Subject:  Unknown Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  California Coastal
Date: 02/16/2019
Time: 12:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I keep finding these bugs dead on my floor. I opened some boxes from overseas so that my be where they came from.
How you want your letter signed:  Simon

Lawn Shrimp

Dear Simon,
You are correct that this Terrestrial Amphipod, commonly called a Lawn Shrimp or House Hopper, is from oversees, however, we do not believe it came from your boxes.  Lawn Shrimp have been reported in Southern California for many years.  According to BugGuide, their range is “Southeastern Australia (New South Wales and Victoria), as well as nearby areas of the Pacific, but introduced into New Zealand, the British Isles, Florida and California” and “Non-native; introduced probably from Australia along with blue-gum eucalyptus trees in the 1800s. First recorded in San Francisco, CA in 1967.”  They are not usually noticed until we have soaking rains and they seek shelter from the water-soaked ground.  BugGuide notes:  “These are rarely seen except when flooding or lack of moisture forces them to abandon their home in the soil in search for suitable conditions. At such times they often end up dieing on pavement or in homes and become a nuisance. Once they start appearing, there’s not much that can be done except to sweep them up- pesticides are pointless, bcause by then they’re already dying or dead.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Decimators
Geographic location of the bug:  North-East Coast of Taiwan
Date: 02/15/2019
Time: 05:23 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Learn’d Fellows,
Every year at this time, my wild fig, having just sent forth it’s tremulous new leaves, is malevolently machete’d bare by these horned devil mowers. I have transplanted them to a wilder fig. Still I would  like to know my foe. Some deep-leaf sleeper-cells remain. Thanking you, in solidarity, ever-vigilantly.
How you want your letter signed:  Castellano

Common Mapwing Caterpillars

Dear Castellano,
We believe these are butterfly caterpillars from the family Nymphalidae, and that is where we are going to begin our research.  Thanks for providing the host plant.  That is often extremely helpful, and that information quickly produced this FlickR image of a Common Map Butterfly Caterpillar,
Cyrestis thyodamas, and the poster wrote:  “The curious mind must ask, why is this caterpillar like this?  My observational response is that these larvae feed on the new leaves of Ficus trees. Developing shoots appear as tightly swirled red tips at the ends of branches and these caterpillars line themselves up along the axis of open leaves, heads closest to the origin of the leaf, with their spines imitating the fresh foliage that is developing.”  We like the name Common Mapwing which is used on Learn About Butterflies where it states:  “The Common Mapwing is usually encountered singly or in two’s and three’s, in open forest edge habitats. Males are often seen on gravel roads or along pebble-strewn river beaches, where they bask in full sunlight while imbibing mineralised moisture. They are initially nervous and difficult to approach but once they start imbibing they tend to remain at the same spot for several minutes.  Females are seen less often, but sometimes encountered along forest trails, or nectaring at flowers in forest gardens.  Both sexes habitually rest beneath leaves with their wings outspread.  Less commonly they will bask on the upper surface of large leaves, but tend to only do so in areas of dappled sunlight.”  This represents a new species for our site.

 

Subject:  Stink bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Framingham, MA
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 03:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman!
My daughter reached out to me with pics of an insect she and her hubby are finding in their new home in Framingham, MA. Apparently with the cold weather, they’re finding an increasing number of these critters around the windowsills. They look suspiciously like stink bugs, yet I’ve seen other similar-looking insects that are not stink bugs.
Please advise. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Kenda

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Hi Kenda,
This is indeed a Stink Bug.  It is an invasive, exotic Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an Asian species first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, and it has now spread across North America.  It poses a serious threat to agriculture as it is known to feed from over 300 different plant species.  According to BugGuide:  “n the US, reported to damage apples, pears, peaches, cherries, corn, tomatoes, peppers, soybean, ornamentals…”  Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs frequently enter homes to hibernate when the weather cools.  They will not harm the home, but they are a nuisance if they are plentiful.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Thank you, Daniel. What would you suggest to be the least harmful way to remove them from the home? Should my daughter and son-in-law be concerned about eggs in and around the home or do the Stink Bugs lay on specific plants/crops?
Grazie mille!
Kenda

Hi Kenda,
When it comes to invasive species like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, we have no reservations about squashing individuals found in the home.  If you are concerned about not harming the bug, the best way to remove it is with a martini glass or wine glass.  Trap the insect in the vessel and slip a postcard under the rim and then transport the insect outside.  We use that method with stinging insects and any that we do not want to handle either because they might bite or because they are especially delicate.  We doubt they will lay eggs in the home, and the list of outdoor plants upon which they will feed is quite extensive, so we are presuming something they will eat is growing in your daughter’s yard.

Update:  February 17, 2019
A Facebook comment by Fern mentioned this New Yorker article where it states:  “What makes the brown marmorated stinkbug unique, though, is not just its tendency to congregate in extremely large numbers but the fact that it boasts a peculiar and unwelcome kind of versatility. Very few household pests destroy crops; fleas and bedbugs are nightmarish, but not if you’re a field of corn. Conversely, very few agricultural pests pose a problem indoors; you’ll seldom hear of people confronting a swarm of boll weevils in their bedroom. But the brown marmorated stinkbug has made a name for itself by simultaneously threatening millions of acres of American farmland and grossing out the occupants of millions of American homes.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  identify bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Santa Maria California
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 03:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I just found this bug on my front porch and wanted to find out what it is.  I just moved to California from back East and have never seen a bug like this before!
How you want your letter signed:  LCS

Potato Bug

Dear LCS,
Welcome to California.  This is arguably the most iconic California insect, the Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean Orthopteran that is driven to the surface by rains.  Your images are awesome.

Potato Bug

Thank you so much!  I have gotten attached to the little guy and would like to keep him but my kids think it’s weird!  So I had better put him back outside!  Have never had a “bug pet” before!!  Thanks again,  LCS

Subject:  What’s in the eggplant patch?
Geographic location of the bug:  Brisbane, Australia (inner city)
Date: 02/15/2019
Time: 01:41 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
These bugs have been in my eggplant patch for some time now. I am still getting eggplants so they don’t seem too harmful, but no one knows what they are! They can fly, but they seem to prefer walking. I once counted 30 in the patch.
Location: Brisbane, Australia. Time: Summer. Maybe relevant this is in a fifth floor balcony garden. There are plenty of bugs in the garden overall, but these ones seem to have a monopoly on the eggplant.
How you want your letter signed:  The Curious Eggplant Grower

Mango Flower Beetles

Dear Curious Eggplant Grower,
You had us with your subject line:  What’s in the eggplant patch?
These are Scarab Beetles and we are inclined to speculate they are in the Fruit and Flower Chafer subfamily Cetoniinae.  We are continuing research; we just wanted you to know where to begin your own research.
There seems to be a considerable amount of variation in color and markings on the Mango Flower Beetle,
Protaetia fusca, pictured on the Brisbane Insect site, but though none exactly matches the warm golden-bronze color of the individuals you submitted, we nonetheless believe that species is correct.
Based on the images and the statement “Elytra of male with apical spines, female lacking spines” posted on the Hawaiian Scarab ID site, the individual on the right in your image, with the spines on the posterior ends of the elytra or wing covers, is a male.  The site also states:  “In Australia, both adults and larvae are found throughout the year. Females deposit as many as 147 eggs in humus during their 6–7 month adult lifespans. Larvae feed on organic materials within the soil rather than live plant roots and reached maturity in roughly 50 days. Natural enemies include wasps (
Scolia spp.) that attack larvae, a variety of birds, and Aspergillus fIavus (a fungus that sometimes infects adults).”
We have been getting numerous comments lately from Australia regarding the Blue Flower Wasp, an Australian Scoliid Wasp, indicating they have plentiful prey, the larvae of Scarab Beetles.

Thanks so much! I think you are on the money!
Although, I am a little fascinated they are just sticking to the eggplants, and ignoring the other delights, such as the mango tree!

Subject:  Milkweed Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Florida
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 12:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman!
While visiting friends in Rockledge, Florida, they showed me one of their milkweed plants that had many of these milkweed bugs on them. I haven’t, in the past, considered them to be harmful to milkweed, but would (roughly) 20 insects on one plant kill the it?
They are pesticide-free (unlike much of the rest of Florida ah-hem), so they’re either letting them be or picking them off. What advice can I give them?
Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Kenda

Large Milkweed Bug

Hi Kenda,
Large Milkweed Bugs will not harm the plant.  They do feed on seeds, so large numbers of Large Milkweed Bugs might reduce seed production, but again, they do not harm the milkweed plants.

Excellent news! Thanks for all you do, Daniel, to make the planet a better place!
Cheers,
Kenda