go tromping through the wilderness looking for bugs to fry with a magnifying glass, THAT is unnecessary.
Signed,
-M-
P.S. It’s natural to fear the unknown, so thanks for keeping this site up and running. Thank you for continuing to education about the harmless bugs and the not so harmless ones. It is appreciated. Please, go easy on us though.
Signature: Ride a pony bug man, not a high horse!

Zorak

Dear M,
Thank you for taking the time to write.  We hope Hanna-Barbera doesn’t come after us for copyright infringement.  We agree with you fully that it is natural to fear the unknown, and we hope our website helps to dispel some of that fear with regards to bugs.  For the record, we cannot tolerate Argentine Ants invading our offices, which they always seem to do after especially heavy rains and more frequently during the hot dry summer months in Los Angeles.  We routinely squish aphids and scale insects in the garden as well.

Letter 69 – Fanmail

no response needed
May 14, 2011 3:57 pm
I only recently found this site and i makes me feel alot better about being a bug person. there aren’t many people who appreciate those smaller creatures and often fear them. i was helping out at Outdoor School (a local outdoors education camp) in the water ecology section and half the kids had never even seen a mayfly before. But seeing their eyes light up when they learned to idenify a dragonfly nymph or what a stonefly was made up for it. Thank you for having this amazing website and thankyou to all you fellow bug lovers for helping educate those who don’t uderstand insects.
Signature: Bugbite

Dear Bugbite,
Thanks for your kind email.

Letter 70 – Fanmail

speaking engagement
Website: www.themermaid.com
June 1, 2011 12:06 am
Hello Daniel:
I attended your lecture at the Payne Foundation last Saturday and really enjoyed your presentation!!! I sat in the back next to Lily Singer.
I have a horticultural garden retreat in Topanga
called The Mermaid and do evening programs sometimes featuring speakers. i am passionate about butterflies and rear different native species on the site.
Would you be available for such a speaking event?  And if so please tell me how I go about making arrangements with you, cost, etc.
The Mermaid has a wonderful history — built as a country club in 1930, later to be coma a gambling house during world war 2 and then a gay bar called the Canyon Club in the 50s and 60s.
I have lived here for 21 years and rent the place out for all sorts of things. Please see our website, www.themermaid.com.
Thank you,
Bill Buerge, owner
The Mermaid, Topanga

Hi Bill,
Thanks for your kind email.  I am glad you enjoyed the presentation.  Topanga Canyon is a wonderful area and I hope that posting your letter and link will be positive publicity for your garden retreat.  With summer approaching and budget cuts at the California Community College level, LACC has decided not to offer any photography classes among its drastically scaled back summer session, so I have some free time.  I will also contact you through my personal email address so that we can discuss specifics.

Letter 71 – Fanmail

Just wanted to say I enjoy your site
June 4, 2011 2:01 pm
Hey. I just wanted to say that I enjoy your site. I have identified a few bugs using the site and I enjoy looking at the pictures. I try not to kill bugs if I can avoid it, though I do admit that I’m not all that kind to wasps, mosquitos, and spiders in the house. If I know that a bug is harmless I usually leave it alone. I’ve got some honeybee, praying mantis, lunar moth, butterfly, and a few other random insect pictures that I could send if you would like to add them to your archive. They’re probably fairly common species, though, so you probably have pictures already.
Anyway, I really enjoy your site. You do a good job with it. Thanks for maintaining it.
Signature: L.M.

Dear L.M.
We look forward to the day you cannot identify the insect you have photographed.  At that time, send us your photo.  We are currently getting close to 100 identification requests per day and we are unable to handle them all, so many requests go unanswered.  We are postdating your fanmail email to go live on our site on June 8 because we will be gone from the office for a week.

Author

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

27 thoughts on “Fanmail From Readers”

  1. To A Truly Candid Girl:

    -Don’t you find it interesting to see the numerous pictures of bugs that are posted on this site, whether the bugs are the same or not? Diversity does not mean having one photo per species; it means having a wide variety of something. And no matter how many pictures of a house centipede are posted, What’s That Bug will always be extremely diverse.

    -Having pictures arranged by species would totally defeat the point of this site. Let’s say, for example, that a man named Bob sees a black spider with red legs and comes here to ID it–which, as you probably know, is the entire reason this site exists. If Bob didn’t know what the spider was called, how would he know to look under the “red-legged purse-web spider” page to find out about it? One obviously can’t search for something by name if one doesn’t know the name in the first place!

    I accept that you are not really a Nasty Reader, but you are, I’m afraid, a dull one (this being a moderately nice way of saying that you are making yourself appear quite ignorant and stupid). In the future, please give your ideas a little more thought before insisting on having them carried out, and stop acting like you are the only person in the universe who doesn’t have what she wants.

    Lisa Anne and Daniel, don’t change a thing. This site is brilliant and there is absolutely nothing I would want changed.

    —-“Arachne”

    Reply
  2. Hi Arachne,
    Thanks so much for your insightful comment. Actually, with our new web format, both you and Truly Candid Girl may get your way, but it will take time. We are currently reorganizing our Beetles postings with subcategories. This takes time, but we are off to a good start.
    Daniel

    Reply
  3. It IS wonderful to see how the site has grown but it’s darn near impossible to get a message through to Dan and Lisa, let alone a photo. But I still love these guys! I know they’re as busy as bees!

    Joannne
    Now in Romeoville IL, not Darien IL

    Reply
  4. Dear Jenny,
    What a wonderful sister you are, Your letter just warms my heart. Often we forget to express our love but your love for Brian shows throughout your letter. Thank you for making my day much brighter. All of my very best wishes to you and your family.
    Richard

    Reply
  5. I laughed so hard at your answer to someone who had an imaginary bug problem. Where is that letter? My sis is a little depressed today, tons of flies in her house for some reason; no trash around even. I wanted to read her the letter. Please direct me folk!

    Reply
  6. The difference is in the intention. What I’ve learned from reading this site is that most bugs have no intention of harming you. They are simply existing. I used to have a similar credo, but I’ve started to realize the world is not this horrifying place trying to kill me. It simply is, and I have the chance to live within it and observe and respect it and learn about it and enjoy it for what it is.

    Reply
  7. Just wanted to thank you for shedding light on my house centipede (who thankfully prefers my dark and somewhat damp basement), as he (or she) has been coming up through the vent occasionally (maybe twice in the last 4 months) and causing me grief as to what he is… I’m happy to know though that he is eating my silverfish (though I’m not really sure why silverfish would be pests- are they harmful in anyway?? I’ve seen one in my house since we moved in) and that he would eat bedbugs should they ever happen in our household. I will fondly say hello to him if and when I see him again… and finally I was able to identify a cicada as each summer early on I see a few while out with my kiddos :)… Thanks!!

    Reply
  8. I noticed that bit about the time and the cost, but I didn’t find any clues regarding where to look for information describing the process itself. This seems like a stupid thing to be frustrated by. I should just google “registration of new species in Taiwan,” right? Umm… not so useful, in fact.

    Reply
  9. OK. I should first explain that an expert in the particular group of insects (or other bugs) has to do all the work. An amateur should never do this.

    The scientist has to make quite certain that this is indeed a new species and not an unusual form of a pre-existing species. The researcher also has to make quite sure that the species has never been described before, even in some obscure journal 100 years ago. Then the scientist has to write a paper which includes a very detailed description of the insect, including sometimes details of the genitalia. Also info about where the bug lives and what it eats and so on, and very good illustrations of the bug/bugs.

    Most scientists will NOT describe a species from just one specimen; they usually need a group of individuals so it is quite clear that the bug you found is not just one freak individual.

    Then the scientist has to submit the paper to a reputable journal. Then the paper has to go out for peer review, and if it passes peer review it can still be a year or two before the paper appears in print. The scientist has to place specimens of the species in more than one leading museum, and in the paper, one of the specimens has to be designated as the “holotype”, which defines the species.

    Your first task would be to find an academic who specializes in the family or subfamily of bugs and who is prepared to look at what you have.

    Susan J. Hewitt

    So there is no registration process. It’s all about research and putting together a scientific publication. No reputable journal will accept a new species description from an amateur.

    Reply
    • Wow, thank you for such a thorough explanation of the process Susan. As always, your contributions to What’s That Bug? are greatly appreciated.

      Reply
  10. Hello all,

    I am a total newbie to the site, but love it already.

    I live in Goa, on India’s west coast. Our house is surrounded by light woods and we have a large tropical garden which seems to be home to hundreds on creatures. It will be great to sue your website to learn more about them.

    I am posting here a photo of a moth in our home. I see that you have answered my question about its identity. Thanks!

    How do I post images here? Can someone let me know please?

    Sucheta – Goa India

    Reply
  11. I truly hope the lady wanting you to help her do her sons homework read the post from Jenny!! Hope that mom noticed that Jenny was researching bugs just for fun!! And Mom was doing it for her kid for school!!!?!? WOW!

    Reply
    • Hi Rene,
      We kind of doubt the woman who wanted insects identified for her son’s homework ever returned to our site after getting our response.

      Reply
  12. I was going in my room after sunset. Suddenly saw a specie with eyes blinking like a car. Those eyes makes the surrounding glow. The size of the specie was like a butterfly initial stage larva. It was so fascinating when I use my torch with high beam those eyes started dimming.
    It was surprise for me.

    Reply
  13. I was going in my room after sunset. Suddenly saw a specie with eyes blinking like a car. Those eyes makes the surrounding glow. The size of the specie was like a butterfly initial stage larva. It was so fascinating when I use my torch with high beam those eyes started dimming.
    It was surprise for me.

    Reply
  14. Hello Bugman,
    My 8 year old son has ADHD and PDD-NOS, a form of autism. He has LOVED bugs ever since he was very little. He walks with his eyes on the ground at all times looking for new kinds of bugs he can find. This summer he surprised me and saved a bee from our swimming pool. The bee stung him, but he saved one of gods creatures that was thirsty. Thank you for doing what you do.

    Reply
  15. Hi!

    I’m a biologist at Bowling Green State University. We are going to Hawaii to do a little insect research. Is there a Hawaiian bug dichotomous key you suggest?

    Reply
  16. Hi!

    I’m a biologist at Bowling Green State University. We are going to Hawaii to do a little insect research. Is there a Hawaiian bug dichotomous key you suggest?

    Reply
  17. My son found a bug I cant identify , it has 5 tentacles and 1 gimp tentacle and I have a pictures and a video . I haven’t ever seen anything with tentacles on land . And we’ve had weird clouds and UFO activity that I’ve reported to Mufon .

    Reply

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