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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Because our previous posting of Elm Seed Bugs has received so many recent comments, we have decided to make the Elm Seed Bug our Bug of the Month for July 2015 and to post it live a few days early.

Subject: Invaders!
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
June 27, 2015 12:13 pm
We have these little buggers that we seem to keep finding on the back end of our home near the windows. I found a nest of them underneath one of the blinds in our bedroom window. They dont appear to fly. They are about 1/4 inch long. What are they? Do they bite? How can we get rid of them? Thanks in advance…
Signature: -Loyal WTB fan for 5+ years

Elm Seed Bug

Elm Seed Bug

Dear Loyal WTB fan for 5+ years,
It appears that you have an Elm Seed Bug,
Arocatus melanocephalus, infestation, a nonnative species first reported in North America in Idaho in 2012.  As you must know, we do not provide extermination information, though we are sometimes freer when the species is invasive like the Elm Seed Bug.  There are currently numerous comments from readers on the first Elm Seed Bug posting in our archives, and you may find some help there.  According to Gemtek:  “Identification: Elm seed bugs are typically ⅓ inch long and are dark brown in color, with an abdomen that is reddish colored. Like a boxelder bug, their wings fold to form a thin X shape. Aside from color differences, elm seed and boxelder bugs look nearly identical.  Diet, Habitat, Life Cycle, and Habits:  Once again, elm seed bugs are similar to boxelder bugs in all of these aspects. A key difference is that elm seed bugs are primarily found on elm trees. They feed on elm seeds, but will also feed on and live in other types of trees. They are most visible in warmer weather and will create an unpleasant odor if crushed.”  According to BugGuide:  “Invade homes during the summer to escape heat, and then stick around through the winter … One generation per year and adults overwinter. Doesn’t pose a threat to trees, but may show up indoors in huge swarms.”

Elm Seed Bugs invade home.

Elm Seed Bugs invade home.

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Subject: Giant insect in Seattle
Location: Seattle, Wa
May 31, 2015 12:03 am
I saw this giant insect on an Italian plum in late May in Seattle. It was a warm 75 degree day. It moved slowly on the branches and the butt was pulsating. I made direct eye contact with her. She looked me right in my eyes.
Signature: Bugged out

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Dear Bugged out,
Though it is in the same insect order as wasps and bees, this Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, is perfectly harmless to humans as it is incapable of stinging.  A day earlier, we received another identification request for a “Bee with yellow tipped antennae” and we suspected it too was an Elm Sawfly.  Your images are of a living specimen and the other is dead, and we much prefer images of living insects to those of dead insects, so we decided to feature your submission as the Bug of the Month for June 2015.  The Elm Sawfly, according to BugGuide:  “hosts include elm (Ulmus), maple (Acer), birch (Betula), willow (Salix), and basswood (Tilia); adults girdle bark on twigs.”

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfl

Thanks for the info and for featuring the sawfly! The insect will live out her natural life as we choose not to kill anyone.
Thank you again!
Joe Mirabella

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Subject: Fly?…
Location: Houston
April 30, 2015 10:58 am
Hello bugman,
I noticed a large cluster of flying bugs of some sort on my tree today. 2 groups. From a distance they appear black, like large gnats? Up close they’ve got 6 legs it appears, long antennae, and wings. The wings are a very detailed combination of black and gray colors, outlined in white with a white solitary spot. Very beautiful looking up close. Just not sure if these are invasive /destructive to my tree/garden and wanted to check what they were. The closest thing I’ve been able to find is a picture winged fly but there are so many I wasn’t sure. I have a video as well if you’d like it. You’re help is truly appreciated!
Signature: Alma

Barklice

Barklice

Dear Alma,
These benign Barklice,
Cerastipsocus venosus, might appear alarming when they are seen clustering on a prized tree in the yard, but gardeners have no cause for alarm.  Barklice feed on lichens, and they will not harm your tree.  Barklice are sometimes called Tree Cattle.  Your image is of winged adults.  Wingless Barklice nymphs are boldly striped.  We just realized it is the first of May and we need to select a new Bug of the Month, so we have selected your excellent image of Tree Cattle as the featured posting of the month.

You guys are AWESOME! I can’t thank you enough for your help and information!!!  I’m a huge science fan so I love exploring and trying to figure out what things are. I also know how busy you guys must get, so I will definitely be helping with a donation. I also let people know about your site when they are trying to figure out bugs. If you ever need help for rebranding/redesigning let me know (I’m a professional graphic designer). I’m happy to help if you need it!
You have a great weekend!
Alma Soto

Thanks for the offer Alma.  We got our start many years ago on the now defunct American Homebody site, and we still prefer our homey look to the more high tech sites.

I can most certainly understand and respect that!
For what you guys do… It actually works.
Again thank you guys so much for your help, and prompt response. i’ve made sure to tell all my friends about you guys, and have already tweeted you out. :) you guys have helped me before I remembered for a bug I experienced when we lived on job assignment on Venezuelan Penninsula that they call pachaco – it was I found out thanks do you guys a Solifugae (all I could remember was that their body looked like a cross between an ant, spider and an earwigi- they were fierce looking, fast, and scared the living daylights out of me). so again, thank you guys for all you do!
Alma

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Subject: Star Trek brain eater
Location: Mississippi River, central Louisiana
March 28, 2015 5:14 pm
Don’t go near the water! Found this thing in the Bayou of central Louisiana at the end of March. My research has turned up some similar creepy crawlies but nothing quite the same. What is it?
Signature: Boatswain

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler

Giant Water Scavenger Beetle Larva and Mosquito Tumbler

Dear Boatswain,
We absolutely love your colorful description of what we originally thought was a Water Tiger, the aquatic larva of a Predaceous Diving Beetle in the family Dytiscidae, but once we searched BugGuide and compared your individual to images of larvae of Giant Water Scavenger Beetles in the family Hydrophilidae, we determined that was the correct identification for your creature.  According to BugGuide contributor Andrew Tluczek:  “I have a masters in Entomology and have worked with aquatic insects. It is a Hydrophilidae. The mandibles have ‘teeth’ which Dytiscidae larvae do not have.”  Your individual has “teeth” on the mandibles, and other research turned up additional physical similarities.
  According to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Field Station site:  “WSB [Water Scavenger Beetles] larvae are described as ‘sluggish’ and are found crawling on the pond floor or climbing on underwater vegetation. The larvae is a ‘couch-potato’ version of the sleek PDB [Predaceous Diving Beetle] larvae/ water tigers (pictured) (they sometimes share the ‘water tiger’ moniker). WSB larvae often have paired, gill-like structures protruding from the sides of their abdomens. Their feeding category is ‘engulfer-predator;’ they use their hollow jaws to suck out the juices of their prey. Their food-list includes their brethren; they love mosquito larvae but will go after mini-fish and so are an unwelcome addition to a koi pond. Larvae back their abdomen up to the water’s surface and take in air through spiracles (pores) at its tip. They spend a month underwater as larvae and about 12 days pupating in a cell in moist soil.”  That information thrilled us as we can now safely use the term Water Tiger to describe the larvae of aquatic beetles in both families.  According to Bugwood:  “Larvae, which occur in water, have an elongate body and large dark head with prominent curved jaws. Elongated spiracles through which they acquire oxygen arise from the end of the abdomen. … The immature stage is a predator, working by ambush to lie in wait, seizing and crushing prey that comes within reach. Most of their diet is made up of small insects and other aquatic invertebrates. However, their jaws are quite powerful allowing them to consume snails whole as well as catch large prey such as tadpoles and small fish.”  A Mosquito Tumbler, the pupa of a Mosquito, is visible in two of your images.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for April 2015.

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler (front and center)

Water Tiger and Mosquito Tumbler (front and center)

Water Tiger

Giant Water Scavenger Beetle Larva

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Subject: Migrating Painted Ladies
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
February 14, 2015 10:00 AM
Though we have received many images recently from our readers, we made a decision to select our Bug of the Month for March 2015 from our own images because of the significant seasonal migration of Painted Ladies this year.  According to Julian Donahue, the Painted Ladies are: “particularly active on the wing now, and most appear to be migrating, pausing to nectar on their way farther north.” The Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, is a medium sized orange butterfly with a mottled wing pattern and distinctive “eye spots” on the underwings. Painted Ladies were seen taking nectar from the pictured Mule Fat or Baccharis salicifolia, Coastal Bush Sunflower and Manroot. Caterpillars feed on both native and non-native leaves, and the Arroyo Lupine, that is currently blooming, is one native host plant.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

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Subject: UNKNOWN GRASSHOPPER
Location: Botriver Western Cape
January 30, 2015 6:24 am
Hi Bugman,
My hubby and I were in Botriver over the past two weeks ie. 14 to 25 Jan 2015.
We captured this stunning picture of what we believe is a grasshopper of sorts. Absolutely beautiful, never seen anything like it in my life.
Thought you might like to have a look at it and maybe identify it for me?
thanks so much.
kind regards
Signature: Judy

Green Milkweed Locust

Green Milkweed Locust

Hi Judy,
Your images are stunning and this Grasshopper is gorgeous.  It is a member of the family Pyrgomorphidae, commonly called the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers.  They feed on milkweed, and many species are ably to synthesize and store compounds from the plants that render the grasshoppers toxic.  They also have aposomatic or warning coloration to ward off predators.  Your individual is a Green Milkweed Locust,
Phymateus leprosus, and you can verify our identification on iSpot.

Green Milkweed Locust

Green Milkweed Locust

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