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

Ed. Note:  It was not until after we prepared a response for this query that we noticed what we consider to be a rude (as well as incoherent) retort to our automated response.  Though it seems ? was upset at not receiving the requested product, we did not feel that our free internet service should have received such a terse comment, hence we are tagging this posting with the Nasty Reader Award, despite it being not quite as toxic as some other postings with that tag.  Perhaps the original product order contained similar grammatical errors and truncated sentences which resulted in shipping the wrong product.

Subject: identification
Location: bellingham wa
May 9, 2016 7:39 am
I ordered a REAL LIVE BLUE PHILENOR PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY CHRYSALIS PUPA COCOON. in the description it said the pupa would be brown or green but this is what they sent. do you have any idea what this is?
Signature: ?

Our Automated Response:
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Why do you say you will if you do not? I would not of given my email address if.I would of known that you don’t answer back

Moth Pupae

Moth Pupae

These are definitely not the Chrysalides of any Swallowtail Butterfly.  They are Moth Pupae.  If you purchased from a North American supplier, they might be Regal Moth Pupae.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Comment:  After reading the first three comments that arrived, we decided to upgrade this posting to the Nasty Reader tag.

Subject: Comments, Responses, & Sad Backpedaling
January 24, 2016 4:35 am
I am a biologist and I work for the Government. I mention this only to reveal my familiarity with reading disturbing and mysterious things. I have been on your site several times hoping to see something interesting. Tonight I did, though not topically expected.  Areas now perfectly clear are:
1)  Nothing here of more knowledge or with  more information than a public high school text book.
2) That you care.
3)You attempt to deflect this by mockery and  wildly unwarranted superiority.
4) That this site does more than babysit its curator’s undernourished egos.
On reading a post , a  schoolyard comment  from another reader, your curiously condescending and marginalizing reply, the rebuke  .. and wait for it…the transparent cowardice of your denial. Perhaps you overlooked a small detail. Tiny detail really..its just that you  typed words on the page.   Hands in pockets and  think  words really, really hard next time? Just a thought.
It’s not too late for this to morph into a catalyst for positive change. Love yourself a little more and understand that cruelty is a game played in shallow water.  Ultimately you will lose. The rest of us can clearly see your feet.
Signature: Amanda

Dear Amanda,
We do consider this website and our life both to be works in progress and we like to think that we have evolved considerably since we first began writing What’s That Bug? in 1998.  From the very beginning, we have maintained that we have no credentials to provide scientific information and we have always strived for our site to be a pop culture site that is accessible to the average person rather than to be a true scientific endeavor targeting intellectual specialists.  That there is “nothing here of more knowledge or with more information than a public high school text book” is not a problem in our mind because there is no requirement that the web browsing public possesses a college degree.  Many children visit our site and a high school text book would be quite educational.  Out of concern for younger readers, we try our best to keep a clean site, so we do not use vulgar language. 

We always defer to true experts, so we question your allegations of our “wildly unwarranted superiority.”  With that stated, your comment has us a bit confused.  There is some praise there, but it is overshadowed by your criticism of our editorial stance.  We are well aware that once content enters cyberspace, it gains a life of its own and it is nearly impossible to rescind, so we actually do carefully consider our words prior to hitting the publish button.  We are not infallible and we do not apologize for our ego.  It can be argued that anyone who enters public life in any way, be it running a blog or running for public office, has an inflated ego. 

Your comment seems to refer to a specific posting with “a schoolyard comment from another reader” and our “transparent cowardice” and what you perceive as “cruelty” on our part, but without a real citation to correspond to your criticism on how we have chosen to run our own public site, we can neither justify our stance nor clarify or defend the meaning of what we have written.  Clearly your background in biology and your position as a government employee has prepared to to analyze our psyche.  In our opinion, your focus on our use of occasional sarcasm vastly overshadows the public service we provide free of charge.

Elise from Facebook Comments.
January 24 at 6:21pm
Love your page, and appreciate that you tried to interpret that sometimes incoherent comment. The poster seems to lack both a sense of humor and a mastery of basic sentence structure. Keep doing what you do.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Though it is nowhere near as virulent as other nasty emails we have received, we have decided this posting needs to be tagged with our Nasty Reader Award nonetheless.  Perhaps we are being overly sensitive, but the followup communication from M R just rubbed us the wrong way by implying that our personal (and originally unposted) response was not sufficient.  First, the original email we received did not even include a question, and by all appearances, including the use of abbreviations, this was a hasty submission.  We are a free internet service and we do not have the time to do extensive research on every request we receive.  The image is out of focus, and it is not attractive.  We choose requests with catchy subject lines, attractive images, interesting anecdotes or rare sightings for posting purposes because we find them more interesting, and we believe our readership will also find them more interesting.  We responded to MR the same day the submission was made, and it took MR more than a day to put a species name to the Cicada.  Exact species identifications are frequently time consuming, as MR learned, and we had no clue from the information we received that a species name was even desired.  Granted, our identification was general, but it was correct.  Getting what seems to be a snotty reply that “I figured that a bug id ‘What’s That Bug’ would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada” seemed totally unnecessary and crafted to demean our site.  So, after a hiatus of more than three years, we are finally awarding our Ninth Nasty Reader Award.  We are also linking to BugGuide for information on Neotibicen dorsatus, the Bush Cicada.  

Subject: Bug
Location: TX
August 18, 2015 1:53 am
Don’t know what this bug is called
Signature: M R


Bush Cicada

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, wrote:

August 20, 10:02 PM
It’s a Cicada ( Tibicen Dorsatus) Took some time but I was able to locate it.
I figured that a bug id “What’s That Bug” would have at least figured out that it was a Cicada.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  A mere ten days after making this post, it quickly rose to the fifth “most liked” posting on our site.

Ed. Note:  We haven’t awarded a Nasty Reader Award in quite some time since most folks who write to us are polite and quite understanding that our small staff is unable to respond to every question we receive.  This morning we happened upon this flurry of emails from Alexis Crowell, that came within three hours of one another.  Seems Alexis is demanding instant gratification and furthermore, (S)he has deplorable grammar.  Additionally, U.S.A. is a very broad location when it comes to trying to determine the identify of many insects that have a very localized range.  Further research into the matter revealed that Alexis did not even take the photographs, but rather pilfered them from other websites.  With that said, we are unable to even respond to this rude query with any accuracy.  It also appears that despite the poor grammar and spelling, Alexis has referred to our staff with a derogatory sexual orientation slur in the final correspondence that occurred a scant two hours and 45 minutes after the initial email.  Seems Alexis is not only rude, but a person who demands instant gratification.  For all  of the above reasons, we are pleased to award Alexis Crowell of the U.S.A. as our latest Nasty Reader Award recipient.

Subject: are they rare?
Location: U.S.A
August 14, 2012 3:08 pm
dear bugman,is the pink inchworm rare or is it not that rare. is there not that many inch worms?
Signature: sinnceraly, Alexis Crowell

Ed Note:  Our immediate automated response
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:08 PM
Subject: Identification Request: are they rare?
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Alexis Crowell
3:19 PM (18 hours ago)
dear bugman it is ok
you cant just try we are really curious about this unknown bug.

Alexis Crowell
5:10 PM (17 hours ago)

Alexis Crowell
5:53 PM (16 hours ago)
texts back faget

Pink Inchworm from

Our online submission form clearly states:  “By submitting an identification request and/or photo(s), you give permission to use your words and image(s) on their website and other publications. Also, you swear that you either took the photo(s) yourself or have explicit permission from the photographer or copyright holder to use the image.”  Both of the images you have submitted have been pilfered from other internet websites, most likely without permission which is a copyright violation.  One image came from and the other is a photo credited to Dave Green posted on which can be accessed by clicking the Photo of Pink Inchworm link.  You have plagiarized the work of other photographers and submitted them using our online form that specifically indicates that you have taken the photos or you have permission to use the photos.  Additionally, your flurry of emails in rapid succession ending in an incorrectly spelled sexual orientation slur has gained you the distinction of being awarded the Nasty Reader Award as well as a feature on our scrolling announcement bar.  The Nasty Reader Award is a distinction we have not had the pleasure to award in over two and a half years, which is an indication that most people who write to us are polite and well mannered.  Please search elsewhere for information on Pink Inchworms.  Responding to you is not worth any more of our time which is quite precious to us.

Pink Inchworm from Daylight 44

Ed. Note:  excerpt from another response.
… so sorry you had to award your Nasty Reader award … what a jerk !
the rest of us really love what you are doing and appreciate your time, efforts, and your willingness to share your knowledge.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fan letter, no response requested
January 31, 2011 3:50 pm
I have just spent the morning re-visiting your site, one of the very best in the world in my humble opinion. To my knowledge, no one else is doing what you do. Just one reason for your work: songbirds of all kinds are in serious decline, in no small measure due to pesticide use. Private individuals are often the worst offenders in use of widely available, broad-spectrum pesticides. We all need to learn not to unthinkingly destroy invertebrates.
Unnecessary Carnage” is important as well as entertaining (if tragic), and the entire “Nasty Readership” section has made me laugh more today than anything has in weeks. You guys are incredible. I know it’s a lot to ask of volunteers with important, time-consuming day jobs, but please never stop!
Signature: Lee White

Hi Lee,
Thanks so much for your kind letter.  It is really appreciated.

Me again, sorry — more supportive thoughts
February 1, 2011 1:36 am
I have been sitting here for some time now, re-reading your marvelous responses to irate readers. These are people who have been trained to believe that the customer, however ignorant and infantile, deserves immediate gratification and an ego stroke in the process. “Ooh, was the bug scary? Oh you poor thing! I can’t believe you waited hours for my unpaid labor!” It thrills me beyond words that you don’t play that game.
As to the smash-first response (“But I was scared!” “I feared for the safety of the chiilldrennn…”), how hard is it to brush the critter off and count some legs? Education is everything! As a California child, I feared the dreaded potato bug, but eventually learned to appreciate it as the harmless and charming Jerusalem cricket. Of course, some people don’t care; they smash because they just don’t like bugs, or because “it’s only a bug”. As I recently told my  classmate, who smirked while I took some trapped boxelder bugs outside, “they understand suffering as well as you do”. Unnecessary carnage is not okay.
Signature: Lee White

Potato Bug from our archives

Thanks for your additional insight Lee.  We have found a nice image of a Potato Bug from our archives to illustrate your passionate and supportive letter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Nasty reader award
Location: Maryland
October 26, 2010 12:34 am
Love, love, love your site. I find it very informative and am pleased to say that I now think before I squish. (I admit, though, that cockroaches are squished without a second thought. Fortunately I haven’t had roaches to squish since I lived in that one questionable apartment…) anyway, I wanted to say kudos to you for having the ”Nasty Reader Award” links. Too often the people who write nasty letters get no comeuppance (sp?) and it gives me great satisfaction to see that at least a few of these horrible people face some kind of recourse. Keep up the great work, both with the bugs and the karma. (PS- I included the pic of me because for some reason the site wouldn’t let me send this w/out a pic. Please don’t post it! Thanks!)
Signature: Faithful reader in Maryland

Dear Faithful reader in Maryland,
Thank you for your nice letter.  We are pleased to hear that our website has contributed toward your appreciation of and tolerance for the lower beasts.  We admit that we ourselves have very little tolerance for certain creatures, like the Argentine Ants that have colonized Southern California.  While we will tolerate them in the garden, they are dispatched without mercy should they happen to invade the kitchen.  We are happy to honor your request not to publish the beguiling image of you dancing at what looks like a fun party because What’s That Bug? does not run a dating service and we imagine that we would be getting countless comments and requests from the eligible gentlemen among our readership if we were to run your photo.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination