Hi, I Live in West Los Angeles/Santa Monica area and this morning – New Year’s Day, while blissfully watching the Rose Parade on TV with morning cuppa java this noise catches my ear – and my cat’s ear. It sounded like a small ornament had dropped off the Christmas Tree onto the window sill. Upon investigation it is a really horrid bug. Looks a bit like a cricket, 6legs, antenna and beige body with black spots. Body in length is approx 1″.I have seen crickets crawl, they’re slow and lumbering, so I was a bit relived that it wasn’t going to attack me in any way. I got the vacuum and prepared to suck the icky crawler into the swirling vortex of death. Wrong! The thing can fly! I lost it – both literally and figuratively. I got near it with the hose when it took off and disappeared into the darkness behind the tree and the cat and I quickly retreated to the safety of the bedroom to regroup and formulate a strategy on capturing the winged beast. I was afraid to leave it alone for too long lest I lose track of it in the house (not acceptable) so I grabbed the cat and we moved back in to the battle zone to wait for its reappearance. Sure enough within minutes it flew toward the window and banged into it with a loud “thwack”. I did manage to get it sucked up in the vacuum but it was still inside the plastic container crawling around lively in the dust. I thought it would surely die with the trip up into the vacuum, or choke on the dust but it didn’t. I looked closely at the bug and your site, but didn’t see any of the bugs that resemble this thing. I dumped it into a plastic trash bag tied it tightly and took it out of the house. Yeech! What is that thing? Did it come in on the tree or is it local to the area and how can I avoid seeing one ever again in my home? Need a glass of champagne now to steady my jangled nerves and will hope to hear from you when you catch up on emails.
Bugged by the Bug on the Westside
Your letter is great, but lacking in some helpful identification details. I’m going to take a wild guess and say perhaps a beetle, the Eucalyptus Tree Borer. Here is a photo of a dead one sent last year.
Ed. Note: We just received this information:
(08/09/2005) identifications Hello – I was recently shown your site, and it is excellent. My specialization is longhorned beetles, and in cruising around I notice a number of incomplete or uncertain IDs for this family. I don’t know if you are interested in receiving this sort of input, but if you are, I offer the following additions to your identifications.
The eucalyptus borer in this photo (and also shown elsewhere on one of the other pages of your site) is Phoracantha recurva, nor P. semipunctata. Both species now have become well-established in California. Cheers.