Indian Meal Moth
I am having difficulty sending this. We just got power back after a week from the effects of Tropical storm (previously hurricane) Ike. I am writing today to hopefully help others with this nuisance. I searched your site (which I love) for information on the Carolina Praying Mantis we found and thought I’d look up this little booger too. Since you don’t have any photos, I thought I would include some for you. The eggs are almost impossible to see as they are camouflaged to look like the food they are laid in. The white caterpillar, AKA ‘worm’ is about 1/2″ in length.

Indian Meal Moth Caterpillar

Indian Meal Moth Caterpillar

The adult moth is much shorter at approx. 1/4 ” in length.

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth

After the first infestation, in which my kids almost ate some of the ‘worms’ in their Cheerios UGH!! , I threw away all infested food and thoroughly washed out all cabinets and canned goods before putt ing them back. It seems that they are able to chew holes through plastic bags also, so I bought see-through canisters to put my dry goods in the last time. This worked for about a year or so. Imagine my mortification when I came across this last sight…… I bought Raisin Bran and after coming home from the store, it was placed in it’s canister. It sat for a while in the canister on the bottom of the cabinet and recently found at least 50 or more ‘worms with their silken threads all in the cereal!!! :oP I always check my bags for holes especially if I find, for example, a small amount of brownie mix finding it’s way out of the bag before I open it. I’ve heard these are quite common and most people, disgustingly enough, inadvertently eat the eggs in their food without realizing it!! I know y’all don’t endorse extermination, but I draw the line when they are in my food! :o) Hopefully the files are small enough not to block your e-mail and big enough for everyone to see. Pl ease let me know if you have any problems. Thanks! I’m off for a good scrubbing again!
Disgusted in OH

Indian Meal Moth Infestation

Indian Meal Moth Infestation

Dear Disgusted,
First off, we sympathize with your loss of power. Mom, in a suburb of Yourngstown’s east side, was without power for twenty hours. Thanks for this wonderful letter and documentation. We do have images of Indian Meal Moths on our Pantry Pest page, but we need to check to see if they got lost in our site migration. Keeping grain products in tightly sealed cannisters is not always a solution, as food may be infested at the factory, at the warehouse, or on the shelf in the market. Spring cleaning of items in the pantry on a yearly basis will help reduce the risk of infestations. Also be mindful that nuts and spices are not exempt from beetle and moth infestation.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is happening with the Titan Sphinx?
What is happening with the Titan Sphinx?
I am submitting this as a follow-up to Gary D. Taylor’s wonderful posting of a Titan Sphinx (Aellopos titan) on September 19. I will try not to repeat too much of what I submitted as a comment to that posting (a great new feature on your site, by the way). The Titan Sphinx is considered a tropical species with a normal range extending from northern Argentina to the US Gulf states. Beyond that there are scattered reports of strays in many of the eastern states and southern portions of eastern Canada. I had the great good fortune of seeing this individual in early August of this year in the extreme southeast corner of Manitoba, probably quite close to Garry’s siting. It turns out it has been reported from Manitoba only once before, and that was sometime pre-1925! It makes me wonder, is the species becoming more common up here? Was this just an exceptional year with a few individuals straying northward on a strong south wind? Was it the same individual (pretty unlikely, but an interesting thought)? It would be very interesting to know what other sitings there were this year, and I will definitely be looking for it again next year. Regards.
Karl
Winnipeg, Canada

Titan Sphinx:  Tropical species in Canada!!!

Titan Sphinx: Tropical species in Canada!!!

Hi Karl,
Thanks for your letter and photo as well as the comment on the previous unusual Titan Sphinx sighting. We are thrilled to break this news to the entomological world. Here at What’s That Bug? we feel compelled to wax on the possibilities of these two unusual sightings. Global Warming perhaps? Transport by Hurricane Ike maybe? Could not some Titan Sphinxes have been picked up by Ike in the Caribbean and ridden the storm north in the relatively calm eye? We will be copying Bill Oehlke on this reply since he has compiled extensive species distribution data on the Sphingidae on his wonderful website. He may request permission to post your photo.

I Want My Wife Back, I Bugged Her with a bug
This has got to be the strangest jumping – stinger tailed – almost grass hopper I’ve ever seen. It does not have wings, has a long stinger looking thingie with something else protruding out of its hind end above the long stinger. Perhaps that is a suit case or is it just me wondering if my wife will ever return to our mountain Cabin in Utah with those things crawling around. I saw this critter crawling on the ground and naturally called my sweetie to come and have a look at it. When it jumped, she did too and hasn’t quit slapping her legs with her hands ever since for fear there are others crawling up her pant legs. I put it in a plastic cup and it climbed right up the side. I figure I’ll be rather famous for discovering this never before seen bug (at least by us) and could use the notoriety as I’m not too tallented in any other area. I’m not too good of a cook and I’m going to get pretty hungry up there if you don’t respond and tell her it is completely harmless. If you’ve never seen one either, just lie a little so I can get her to cook up some grub, and I don’t mean worms. Either way, she won’t believe me when I explain to her that it is quite tame and slow moving. There she goes, slapping at her legs again.
Wasatch Mountains, Oakley, Utah
Cabin Fever and Slap Happy, NOT!

Mormon Cricket

Mormon Cricket

Dear Cabin Fever and Slap Happy, NOT!,
You should have learned in the third grade not to chase girls with spiders and snakes and Mormon Crickets, but we believe we can provide you with enough historical information to entice your wife back to your rustic cabin. Your Shield-Backed Katydid known as a Mormon Cricket, Anabrus simplex, though BugGuide indicates there are other members in the genus and exact identification may be difficult with the examination of the specimen. Legend has it that when the first Mormons arrived in Utah in 1848, they were saved from famine when seagulls suddenly appeared and ate the swarm of Mormon Crickets that was about to devour the first wheat crop. The Wikipedia page on the Mormon Cricket has plenty of good information, and you might also want to visit the Wikipedia page on the Miracle of the Gulls
. With regards to the “stinger” you mentioned on your specimen, it is actually the ovipositor of the female Mormon Cricket. She uses the ovipositor to deposit her eggs deep in the soil. Since Wikipedia mentions that Native Americans consumed the Mormon Cricket, we will include it on our edible insect page and we expect that David Gracer, whose Sunrise Land Shrimp webiste is devoted to edible insects, will probably add a comment to this posting. Should you and your wife be living in your secluded cabin after a natural or man-made catastrophe (is there really a difference these days?), you may need to survive by eating the Mormon Crickets. Your wife may want to begin experimenting with the culinary possibilities soon. Should your wife not return to you, you may be eating these succulent morsels yourself. It appears as though the individual in your photo has been injured.

Update: David Gracer’s Input
Hi Daniel,
Congratulations on your overhaul. It must have been a lot of work. Regarding those crickets/katydids, this species might have been the most important kind of edible insect traditionally utilized by American Indians. Euro-American observers have written many pages describing the collection methods and preparation techniques concerning this species; nearly all of that documentation occurred in the mid 1800s. I’m told that the ones which have eaten cultivated alfalfa taste a good deal better than those which have consumed wild sagebrush, but thus far I haven’t had the opportunity to sample this species for myself. Best regards, Dave

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Male and Female Spider Near St Louis, Missouri
I found these two in a concrete cistern that I converted to a storage area. It has an abundance of crickits in it. I took these pictures in June. The female has an egg sack and allowed me to get quite close to take her photo. The male was more cautious and would move away when I got too close. They are about 5 to 6 inches across. I have never seen anything this size or color in the area. What are they?
JFCisme
Aspenhof, Missouri

Fishing Spider with Egg Sac

Fishing Spider with Egg Sac

Hi JF,
Your photo depicts a female Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes.  Because of the maternal care they provide, this family of spiders is known as Nursery Web Spiders.  At some point, after carrying the egg sac around, the Fishing Spider will select a good location and spin a large nursery web.  We actually believe both of your photos are of female Fishing Spiders.

pretty yellow caterpillars devouring my shrub
We’ve got lots of these guys all over a yellow flowering tree/shrub in our yard (not esperanza). We’ve never seen them before because this is the first year the tree/shrub is flowering. It had been in a dry, shady spot prior but this spring we moved it to a sunny area where it benefits from our sprinkler system and so now is flowering like crazy. And these guys have moved in and are busily munching away. What are they?
Northwest Austin Thank you!
Vicki

Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar

Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar

Hi Vicki,
Losing a few blossoms is a small price to pay for the reward of the numerous clear yellow, fast flying Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies, Phoebis sennae, that will fly about your garden after the metamorphosis is complete. Interestingly, Cloudless Sulphur caterpillars that feed on the leaves of Cassia are green, and those that feed on the flowers are yellow.

gorgeous white backed spider w/slight greenish coloring (Fallon, NV)
Here’s to hoping that you can get to this entry, because I cannot for the life of me find this spider on your page. Including the leg span, it was about the diameter of a silver dollar (perhaps a bit larget) and had some odd markings on it’s back. I’m in the Fallon, Nevada area and fairly distant from any major bodies of water. I almost wanted to say it’s either some type of garden spider, or a fishing spider (despite the only bodies of water nearby being canals) but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Please take a look, and let me know if you guys and gals have time. :) Thank you so much for your great site. I hope this will make a unique entry for you.
Sincerely,
Jeremy

Banded Argiope

Banded Argiope

Hi Jeremy,
Thanks for resending your query.  The original letter arrived amidst our site migration transition period.  This is a Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata, a species that is relatively well represented on our site.  Your specimen has much subtler markings, hence your trouble identifying it properly.