From the monthly archives: "July 2003"

We live in the hills in Los Angeles, and were recently visited by – what we discovered on your site to be – wind scorpions or sun spiders. However, last week we discovered a NEW and more FRIGHTEINING scorpion in a bedroom, and yet another today on our back patio. Would this be a WIND scorpion? It has a tail with a little stinger on it, as well as little claws on its front legs. It’s really creepy looking. Also, is it poisonous and does its sting contain venom? Or would it just simply "sting." I’ve attached a photo for your viewing pleasure! Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciate. Thanks!

It appears to be a Striped Tailed Scorpion, Paruroctonus silvestrii, which has venom like all scorpions, and will sting readily, but will do no lasting harm. There are four conspicuous dark brown lines on the underside of the tail, which is unfortunately not visible in your photo.

i found this bug outside my home in rural NC a few weeks ago. What is this bug?

Dear Samantha,
It looks like a type of Assassin Bug, but I can’t tell you the exact species.

Any Insectologists out there? Anybody have a clue as to what kind of insect this is? I found it just now on my screen door.

Dear Fred,
Looks like a hemipteran (true bug) of some type, maybe an assassin bug. I have inquiries out to some experts. I will get back to you. Your photo is amazing.

OK, my girlfriend and I are at odds over the common southern night "noisy" bug that (I’ve
always understood) to be the Katydid or Secada (sp?)…..You know, the guy that makes that
loud odd buzzing sound at dusk……… So, I think it’s a Katydid or Secada and she says it’s a "July Fly"…… I bet it’s the same thing….. Please help us out……
Phil (Huntsville, AL.)

Dear Phil,
Katydids have a more musical song and Cicadas make the buzzing noise. July Fly could be a local name, but not one that I have heard. Cicadas are often compared in appearance to large flies.

Found this guy flying in my basement area. Makes a loud noise when flying. Any idea what this is? Actual size about 2" in length. Thanks,
Dear Aaron,
It is a Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata, members of the Scarab Beetle family. The grubs are pests on peach trees, devouring the roots. The adults eat pine needles. They are attracted to lights at night, probably explaining the presence in your basement. They sometimes make loud squeeking noises when handled.

Hi, this is Jay again on my home address.. I was
asking you about the bug that looks like the Water scorpion but not quite.. well, since I saw it I kept
my digital camera in my car in case I came across it again, well the other night I saw his little brother I
think.. that looked like a smaller version of the big
guy I saw.. I found him on his back kicking his legs and snapped this picture.. Looks like a water scorpion without the breathing tube? I can’t say for sure this is what I saw the other night.. it’s similar in shape.. This guy was about 2.5 inches in length.. the other one was literally 5 inches. So tell me what you think…

Thanks Jay,
It is a Giant Water Bug, Lethocerus americanus, and we have been getting numerous reports about them, especially the south, more specifically Florida. They will bite painfully, and swimmers call them "toe Biters."

I work at a garden store in South-eastern Wisconsin, and recently I caught some type of what I think is a wasp, ITs all black exept for yellow legs, its abdoman is very narrow at first and strechtes into somthing similar to a mud wasp exept it is much bigger. The strangest thing about this insect is it has thrre "tails" or entenas coming directly out of the stinger withc are aproxemiely 5" long. I am stumped, what kind of wasp is this?

Probably a female Ichneumon Wasp, Megarhyssa atrata.