From the yearly archives: "2004"

What Is This Moth?
This moth was on my deck in Minnesota for a brief period last June. The deck floorboards that you see are 6″ wide. It was a spectacle for us! Can you identify it?
Daryl Ramsey

Hi Daryl,
You have a very bedraggled Polyphemus Moth, one of the giant silkworm moths, Antheraea polyphemus. They only live a few days and do not eat as adults, though the large caterpillars are voracious feeders. Adults only live to mate and lay eggs.

Nasty looking bug in Florida..need help identifying
I found this nasty looking critter stationed on my patio window in Tampa, FL. He flies but apparantly not too well…I heard him crash into the window with a thud….about 1 inch long, 1/2 inch wide with legs similar to a big roach or preying mantis. It had distinctive eyes and a flat head….the bug itself was relatively flat but the head looked kinda like a shovel. Where the eyes were was completely flat and not round like most bugs. This guy was sand-colored with a shiny black patch on its back that almost looked seperate from the rest of him. He looked like he could pack a mean bit if I were to step on him or something. yick…nasty, nasty….
I’ve seen similar looking critters about 1/20th of this guys size, about the size of a roofing nail head in my house at times but this one was gigantic in comparison and much lighter in color….almost like the little critter’s, larger and meaner big brother or something. Those little critters however are jet black but have a similar flat head, so I would guess they are related somehow. They look like something right out of the stone age. Please help me identify this. My wife is now terrified of the patio. In the photo above, I got a lot of glare from the glass but you can really get a good look at this guy’s head and see how its triangular almost. His eyes are on either side of those points.
Buggy Tampa, FL

Hi Phil,
Your insect is one of the True Bugs, most probably the Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, a member of the Big-Legged Bug Family Coreidae. We have more photos and information on our True Bug page.

Pics of Great Black Wasp
Hello Bugman,
Our house is being invaded by these wasps, at least I think they are wasps? They are appearing inside the house about a dozen or more daily. What can we do to keep them out of the house and back outside? Is this the non-aggressive black wasp? This wasp looks like it and does not attack even when I try to swat at it when they are buzzing around me. They also like to fly into the walls and ceiling fans.
Ruben Amesquita
Dallas, Texas

Hi Ruben,
I checked with an expert, Eric Eaton, who wrote back:
Hi Ruben,
I checked with an expert, Eric Eaton, who wrote back:
“The lateral view shows it to be something in the sphecine tribe Larrini. The genera there are a real beast. You have to look at the ocelli (simple eyes) to even have a clue. They are normally fossorial (dig burrows in the soil), so I don’t know how they are getting into his house. Being solitary, though, they will not be aggressive.”
Hope that helps.
Being solitary, though, they will not be aggressive.”
Hope that helps.

large caterpillar
One of our staff found this large caterpillar this morning climbing the wall of the university in Corpus Christi, TX. It is about 5″ long and 3/4″ diameter. Any ideas?

Hi Woody,
It has taken me hours of web searching to finally identify your Ficus Sphinx, Pachylia ficus, which I finally found on this site. According to Bill Oehlke: “The Fig sphinx, Pachylia ficus (Wing span: 4 3/4 – 5 1/2 inches (12 – 14 cm)) flies from Uruguay north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to Florida, southern Texas, and southern Arizona. It occasionally strays as far north as Indiana and Pennsylvania.” Additionally, there are several color morphs to the larvae, but one is exactly like your image. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Help Me Figure Out What This Is…
My house has recently had an infestation of a bug that seems to really be a fan of grain. We’ve found it inside our sealed cereal boxes and also in packets of oatmeal. After putting all of our food in sealed containers the contagion seems to have died down, but now I’m finding some throughout our house. I took a number of digital pictures but this is the only one that came out pretty well. The bug resembles a very tiny ant except it obviously isn’t an ant. It is about 2 mm long. Hopefully you can identify it, I’ve searched many many sites.

Hi Zach,
It looks like you have a type of Merchant Grain Beetle, possibly Oryzaephilus mercator or the closely related Saw-toothed Grain Beetle, Oryzaephilus surinamensis. These are very small beetles that are elongated. According to Hogue: “The appearance of these pests in a tightly sealed package of dried food is a source of wonder to housekeepers. Entry is commonly by way of minute imperfections in the seal, but some species may bore through paper and cardboard containers to get at the contents. In other cases, infestations occur when the foods are stored in bulk in railroad cars, warehouses, and at other stops along the processing line.”

Oh! and speaking of monsters… I’ve attached a few pictures of a black widow I found crawling up my leg as I studied….=) Also set that one free… I really should have thought about my downstairs neighbors before chucking it out my 4th story window… I also had a bad termite problem in that apartment… but those pictures are just plain gross. I’ve sinced moved into a new apartment… So far… no bugs…
Thanks again!

Thank you for the Black Widow photos Leah. You are a brave girl.