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Red, White and Blue Insect
I wrote to you about a month ago about a red , white and blue insect. I finally have a couple of pictures. Hopefully these will help you identify these insecects. Still very curious in Birmingham, Alabama.
Thank you,
Lyn

note: Here is Lyn’s original letter, lost in the bowels of our mailbox.

(8/16/2003) Red white and Blue
I have just spent a week at our beach house in Santa Rosa, Florida. ( the Gulf of Mexico area or Destin, Florida). In all of my 45 years there I have never seen a more beautiful flying insect. Its colors are red, white and blue . The closest insect that I can compare it to in size is a wasp or hornet. As we were so overwhelmed by its beauty, we didn’t even think whether or not it would sting us. Fortunately, it did not. I got very close to it to take a picture and it just stayed as if it were posing. How ironical ………………….that today we would find a red,white and blue flier ! Can you help identify this beautiful creature ? Also, at the beginning of the evening sky, we would have hundreds (maybe an exageration ) of tiny green frogs on our sliding glass doors.How precious they were ! I’ve never seen them there either ! I wonder if this years abundance of rain has anything to do with this ??
Thanks for your help,
Puzzled Lyn,
Birmingham, Alabama

Dear Lyn,
I cannot tell you the exact species, but it is a moth that mimics a wasp. Of the two families of moths known as Wasp Moths, your specimen appears to belong to the subfamily Ctenuchinae which are small day-flying moths most of which are tropical and very colorful. They are sometimes seen flying in great numbers. These moths not only mimic wasps in appearance, but sometimes in behavior as well. Needless to say, this mimicry is a self preservation technique since many predators avoid wasps due to their sting. The other family of Wasp Moths is Sesiidae, and includes clearwing moths, many of which are agricultural pests like the Peach Tree Borer. The moths have no sting. Your photos are great.

Thanks so much for your help. What an" interesting " field you have ! Again, thank you. If your ever in my neck of the woods……………….look me up. Please see my web site"
fountainsetc.com
We ship all over the country.
Take care,
Evelyn

Editor’s Note: The moth has now been correctly identified as the Polka Dot Wasp Moth, Syntomeida epilais jucundissima, whose destructive caterpillars are known as the Oleander Caterpillars (see above letter).

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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