milkweed beetle soap opera
This series of photos might be fun for your bug love page. I found these mating red milkweed beetles in a milkweed patch near my house in Danielsville, PA. A third milkweed beetle came along and climbed on the back of the bottom bug, pushing off the top bug. They then stood there headbutting for a couple minutes, and then all three went their separate ways. I guess you could call the third one a homewrecker. :-) The “homewrecker” arrives and tries to push the top beetle back off the one on the bottom. There’s a standoff of sorts as the one on top from the couple refuses to back off for a few moments. But the “homewrecker” persists. The beetle on the top relents and backs off. The top beetle continues to back away from the new couple, just before the “homewrecker” decides to walk away too. … BTW, I love your site and use it all the time. I recently was able to identify a swamp milkweed leaf beetle and your site was also where I discovered the little reddish spider like creatures I had seen were wheel bug nymphs. Thanks!

Hi Johanna,
We love your account of this sexual melodrama between Red Milkweed Beetles. We do wonder though why the victor decided to relinquish his conquest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Name this bug
Several years ago we had a load of sand brought into our yard. Since then we have had this hornet (or what ever it is) every summer toward the end of June and really bad by the 4th of July. They burrow into the sand and make their nest there. They mate like love bugs. They are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. So far they have not been aggressive toward me but just having dozens of them swarming around is enough to frighten me. What are they and how can I get rid of them?

This is a Cicada Killer Wasp, an important predator. Most everything we have learned about them indicates that they are not aggressive and rarely sting people, so we do not recommend their removal. We did just receive a conflicting account of an encounter with Cicada Killers that we will include with this posting.

Report of Cicada Killers Stinging

cicada killer wasps
just read all your q & a’s re these wasps, as well as, a factsheet from univ of ohio. very informative. however, my own experience differed quite a bit from this data. last summer, i was weeding a very overgrown garden bed and apparently disturbed some of these wasps. i was stung three times and chased as i ran away from the site. one sting was on my back, and the other two were on my right breast. i have to tell you that all three were extremely painful — esp the two frontal ones. i had a sore, swollen, deep-purple area from mid-chest across and over the breast to under my arm that lasted for 9 days. i have never been allergic to any stings, nor to any medicines or foods. this was soooo painful for soooo long, that i nearly went to the doctor. the site is in full sun, but not ‘clear of vegetation’ by any means. i get that the males were probably doing the chasing, but if only the females sting —- well, these three packed quite a wallop. now i just steer clear of them altogether and grit my teeth as i watch the weeds flourish. wish i could deter them w/o killing them. any suggestions. thx

Sorry, we have no suggestions on how to deter Cicada Killers.

weird horsefly/bee?
Hello Bugman,
I am from Zanesville, Ohio (Southeastern Ohio) and we were enjoying a hot summer day around the pool. I found this guy flying around the house and tracked him down thinking it was just a horsefly that had gotten indoors, when I swatted him, I noticed that he was completely different. The creature has fly-like wings and head, but the rearend of a bee. It has two large thick yellow stripes with spikey black rings separating them. It was truly one of the weirdest insects I have ever seen. Do you have any idea what this is? I have looked online through the Ohio insects and have not seen ANYTHING close to this type of a fly, or bee for that matter. Can you help? Thanks so much.

Hi D.L.,
This is a Tachinid Fly, and the genus is Belvosia. Sorry, but BugGuide does not divide the genus into different species and there is no common name. Tachinid Flies in the family Tachinidae are important biological contols of many plant eating species because the larvae are parasitic on a variety of insects and arthropods, with caterpillars being most common. The female fly lays her eggs inside the host and the larvae devour the caterpillar from within, pupating inside the host, and emerging as adult flies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

On the road again
Driving through the Texas hill country last year these guys were walking across the road. They were all over the place but walking. He stopped in his tracks when I got within 4 feet. I’d guess he is about 3 inches long. I used the zoom feature on my camera not wanting to get any closer. LOL
Wesley O’Rear

Hi Wesley,
Last year there was a significant mass emergence of the Truncated True Katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus, in this pink/brown variation in Texas. This species is most often green. Before we realized your spectacular photo was a year old, we thought there might be another mass emergence.You can see more on BugGuide. He is a she as evidenced by her swordlike ovipositor.

Whats that butterfly
Mr Bugman,
I found this butterfly lying on the plant floor. They tend to die when they fly into a paint plant. It was near shipping and receiving so it might have come off of a truck from anywhere. Found in Southfield Michigan.

Hi Marianne,
This lovely butterfly is a Common Wood Nymph, Cercyonis pegala. It is an elegantly marked, but not very flashy butterfly. We doubt it came in on a truck. If there are meadows near your plant, especially meadows surrounded with woodland, that is the perfect habitat for the Common Wood Nymph. BugGuide describes the habitat as being: “Large, sunny, grassy areas including prairies, open meadows, bogs, and old fields” and also notes that the coloration and markings are quite variable geographically. Caterpillars feed on grasses and adults feed on rotting fruit as well as flower nectar.