Subject: Soapberry bugs
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
August 25, 2014 10:06 am
here’s the pictures of the bugs I found on the trunks of these trees. Some people have them in their gardens too, but I’ve never seen them anywhere else. This picture was taken at the start of the winter.
Signature: Cindy

Cotton Stainer Aggregation

Cotton Stainer Aggregation

Dear Cindy,
We disagree with your identification.  We do not believe these are Soapberry Bugs in the subfamily Serinethinae, but rather Cotton Stainers  or Red Bugs in the family Pyrrhocoridae.  There are some similar looking images of Cotton Stainers in the genus
Dysdercus on ISpot and there is an image on FlickR identified as Dysdercus nigrofasciatus.  This note is also posted on ISpot:  “D. nigrofasciatus and D. fasciatus are not synonyms. There are four species of Dysdercus occurring in South Africa: fasciatus, nigrofasciatus, intermedius and superstitiosus. the first three looks superficially similar, but there are clear differences, for example: the head of fasciatus is significantly longer than the head of nigrofasciatus, etc.”  We are confident that the genus Dysdercus is correct, but we are uncertain of the species.

Cotton Stainer Aggregation

Cotton Stainer Aggregation

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Indian or Hobomok skipper?
Location: Great Falls Park, Virginia
August 24, 2014 4:27 pm
Looking at various sources, I am not sure one can tell the difference, but do you have an opinion as to whether this is an Indian or Hobomok Skipper? Both look just like what I photographed as far as I can see. No other angles, unfortunately, as didn’t move until it flew off. …
Signature: Seth

Skipper

Skipper

Hi Seth,
We are posting your excellent image of a Skipper in the hope that one of our readers can provide you with an identification.

Subject: Indian or Hobomok skipper?
Location: Great Falls Park, Virginia
August 24, 2014 4:27 pm
Looking at various sources, I am not sure one can tell the difference, but do you have an opinion as to whether this is an Indian or Hobomok Skipper? Both look just like what I photographed as far as I can see. No other angles, unfortunately, as didn’t move until it flew off. I am also attaching a photo of what presumably is a Cicada Killer Wasp (it was after all, killing an Annual Cicada!), mainly because it has a great deal more yellow than any photo I can find – is this just natural variation? A difference between the sexes? Or is there a sub-species I haven’t seen mentioned?
Signature: Seth

European Hornet kills Cicada

European Hornet kills Cicada

Hi Seth,
We will address the Skipper question later, but most Skippers look alike to our untrained eye.  What you have mistaken for a Cicada Killer with prey is actually an invasive, exotic European Hornet, a formidable predator that can take down very large prey.
  According to BugGuide:  “Predatory on other insects, used to feed young.”  There is also this elaboration:  “The workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: strange caterpillar
Location: Baddeck,N.S, Canada
August 25, 2014 8:12 am
We found this caterpillar in our yard. We didn’t touch but we moved it to a wooded area. What is it?
Signature: Tera C

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Hi Tera,
This sure looks like a Luna Moth Caterpillar getting ready to pupate.  When pupation time nears, the typically green caterpillar turns pink.  See this BugGuide image for comparison.

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Great that is exactly what we saw today. Thanks

Subject: Unidentified wasp?
Location: Fannie, Ark.
August 25, 2014 8:57 am
Found and photographed a couple of days ago in Montgomery County, Arkansas. I think its a wasp but would like to know what kind. Thank you.
Signature: Bill Burton

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Bill,
We believe this is a Parasitic Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, a large and diverse family.  According to BugGuide:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”  It looks very similar to this image of
Saranaca elegans posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the larval food is the caterpillar of “Darapsa myron”, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx is found in Arkansas.  We may be way off base with the species, but we are confident that we have at least gotten the family identification correct.

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

 

Subject: Is this an ant war? I’ve never seen one before…
Location: Meadowview, VA, USA
August 25, 2014 6:26 am
I took my son to school this a.m. and in the 10 minutes it took me to go and come back, this swarm of wingless ants appeared on the edge of my driveway (it was not there when we left). There are several “puddles” of ants along the edge of the driveway where it meets the lawn, with trails of ants moving between them like little rivers. Up close there appears to be one on one fighting, with the big puddles being the “winners?” swarming around on top of immobile “losers?”… on the edges of the “puddles” there are individual ants wandering around, but other than size (a few are much smaller than the others, but all of them are fairly small ants) they appear really similar to me– I can’t see an obvious two species fighting. Is this maybe that situation caused by wasp secretions, where they fight themselves? Or is it two or more colonies duking it out? I’ve sent several pictures from my phone– I hope at leas t one of them is good enough quality for you to identify world war 3 for me!! Thanks for your awesome site– I love to visit and learn new stuff!
Signature: Jeri Ward
I wasn’t sure which pix would be clearest, so I’m sending the rest in hopes at least one will be good enough to id.

Ant Swarm

Ant Swarm

Hi Jeri,
We are posting the clearest of the eight images you submitted.  Alas, we are not very good at Ant identification and we believe even an ant expert might have problems with an exact identification, but we have some thoughts.  Since these are small ants, two species that come to mind are both nonnative, invasive species, the Argentine Ant (which is reported on BugGuide from nearby North Carolina and Tennessee) and the Red Imported Fire Ants, which according to BugGuide:  “The Red Imported Fire Ant is the most aggressive and widespread of the fire ants found in North America. It was introduced from South America into the United States between 1933 and 1945. If their nest is stepped on, the workers rush out and sting the feet and legs of the intruder. Each sting results in a small, acutely painful wound that develops into a pustule in 24 to 48 hours. As the pustules heal they become itchy and can become infected. “  Of the Argentine Ant, BugGuide states:  “Thought to have first arrived in the United States in coffee shipments in New Orleans around 1891.  A major pest in United States for several reasons: able to nest in diverse habitats, produces great numbers of individuals due to many reproductive queens in a colony, eats large variety of food (omnivorous diet), coexists amiably with other colonies of same species, exterminates competing native species of ants wherever they occur, and invades homes in large numbers in search of food and water.  When established in an area, the number of individuals is mind boggling, with large files of workers running up and down trees, on fences, on the ground, and everywhere else; considered one of the most persistant and troublesome of house-infesting ants.”  We believe this is either linked to swarming activity and the emergence of winged alates, or perhaps something else caused a colony to come above ground, like perhaps flooding.  Did you water the lawn earlier?  We apologize for not being much help.