From the monthly archives: "August 2003"

This bug was found in central Nebraska, it is about 1.5 inches in length. >Head looks like crawfish head? front legs thicker definite spikes. looks >like cricket body with wings but does not fly. rolled sideways to avoid >being caught.

It is a Mole Cricket, possibly Gryllotalpa hexadactyla, a burrowing insect that is injurious to several crops including peanuts and strawberries.

Hey Bugman!
My husband found a giant brown bug on our screen door. He was so impressed with it , that he brought it inside to show me and our daughter. It was 2 1/2-3 inches long. It was brown and looked like a large leaf-on it’s back and belly. It had 6 legs. The front legs almost looked like pinchers. We live in the bottom of the pan handle in Idaho. I’m from Kentucky and used to seeing big bugs-but this one blows my mind. Haven’t been able to find it on the internet-you’re my last chance. Help! Need to Know In Idaho

Dear Need to Know in Idaho,
That should be your state motto. I’m guessing a Giant Water Bug, also known as a Toe Biter or Electric Light Bug. We will soon be featuring it in a special Bug Biography section due to be posted in the next few days.

Hi, I’m new to your site. Very cool!!
I have a huge "Bug-Phobia", I hate all types of bugs. Yet, I am extremely fascinated with them. I am deathly afraid of spiders and wasps, but given a situation where I feel "safe" I can’t help but sit and stare at the creatures. (Avert your eyes) The only bug that I hate enough to actually kill without provocation is the Black Widow spider, I was bitten by one when I was 14 and I haven’t recovered from the fear of seeing a dark bruise travel up my thigh and not being able to seek medical help.
Anyways, I found a huge ant looking beetle type thing crawling on my carpet, and rather than immediately squish it and move on, I decided to find out what it was. I stumbled across your site and quickly ID’d it as a Rove Beetle. After reading all about them, I promptly returned him to the garden, where my wife had been working earlier. Hopefully this will make up for some of my anti-bug karma.
Thanks,
Gabe Pari
Ontario, California

Dear Gabe,
I’m happy our site managed to keep one more Devil’s Coach Horse alive in the world. We at the WTB offices don’t kill Black Widows. We let them spin their webs and enjoy watching them. They don’t wander much, so we don’t fear them crawling into our beds, and we don’t leave our shoes where they can crawl inside. They are shy spiders and are not aggressive, and only bite when threatened. We have also learned to use gloves when rooting through the firewood pile and never put our hands under the water heater until we look first.

Hi, I’m new to your site. Very cool!!
I have a huge "Bug-Phobia", I hate all types of bugs. Yet, I am extremely fascinated with them. I am deathly afraid of spiders and wasps, but given a situation where I feel "safe" I can’t help but sit and stare at the creatures. (Avert your eyes) The only bug that I hate enough to actually kill without provocation is the Black Widow spider, I was bitten by one when I was 14 and I haven’t recovered from the fear of seeing a dark bruise travel up my thigh and not being able to seek medical help.
Anyways, I found a huge ant looking beetle type thing crawling on my carpet, and rather than immediately squish it and move on, I decided to find out what it was. I stumbled across your site and quickly ID’d it as a Rove Beetle. After reading all about them, I promptly returned him to the garden, where my wife had been working earlier. Hopefully this will make up for some of m
y anti-bug karma.
Thanks,
Gabe Pari
Ontario, California

Dear Gabe,
I’m happy our site managed to keep one more Devil’s Coach Horse alive in the world. We at the WTB offices don’t kill Black Widows. We let them spin their webs and enjoy watching them. They don’t wander much, so we don’t fear them crawling into our beds, and we don’t leave our shoes where they can crawl inside. They are shy spiders and are not aggressive, and only bite when threatened. We have also learned to use gloves when rooting through the firewood pile and never put our hands under the water heater until we look first.

Hi, I found a worm like bug under a rock. Light brown and it stretched out to about sixteen inches. It seems sticky and real skinny. I wanted to know if it was poisonous and wanted to ask you. can you help me find out what it is? :
Sincerely,
H.R age 12 thanks

Dear H.R.
We got a letter several weeks ago from a man who described much the same thing as you describe.
He enclosed a headsketch. We identified his "worm" as a Arrow Headed Flatworm, Bipalium kewensis. It is a land planariun and is slender and brown. They have five longitudinal stripes on the body and a head shaped like a hammer. It needs a warm, moist environment and is often found near water spickets. Flatworms are hermaphroditic, and copulation involves mutual insemination; they may also reproduce asexually by fragmentation. They are benign creatures since they do no damage to plants nor do they cause medical problems. Here is our other reader’s sketch, though we lost his wonderful original letter. Hope that is a positive ID for you.

Today, in a mixed evergreen/maple urban forest in Vancouver, BC, we found a wasps nest we could not identify. It was about 12 feet up in a maple tree, hanging from the trunk where a branch joined. The nest was a brownish color, and looked more like a growth on the tree than the usual greyish nests we see around here. It was about the size of a medium cabbage. Cabbage comes to mind, because instead of a spiral or concentric layers of paper, this one seemed to be formed of overlapping rounded leaves, like a cabbage. It was quite smooth, and completely closed in. We could not find the hole, but it seemed that the wasps were coming out of the junction between the trunk and the nest. The wasps themselves were blackish, and looked almost like ants at that distance. They were mostly crawling on the nest, occasionally flying a foot or two away and returning.
What have we found?

Sounds like a Hornet’s Nest, Bald Faced Hornet, Vespula maculata, probably.