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

Subject: Swarms of wood chewing bugs
Location: grand rapids, michigan
April 12, 2014 4:35 pm
At first glance I thought “carpenter ants,” but that’s only because we have a massive carpenter ant issue in our neighborhood. Upon taking a closer look, I realized that they were definitely not carpenter ants. They come in swarms of 20-50 and land on any exposed wood in the area. At first it seemed that they were just congregating, but I noticed that the totem pole I’d been carving was starting to look smoother… Like someone had come around and sanded it for me. Since Wednesday of last week I’d noticed that the entire pole was covered in these things, but was too busy with other things to look closer. Today I went out and got a good look, and it was pretty clear that their mandibles were working extra hard. They were gorging away. I’ve had no luck identifying them on my own, and more than anything I’m just really curious what they are. They don’t seem to come from any particular direction, one minute there’s none , and five minutes later there’s dozens of them. They aren’t the best flyers, and seem to land in the grass every few feet before launching off again.
Signature: dave

Sawfly Chews Wood!!!  But Why???

Sawfly Chews Wood!!! But Why???

Hi Dave,
We wanted to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion on this perplexing behavior prior to assembling the posting.  Chewing wood is generally a behavior associated with paper wasps and hornets that use the wood pulp in the construction of a nest.  The numbers of wasps you observed coming to your totem pole at the same time also implies that this is some type of social wasp, but it resembles a Wood Wasp more than a social wasp.  Here is what Eric Eaton wrote back.

Dolerus Sawfly chews wood, but why???

Dolerus Sawfly chews wood, but why???

Eric Eaton provided an identification, but cannot explain behavior
Daniel:
Ok, I can identify the wasps, but cannot explain the behavior….
The wasps are sawflies in the genus Dolerus (pretty sure anyway, definitely sawflies).  I’ll ask around and see if anyone can explain them flocking to a wood carving.
Eric

Sawfly attracted to wood shavings.

Sawfly attracted to wood shavings.

Update:  Thanks to Eric Eaton’s identification, we were able to locate an image of a Dolerus Sawfly on BugGuide that does indeed resemble the Sawflies in your images, and it is also crawling on some exposed wood.  There is no explanation regarding what is going on in these BugGuide images, nor in this BugGuide image.  This Cirrus Image website provides some information, including “Their flight is slow and clumsy, resembling that of a common firefly. Larvae feed on various grasses.”  But alas, there is no information on wood chewing activities.

Thanks for the identification!  Its quite odd, they definitely match the description, especially the clumsy flight.  On that note they certainly don’t fly together, they arrive one at a time within a minute or two of each other.  I had to take down some tree limbs today and sure enough the cut ends of the limbs were crawling with these guys within a few minutes.  The odd thing is they don’t interact with each other at all.  In fact it really looks like they are just sitting there.  If you get really close however, you can see their mandibles are hard at work.  They don’t really leave any marks, it seems that they just clean off any small dangling bits of wood.  Yesterday I noticed one had its abdomen curled down in an awkward position as though it was a bee trying to sting the wood.  But I haven’t seen any others do that.  But its like they can smell fresh cut wood for miles, because you won’t see them all day, but cut a log and they’re everywhere.
Thanks again!  You’ve definitely satisfied my curiosity, even if their behavior leaves a new mystery to solve.
Dave

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please identify
Location: San Jose, Ca
March 11, 2014 3:37 pm
Hello Savior(at least I hope),
My name is Dana John and I live in San Jose, Ca. Last February I was chemically burned from the inside out after taking Penicillin, 1 in a million reaction, and was left with open wounds all over my body. I was also told to smear steroids all over my skin/scalp for months to help with healing and that left me with no immunity. As of now all the holes have healed except on my scalp, meanwhile I have been going crazy due to this bug I will attach photos of. Docs treat me like I am insane and I know I haven’t lost my mind!! I don’t know if this bug is being birthed from my skin or attracted to some type of fungus or mold that may be growing on my skin. Our Vet sent specimens of it to be identified and Cornell University said it was a Crustacian??? Now we are beyond stumped and as the warm summer approaches I am terrified as whatever this thing is it prefers warmer temperatures. I look forward to what you have to say and hope I find help somehow, someway!! I also should say that the photo where you see a darker version of this insect….the darker part of the body is wings that are covering a large thorax that is an amber color.
Signature: Sincerely, Dana John

Springtail, we believe

Springtail, we believe

Dear Dana,
First we want to say that we empathize with your problem, but we are not really qualified to diagnose medical conditions.  The images you provided appear to be of three distinctly different looking “creatures” and one appears to be a benign Springtail, which you can compare to images on BugGuide.  Springtails are commonly found in the home and they can become a nuisance if they are plentiful, but again, they are benign.  According to BugGuide:  “Springtails are ‘decomposers’ that thrive mostly on decaying organic matter, especially vegetable matter. They may also graze on spores of molds and mildews, especially indoors where there is a lack of other food sources.”  We are unable at this time to identify the other two images.

What's That Bug?

What’s That Bug?

What's That Bug???

What’s That Bug???

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange Ladybug behavior (keeps walking in circles)
Location: Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico
March 11, 2014 4:45 pm
Hi Bugman,
A week ago from now, I found a ladybug in our backyard that could only walk in circles. It was in direct sunlight, just going round and round, so I decided to do something to prevent a likely death from dehydration, and brought it inside.
It’s been with me for the last 7 days, and I have been feeding it small insects when I can, and when I can’t, it seems to enjoy feeding on rice and sugar. I’ve also been keeping a wet Q-tip in its “cage”. But after 7 days, even when it seems to still be in good health, it is still going round and round, and hasn’t stopped.
Just yesterday, I noticed that it began to walk in straight segments for the first time, but each straight run would still always end up in turning back and completing a loop. It also will not fly, although sometimes it extends its wings a bit.
So, my question is not what kind of bug this is, but rather, why is it displaying such bizarre behavior. All of its legs are intact and move fluidly. Is it possible that it was just born crazy somehow? Was its nervous system damaged by a pesticide possibly? As far as I know, there are no pesticides in our backyard.
I found a video on youtube of another person who observed the exact same behavior:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiA1wZI1oSI
And here’s a video of my own ladybug the moment I found it:
http://www.2yr.net/VIDEO0089.mp4
This behavior is beyond my comprehension! It seems so purposeless and suicidal of it to behave like that…
Signature: Humberto

Ladybird Beetle

Ladybird Beetle

Dear Humberto,
We don’t know the answer to your question, but we will post your submission, feature it on our web page, and hope that someone writes in who can provide some information.  We pondered the possibility of some sort of parasite, and though we discovered there is a Wasp that parasitizes a Lady Beetle, turning it into a “zombie bodyguard”, the walking in circles behavior is not mentioned.  See Science Daily for an account of the wasp parasitization.

Update:  March 16, 2014
Hello,
Thank you so much for your kind response, Mr. Marlos! Here’s an update: The ladybug escaped a few days ago, but was recaptured about 12 hours later. I have recently discovered aphids in our rose plants, and brought a good few into the ladybug’s enclosure, where it has been feasting on them. It is still going in circles though. The first 4 days, the circles it was making were fairly uniform, but now they sometimes distend into straight segments. I have learned a lot about ladybugs just by observing this one. If she stops running in circles before her normal lifespan is over, I will be sure to let you know. I read the article you linked, which was fascinating, but I’m afraid I don’t know how to tell if this ladybug has ever been parasitized.
Thank you! I’m glad to hear I’ve reported on something that was unheard of (I wouldn’t want to send any trivial questions!).
Cheers!
-Humberto

Thanks for the update Humberto.  We look forward to any additional observations you might have.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caught during fishing
Location: Brunei darussalam – river
December 12, 2013 4:09 am
Someone send me this photo, his friend caught it while fishing, i wonder what it is?
Signature: Hazwan

That's That Bug???

That’s That Bug???

Dear Hazwan,
We don’t even know where to begin to classify this thing.  We hope you are able to provide additional information.  How large was this thing?  Was it caught with a net or a fishing pole?  Are there any additional photos showing the underside?  Perhaps one of our readers can assist with this identification.  We did need to research your location, and we have learned on InfoPlease that Brunei is a small country on the north coast of Borneo.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bumble Bee Assult
Location: Central Michigan
November 27, 2013 6:51 pm
Greetings, I took this picture back in 2005 when out of a mid morning walk through a semi wooded in Michigan. Eastern side of the northern L.P. (Yale if ya can find it on a map). I recently came across the image again and I’m baffled by what is attacking(?) that poor bee. Doesn’t look like a mosquito, but does appear to attacking like one. Wish a had a shot from the other side, but they both took off when I tried moving around them. Wondering if you can help identify the attacker, and clarify if this is an aggressive attack leading to the bees death or just a blood meal feeding like mosquitos do? Thanks
Signature: Glenn

Golden Northern Bumble Bee attacked by possibly Tachinid Fly

Golden Northern Bumble Bee and Syrphid FLy

Hi Glenn,
We believe, but we are not certain, that your bee is a Golden Northern Bumble Bee,
Bombus fervidus, and you can compare your image to photos posted to BugGuide.  We are guessing the fly is a Tachinid Fly, and according to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Most tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby. Some tachinids lay their eggs on foliage; the larvae are flattened and are called planidia; they remain on the foliage until they find a suitable host.“  We will check with Eric Eaton to get his opinion on this photo.

Eric Eaton provides some input
Looks like a male bumble bee of some kind, with a syrphid riding on it (Allograpta, Toxomerus, or something else, awkward angle at which to make an identification of either insect).
Eric

Hi,
Thanks for the quick reply, and information. Has a tough shot, had the camera about a foot over my head trying to see the screen at a pretty shallow angle. But it’s had me wondering back then and now. I presume it leads to the death of the bumble bee over time. Seems internal feeding wouldn’t bode well for the host =(
Hope ya had a good Thanksgiving
Glenn

Hi again Glenn,
Eric Eaton believes the fly to be a Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae.  If that is the case, it most likely just alighted on the Bumble Bee and there was no predation involved.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Worms in Chile’s Atacama Desert sand dunes
Location: Atacama Desert, Chile
November 20, 2013 6:16 am
In the sand dunes of the Atacama Desert, near the city of Copiapo (Chile), I found strange lines near the crest of the dunes. When I looked closer I saw that some of them at one end were advancing. Digging with the finger into the sand I found little worms, not more than 1 cm long.
These dunes only receive some moisture from the coastal fog.
I was wondering what these worms live of and what species they are?
Signature: Gerhard Huedepohl

Mysterious Dune Tracks

Mysterious Dune Tracks

Hi Gerhard,
We have prepared all of your images for posting prior to doing any research, and we are not certain if we will find an answer, but we really wanted to post your request prior to leaving for work.  We couldn’t find anything quickly, but perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a comment with a link that helps to solve this mystery.

Dune Worm

Dune Worm

Hi Daniel,
thank you very much for this message. I have also tried to find information on the web, but without success so far. That’s why I hope really to find out some information with your help.
Lets see, if something comes up.
Best regards,
Gerhard

Hi again Gerhard,
You might want to post a comment to the posting in the event the answer doesn’t come for several years. 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination