Subject:  Green caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  South Africa, highveld
Date: 02/19/2019
Time: 09:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These are about an inch long, and are aggressively moving through my garden. May be responsible for some painful skin reactions, but unconfirmed. Any idea what they are, and what they’ll turn into?
How you want your letter signed:  Jon

Stinging Slug Caterpillars

Dear Jon,
These are Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limocodidae and we have previously identified them as
Latoia vivida.  Stinging Slug Caterpillars should be handled with extreme caution as they are capable of delivering a painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Please I’d this insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Illinois
Date: 02/17/2019
Time: 04:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Went camping with my Boy Scouts in sandwich Illinois.  Found this bug when we brought our gear home.  Unsure what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Ben Bentley Scoutmaster Troop 102

Masked Hunter

Dear Ben,
This is a Masked Hunter, the immature form of a predatory Assassin Bug that has a sticky exoskeleton.  Debris sticks to the Masked Hunter, effectively camouflaging it.  Masked Hunters should be handled with caution.  Though the bite is not considered dangerous, it can be painful.

Subject:  lage wasp like
Geographic location of the bug:  Suriname, South America
Date: 02/17/2019
Time: 08:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi i live in Suriname and never came across this bug before. What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Marlon

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Marlon,
This appears to be a Tarantula Hawk in the genus
Pepsis, or a closely related genus.  Female Tarantula Hawks prey upon Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders, stinging them to paralyze them.  The paralyzed Tarantula is buried after the female Tarantula Hawk lays an egg.  When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the still living, but paralyzed Tarantula.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.”

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.

Sir,
Thank you for your gracious and comprehensive reply. I look forward to metamorphosis.
Their beauty is far from common.

 

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.”