From the monthly archives: "May 2004"

I found this beetle(?) on my back patio by my sliding glass door. I am extremely scared of bugs, any type, but I have never seen anything like this before. I live in South Florida (Port Saint Lucie) my backyard has a canal with a lot of trees and bushes. It looks to be around 25 mm in length, it is redish brown with long antennae that curl around and touch the ground. Sorry about my description, I try to stay away and know as little about bugs as possible. The picture may not be great but I was scared to get too close. I have attached it. Let me know if you need a better one and I will try my best.
Thank you, Kim

Hi Kim,
What a beautiful Long Horned Borer you have. The species is Prionus imbricornis. These are large reddish beetles. Your species is a male, identified by his longer, thicker antennae. Larger specimens can reach nearly two inches in body length. The larvae bore in oak, chestnut and other hardwood trees. They also live in roots of herbaceous plants.

Heat Bug? Strange and Irritating Bug
Hi! I just moved to a region, where in summertime, the air is infiltrated by an extremely loud, buzzing, almost electrical sound. I’ve been told it is called the Heat Bug, as it only comes out in the summer and creates its din on very warm days. I have included photos of what the locals claim to be the insect responsible for this racket!
Hope you can identify it!

Dear Jordan,
Your awesome photos are of a Giant Water Bug, Lethocerus americanus, which also goes by the colorful names Electric Light Bug and Toe-Biter. These are aquatic insects which can also fly, and they can deliver a painful bite. They are also the largest True Bugs in North America. They do not make loud noises. I have never heard the name Heat Bug, but I am guessing by your description, that they are probably cicadas. Cicadas make a noise similar to that which you describe. Additionally, this year marks the return of Brood X of the Periodical Cicada or 17 Year Locust which will be appearing in great numbers and making quite a bit of racket. Sadly, Jordan, your letter was one of the last to get through before heavy traffic shut us down, or I would direct you to our cicada page to see photos of what I am guessing are your Heat Bugs. Our site will return in June.

Thank you for such a timely and informative reply! To imagine that I got siting of one of the Biggest Bugs in N.America! Unfortunately, this letter may not reach you until later, however, I do hope to return to your e-page soon. Thanks again and good luck with Brood X Studies.

Help! We have recently discovered these large bright green insects which look like flies all over our 2 pet pigs. We have seen them twice & only around dusk. We have recently moved to a 46 acre farm in rural North Central Florida & the pigs are in an area that is mostly woods. They appear to be biting flies & sound a little buzzy. They act like deer flies & do not return to the pigs (on that day, at least) when they are sprayed with a pyrethrin insect repellant. I have not engaged in mortal combat with one so I have no photo yet. I’d love to identify them before we move our goats & horses here. Any help in identifying them would be appreciated. Thanks in advance,

Hi Sandra, We would love to get that photo when you go to war. We are thinking you might have Sweat Bees, which are often a brilliant green color. they are attracted to sweat, hence the name. Bees have four wings while flies only have two wings, should you ever get close enough to notice.

Thanks for the prompt response, but I think that they must be something different for three reasons: 1) I looked up some photos of sweat bees online & they didn’t look like that. 2) I was on stakeout at dusk today, but none showed up. I was visited by 2 deer flies & the ones I’m trying to identify are at least 2 – 3 times the size of a deer fly & sweat bees are supposed to be pretty small. 3) Pigs don’t sweat. (Technically they do sweat on their noses, but these guys were not near their heads, they were on their sides like a deer or horse fly would be.) Will keep on the lookout & capture dead or alive for future photo ID. Thanks again, Sandra

Here are the photos of the fly I grabbed off the pig tonight. I froze it before photographing.

Hi Sandra,
I wanted to reply to you quickly so that you would know I was working on your question. You have some type of Horse Fly, Family Tabanidae, which also includes Deer Flies. I have found references on the internet to Green Horse Flies being troublesome in Maine, and also to their proliferation in hot weather at the St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Kentucky, but no species name or photos. I have a query out to the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles and hope to hear back soon. Female Horse Flies are the blood suckers while males feed on nectar and pollen. The larvae are usually aquatic.

I took this picture this morning on May 11, 2004 at 8 am. We had 3 of these bugs on our screen door. I have searched online for an answer and came up with nothing. These bugs were about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, in the picture you can see my 9 year old daughter’s fingers to compare size. We live in New Jersey.

Hi Lori, You have a female Dobsonfly. The males have much larger jaws. Adults can get considerably larger than your specimen. We have an entire page devoted to them on the website. Just click the dobsonfly link on the left side of the page in the alphabatized list for more information.

Thank you very much for clearing this up for me. I had no idea what this was. Thanks for replying so quickly!

Wow! What a great website and service you are providing.
Yesterday 5/10/04 while working in the garden in South Jersey, I was nearly run over by a female Dobson fly!
I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe a lace wing but when I looked it up on the web, I knew it wasn’t. Thus began my search to identify this beautiful insect. I found your site and was happy to see all of the recent postings on Dobson flies. I’d like to learn about it’s life cycle and what it feeds upon but when I go to the link at the left that you spoke of , it takes me right back to the e-mails again.
My 5 year old daughter (and future entomologist, i think) was absolutely fascinated by her. Everytime we took the fly and placed it onto a tomato plant it would fly to her and land on her!
"Look Daddy, it likes me."
Too cool…………
Nick Pinizzotto
Pittsgrove, NJ

What is this?
These have been visiting the Mistflower booms in our Central Florida butterfly garden. They resemble some type of wasp, but are very calm and content sitting on the same flower cluster 5 to 10 min. before flying to the next plant. What are they & are they sipping nectar? Thanks….Kathryn

Dear Kathryn,
Thank you for sending the beautiful photo of a Scarlet-bodied Wasp-moth, Cosmosoma auge. The Family Syntomidae, according to Holland, “are diurnal in their habits, and frequent flowers. At first glance, they often are mistaken for wasps and other hymenoptera, which they mimic.” He continues: “This beautiful little insect occurs throughout the tropics of the New world, and is not rare in southern Florida. … The caterpillar feeds upon Mikania scadens (Climbing Hempweed).” Your Scarlet-bodied Wasp-moths are sipping necter with their long, well developed proboscis. We have also found this moth identified online as Cosmosoma myrodora. Here at What’s That Bug? we try to be taxonomically correct, and the name auge is attributed to Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy. On the other hand, myrodora has been attributed to Dyar in the year 1907.

You not only identified the Scarlet-bodied Wasp-moth, but helped I.D. a wild vine growing on the fence near our orange trees. I saw several of their little caterpillars chewing away last fall but couldn’t identify them or the vine. Thanks to you, we now have a name for another “critter” and it’s host plant . Thanks!

Hi Kathryn,
I just wanted you to know that letters like yours were the original reason we began the What’s That Bug? site. We love identifying “bugs” for the genuinely curious. Sadly, it seems most of our readers want to rid their lives of anything that crawls or flies. It would be totally awesome if you could send a photo of the caterpillar on the host plant when they appear again in the fall. We have no idea what the caterpillar looks like. Have a great day.