black and red spider
Location: North East USA
October 25, 2010 8:18 pm
Dear Bugman, I beg of your help. I am finding these red and black spiders (i believe) in the house. I live in CT. These bugs are so tiny maybe the size of a grain of rice. The first thing you notice is a little glossy redish black ball. I only find them on the rugs, havent seen them elsewhere. I have two new babies and I am soooooo scared. I dont have a camera to take a picture but I pray you can still help us.
I provided a picture of the closet spider i can find, this resembles the body structure but not the color or size.
Signature: BR

Redback Spider

Dear BR,
You do have some cause for concern if your creatures are the same as the one in the photo, though we have our doubts since you did not provide your own photograph.  This is an immature Black Widow.  Black Widows are one of only a few North American spiders with a dangerously venomous bite, and young children would be more severely affected by a bite than a healthy adult would.  Again, we really doubt that the creatures you have found are Black Widows.

Ed. Note: It has been brought to our attention in a comment that the spider in the photo is most probably not a North American species, but a mature Redback Spider from Australia, which is why the location in which a creature is encountered is often critical information for proper identification.

i cannot thank you enough for you quick response, I dont believe they are either. The structure is similar but they carry a little ball like on them it allmost looks like a bead, if i look at it very close its a maroonish dark red color. We have recently discovered we have carpet beetles and i dont know if this may be related, again we find these spiders on the rug and between the rug and wall. any other advice would kindly be appreciated i will try to get a picture to you as soon as i can, you are all wonderful people for doing this for others. thank you again

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

Close Encounter of the bug kind!
Location: Carroll County, Maryland
October 25, 2010 7:38 pm
Hi there, I had a close encounter with this bug today (He decided to hitch a ride on my jacket!) I screamed at it, I flinged it off my jacket, but I did not resort to creating carnage despite passerby suggestions… any idea what it is? It has to be one of the largest bugs I’ve ever seen – I’d estimate about two inches long or so.
(Sorry about the picture quality, best I could manage with my phone.)
Signature: Angela in Maryland

Wheel Bug

Hi Angela,
We have gotten numerous images of Wheel Bugs in the past week, but we have not posted any of them after supplying a brief answer regarding the bug’s identity.  Since there have been so many sightings recently, we have decided to post your letter (with its subject line that caught our attention) and your photo even though your photo does not adequately illustrate the coglike crest on the thorax that gives North America’s largest Assassin Bug its common name.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is it?
Location:  inside house on walls, one on top of quilt, one on top of exposed bed divan. On landing wall.
October 20, 2010 9:51 am
It’s 5mm long.
4 furry legs, mostly at the front of the body.
Mustard colour, with white stripes on the abdomen.
Small blob for a head, body gets bigger and bigger to abdomen, then tapers off to a furry bottom.
I thought it was a pupae, until close inspection showed it was a hairy creepy crawly.
In the picture you will also see all the different casts of ONE bug I caught earlier this year.
many thanks
Signature:  Tracey

Carpet Beetle Larva

Thank you for your reply.
I do hope it is possible for you to tell me what “old fluffy bum” is.
I studied your website in great detail after I requested identification, and I loved it, too much I’m afraid, I didn’t get anything done all day.
I should have added that I have not murdered the grub, at the moment he is in a glass jar with air holes, but as I don’t know if it is carnivore or herbivore, he could die of very slow starvation unless you reply to me.
I await your reply (please) with anticipation.
Kind Regards

I identified the bug using your web site IT’S A CARPET BUG LARVAE
October 24, 2010 1:33 PM
Thank you, but I have found really good close ups on your web site and it’s a CARPET BUG LARVAE

Hi Tracey,
Please accept our apology for not returning either of your earlier emails, but as our automated form has indicated, we have a very, very small staff.  Daniel still has a considerable amount of answered email from October 20 as well as from days prior to that and days since then, but he was so charmed that you informed us of your success, and your subject line caught his attention, so he tracked down the photo attached to your original email.  He was also impressed that you enjoyed the website so all of your previously overlooked communications to us have been collated into a posting with your photograph of a Carpet Beetle Larva.  If you want to continue to raise your Carpet Beetle Larva, you can try feeding it pet hair.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for your reply.  I think the little BUG’rs been eating my hair, cause I’m always pulling handfulls of it off the Dyson carpet brush attachment and I don’t have any pets. I’ve asked my mum for a loan of her Kirby, cause it will do a better job of vacuuming.
Best wishes for the future and kind regards, Tracey

What do ya think?
October 25, 2010 12:58 PM
Adam Schreck
Sent from my useless iphone

Arrowheaded Flatworm

Hi Adam,
What we think is that you did not use our form for submission, so much of the information we require in our form, which is of tremendous assistance to us for identification purposes as well as for the benefit of our readership, is absent from your submission which is curiously devoid of content.  This is a Land Planarium or Arrowhead Flatworm. We also think your photo is a bit blurry and that it is a cold morning and that we should put on a pot of coffee and that we have a very busy day at work today, but somehow we don’t think you want to know all of what we are thinking.

Moth id
Location: Ohio
October 25, 2010 2:11 pm
Hi bugman, Can you help me identify this moth? Perhaps a Fall webworm moth? Thanks for the help!
Signature: weisey

Dot Lined White Moth

Hi weisey,
Your moth has the descriptive common name of Dot Lined White, and the scientific name is
Artace cribraria.  The Dot Lined White is a member of the Lappet Moth and Tent Caterpillar family.

Hi Daniel, thanks so much for the id! Have a great day! S. Cyd “weisey” Read