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.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

Subject:  Colourful fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Oak Beach qld
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 09:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Spotted this beautiful fly.  First time I have seen one like this.  Just wondering what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Rhonda

Tachinid Fly

Dear Rhonda,
This is a parasitic 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. Some 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.”  Your individual resembles this colorful Tachinid Fly from New Guinea.  The Museums Victoria Collection has a similar looking individual identified in the genus Rutilia.  This Rutilia species on FlickR also looks similar, but not exactly correct.  The Brisbane Insect site has images of several species in the genus Rutilia, and we believe the genus is correct, but we are not certain of the species.  Tachinid Flies are called Bristle Flies in Australia.