From the monthly archives: "April 2004"

I found this while visiting Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I don’t recall seeing this in ny.

It appears to be a species of Tiger Beetle, Family Cicindelidae. They are often metallic in color and are fierce hunters. They run rapidly, often in sandy areas, and they are also quick fliers. Weiping at the Natural History Museum says “This photo is not clear enough. It is hard to say it is a tiger beetle or ground beetle. For me, the body shape is closer to Calosoma sp. (Carabidae).”

We just heard back from the spider expert (relayed through Weiping) at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and he provided us with this information on the Camel Spider. “I just met our spider expert and had the name for your spider. It is from Galeodes sp, ca 3 inches long exclude legs. It distributes in Iraq and Kazakhstan area.

Valley Carpenter Bee and White Lined Sphinx Hornworm

Thanks for your article identifying the “fuzzy blonde bees” that have been patrolling our hillside for the last week. I’m so glad my Yahoo search came up with your page. It was very hard to find any info on anything but black carpenter bees, even in our 3 or 4 insect field guides only one mentioned that carpenter bees could be coloured differently.
We have a current troop of about 5 “blonde boys” and as of yet, no sign of their black female counterparts.
I’ve attached a jpg of a larvae we have found here lately. Have never seen it before in 7 years… Now we’ve seen two, both striped with anal horns. One, in the creek, was much darker than this one, but on both the horn and the mouthparts are gold. We have very few domestic plants around our cabin in the National Forest, but tons of nightshade. Could these be hornworms of some type? They are quite lovely to behold, but a very odd find here.
V Novo

Dear V Novo,
The male Valley Carpenter Bees, Xylocopa varipuncta, are much shorter lived than the females. I have been seeing female bees this spring, visiting my Honey Suckle as well as the Wisteria.
Your caterpillar is a White Lined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata, a beautiful moth with a three inch wingspan. I have been seeing adult moths on the USC campus, resting in the eaves of the outdoor hallways near the art building. They have an almost infinite list of food plants, but are very fond of fuschia.

We are jumping right on the opportunity to start a new page with this photo we just took in our garden of a common dragonfly known as the Big Red Skimmer, Libellula saturata. There are many myths associated with dragonflies as well as many colorful common names including Devil’s Darning Needle, Snake Doctors, Horse Stingeres and Caballos del Diablo. They do not bite and are helpful in eliminating harmful insect pests, especially mosquitos.

We just photographed this yellow ladybird beetle which just emerged from the pupa. By the next day, it had turned orange with black spots.

Are these Ladybugs?Your site is very cool. I have a question for you. We have had some lady bugs living inside our home during the winter months for several years and we were not bothered by them, in fact, we thought them to be kind of cute. However, its seems that a new species of lady bug has arrived and these are different than the ones we are used to. The ways they are different: 1) more light orange in color. 2) they smell and stain if smashed. 3.) They appear to have a slightly different shaped head than the red lady bugs. 4.) They have been aggressive and even BITE. Are these lady bugs at all or some other beetle? (If they are not lady bugs- where did they originate? When did they arrive here in Pennsylvania and- Are they able to reproduce with ladybugs? Are they in competition with them? Will they overtake the niche of our regular lady bugs?) Thanks for your answers!!!


Dear Lori,
We have information on the Asian Ladybird Beetle, (Harmonia axyridis) which can become a "nuisance when large numbers begin crawling on windows, walls, light fixtures, and other indoor surfaces. When disturbed, they also secrete a foul-smelling orange-colored fluid that can spot and stain walls, carpeting, and other surfaces….
Because the Asian lady beetle is a tree-dwelling insect, homes and buildings in forested areas are especially prone to infestation. Suburban and landscaped industrial settings adjacent to wooded areas have also had large lady beetle aggregations. Once the beetles land on the sunny side of the building, they attempt to locate cracks and other dark openings for hibernation sites. These locations may ultimately be on any side of the structure. Common overwintering sites include cracks and crevices around window and door frames, porches, garages and outbuildings, beneath exterior siding and roof shingles, and within wall voids, attics, and soffits. Structures in poor repair or with many cracks and openings are especially vulnerable to problems."
Large aggregations began to be reported from your area beginning aroung 1993. They will not breed with our native Lady Bird Beetles and there is a good chance they are in competition with them.