Currently viewing the tag: "bug of the month"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Snowy recluse?
Location: Stratford, Connecticut
January 30, 2016 7:48 pm
I snapped this picture while dog walking last week. I was surprised to see a spider crawling across the snow. Is it a brown recluse?
Signature: Karen

Hacklemesh Weaver in the Snow

Hacklemesh Weaver in the Snow

Dear Karen,
We are going to go out on a limb and say that this Spider walking on the snow is an unusual sighting.  The pronounced pedipalps indicate your spider is a male and the large mandibles made our identification relatively easy.  The Spiders of Connecticut site has a good image of a male Hacklemesh Weaver,
Amaurobius feros, that looks like a very close match to your spider.  The site states:  “Native to Europe, it has become established in southeastern Canada and the eastern U.S., though is not limited to those regions. This robust spider is common in and around homes, but also lives under rocks, logs, in leaf litter, and other dark, humid places. Adult males are notorious for wandering in the spring.”  BugGuide also has a good matching image and the information page on BugGuide provides the common name Black Lace Weaver and states:  “A synanthropic species; found associated with humans and man-made structures.”  Spiders.Us provides this life cycle information:  “For this nocturnal spider, mating seems to take place mostly in the spring, but sometimes also in the fall. However, because this species seems to have a lifespan of 2 years or more, it is possible to find sexually mature specimens year-round, so mating may take place at any time really. Egg laying seems to happen mainly in the early summer. The female deposits eggs into a lens-shaped, silken sac about 7-15mm in diameter. Each sac can have anywhere from 60-180 individual eggs inside and it takes about 3-4 weeks before the spiderlings emerge. She stands guard over them that entire time.  Interestingly, this species is matriphagous, which means the mother sacrifices herself as food for her spiderlings. This happens a day or two after their first molt, which is roughly one week from their emergence from the egg sac. This species is considered ‘subsocial’ because, after cannibalizing their mother, the spiderlings remain together and feed communally for about a month. They overwinter in their immature stage, and most overwinter once again in their adult form.”  Our favorite bit of trivia also comes from Spiders.Us:  “Cloudsley-Thompson (1955) mentions that, in England, Amaurobius ferox is sometimes called the ‘Old Churchman’ because it can be seen scurrying around on the walls and pews of old churches before rain storms.” 

Awesome Daniel!  Thanks for the ID and the info about him.  I’ve been a fan of the site for many years and this is my first “bug of the month”, very cool!  Happy (early) spring!
Karen in CT

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this??
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
December 12, 2015 2:05 pm
I dug up this bug in the dirt and I have no clue what it is and I have never seen it before. What is this?
Signature: Daniel

Imperial Moth Pupa

Imperial Moth Pupa

Dear Daniel,
This is a moth pupa, and we believe it is an Imperial Moth Pupa.  Many species of moths pass the winter as pupae, and many of those pupate underground.  The Imperial Moth Caterpillar dug beneath the surface of the soil to metamorphose, and in the spring the adult Imperial Moth will emerge.  Now that you have dug this individual up, you have to decide what to do to have it survive.  You can place it in a container with some loose dirt and keep it in a sheltered location that is unheated, like a screened porch or garage.  Hopefully your individual will survive the winter.  As we are preparing for a holiday trip, we are postdating submissions to go live while we are away, and we are tagging your submission as the Bug of the Month for January 2016 because we feel this is an appropriate species to represent the cold months of winter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Because of numerous recent Kissing Bug identification requests, and because Kissing Bugs are currently in the news, we decided to make our December Bug of the Month a Public Service message.

Eastern Blood-Sucking Conenose Bug or Kissing Bug

Eastern Blood-Sucking Conenose Bug or Kissing Bug

December 1, 2015 6:45 am
The News story is airing on NBC5 in the Dallas Texas area. They are having 1 out of 10 pets dying at this time from what they are calling the kissing bug.
FYI: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video/#!/investigations/video/Hidden-Threat–The-Kissing-Bug-and-Chagas-Disease/350851171
Signature: Anthony

Letter From our Archives
Subject: Is this beetle poisonous?
Location: Southern California
April 6, 2014 11:01 am
Hi,
We found this bug in my daughters bed. For the past week, she has been waking up with horribly swollen and disfiguring bites that turn into oozing blisters within a few days. Any ideas what this is?
Signature: Thank you, Krishni

Western Conenose Bug

Western Blood-Sucking Conenose Bug

Dear Krishni,
This is not a beetle.  It is a species of Assassin Bug known as a Kissing Bug or Western Conenose Bug,
Triatoma protracta.  You can compare your individual to this image on BugGuide.  Though it is not a poisonous species, it is of some concern because they carry a pathogen known to cause Chagas Disease.  Chagas Disease is a much greater threat in the tropics than it is in the United States, but there is a possibility that your daughter might have contracted the protozoan that causes Chagas Disease.  According to BugGuide:  “Bite can cause severe allergic reaction in many humans. Bite and defecation into bite can transmit Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan. The most notorious vector is T. infestans, found in South America. The North American species are not normally thought to transmit the disease, though they can carry the parasite. (The North American species do not normally defecate at the site of the bite, which is what actually transmits the parasite–see Kissing bugs (Triatoma) and the skin [University of California eScholarship]. The CDC site says that rare vector-borne cases of Chagas disease have been noted in the so. US.”  You may want to contact the Center for Disease Control for additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What type of moth?
Location: Central Maryland
November 1, 2015 10:40 am
First time I’ve seen this and I’m a bit perplexed? Maybe a wasp moth although banding doesn’t seem to fit.
It was seen in the morning on Nov 1st in the Baltimore, Md area on a colder rainy day.
Flagellate antennaes, orange body black tail and overall fuzzy. 6 legs and clear wings with black veins and a bright yellow tinge at the attachment point of the wings.
Signature: Steve Sheggrud

Euonymus Leaf Notcher Moth

Euonymus Leaf Notcher Moth

Dear Steve,
That was a good guess, but this is actually an invasive, exotic Euonymus Leaf Notcher Moth,
Pryeria sinica, a species from Asia first detected in Maryland in 2001 according to BugGuide.  We first reported on the Euonymus Leaf Notcher in 2005.  Since sightings of the adult moth are most common late in the fall, and since this is an invasive species that gardeners should know about, we are tagging this as our Bug of the Month for November 2015.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Indianapolis
October 10, 2015 6:50 pm
We have had such an amazing journey with the Luna Moth this summer … starting with the large green caterpillar stowing away in a bag in early June, later to be found as a cocoon inside the bag, which when placed on our screened in porch … emerged as the beautiful moth several weeks later. Upon attempting to set it free (by opening the screened door at night in hopes that it would fly out during the night), she instead attracted her mate to the porch, and 250 eggs later … we soon found ourselves providing walnut leaves for a large sum of caterpillars for about 40 days. They all cocooned and we were banking on them overwintering in their cocoons, when to our surprise … two have emerged … and they have already attracted a mate (from beyond the screened porch) who found the screened in porch last night. I fear that we will start the cycle again, and there won’t be enough leaves still on the trees (Indiana) to keep them fed until they pupate. Plus, its getting cold outside. Should I bring them inside, or let nature take its course?
Signature: Ellen in Indiana

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Dear Ellen,
We are speechless about your submission, but at least we have the wherewithal to title it the “Story of the Year for 2015” and to post your three gorgeous images, which we took the liberty of cropping and formatting for web.

Mating Luna Moths

Mating Luna Moths

Good Morning Ellen,
We believe you should try to raise some of the caterpillars in captivity and release the others into the wild.  According the BugGuide, the caterpillars will feed upon the leaves of:  “The caterpillars eat a variety of trees including white birch (Betula papyrifera), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), hickories (Carya), walnuts (Juglans), pecans, and sumacs (Rhus).”  Thankfully you have choices other than walnut for feeding the caterpillars.  You can also turn to Bill Oehlke’s magnificent site on Silkmoths for instructions on raising Luna Moth Caterpillars, though it sounds like you don’t have much need for that information.  Not all adults emerge at the same time and having generations of moths mature at different times is undoubtedly a benefit to the species.  Thanks again for your thrilling account of raising Luna Moths.

The Next Generation: Hatchling Luna Moth Caterpillars

The Next Generation: Hatchling Luna Moth Caterpillars

Update:  October 12, 2015
Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I had another female emerge today and have attached a short video. This is before her wings dried and expanded. The male who showed up on Sat., I think must have been close to his last days. There has been no pairing activity and pretty sure that he will expire soon. Planning to leave the porch door open tonight to let the females fly off if they wish, or attract another male to the porch if there are any in the vicinity. Really hoping that the remainder of the pupae remain cocooned for the winter! Again, thank you for the reply. I have had fun sharing the link to the Story of the Year!!
Ellen

You can try refrigerating the remaining cocoons to prevent them from hatching until spring.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Alabama
September 30, 2015 2:07 pm
Please tell me what kind of bug this is.
Signature: Thank you. Tammy p

Southern Flannel Moth

Southern Flannel Moth

Dear Tammy p,
This is a Southern Flannel Moth,
Megalopyge opercularis, and your individual is a male as evidenced by the feathery antennae and pronounced markings.  Though you might not be familiar with the adult moth, many folks in the South are quite familiar with its larval form, commonly called a Puss Caterpillar or Asp.  According to BugGuide:  “Caution, caterpillars have painful sting.  Occasionally, in outbreak years, puss caterpillars are sufficiently numerous to defoliate some trees (Bishopp 1923). However, their main importance is medical. In Texas, they have been so numerous in some years that schools in San Antonio in 1923 and Galveston in 1951 were closed temporarily because of stings to children (Diaz 2005).”  Images of the Asp are much more common on our site that those of the adult Southern Flannel Moth.  Since it is the first of October, we have selected your submission to be our featured Bug of the Month for October 2015.

Asps from our archive

Asps (image from our archive)

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination