From the monthly archives: "June 2004"

I’ve been watching an insect in my sun garden for two days now. It looks a bit like a lady beetle or lady beetle larva, but the head seems different – just small and black – no big platey head with white patches – and it has very long antennae. Also, it is yellow. It has eleven black spots – a row of three near the head, the middle spot being in a “v” shape, and then two rows of four. Can you please tell me what it is? Sorry that I don’t have a camera good enough at closeups to photograph it for you (if you can recommend a good digital camera for photographing insects and flowers, please let me know – I am thinking of requesting that from hubby for Christmas…).
Thanks, and I love your site!!

Hi Julia,
It sounds like a Spotted Cucumber Beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi. Here is a photo I downloaded from this site which has lots of information on this garden pest.

That’s it! That’s it! Thanks! Julia

We live in northern Wisconsin. My husband was in the lake (it has a mucky bottom) and felt something poke him in his big toe. When I looked at his toe it had a raised blister type mark. It resembled a sting mark with a very pronounced dot of where the bite/sting occured. The toe swelled and he experienced extreme pain. Do you know what type of a bug would live in the muck of a lake and sting? Thanks for your help.

Not to be funny, but it sounds like your husband was bitten by a Toe-Biter or Giant Water Bug.

Bug in my house – Please help
Dear Bugman,
I am so glad that there is a site such as yours. I don’t’ know what I would do if I didn’t find your site. I have a critter in my house that just baffles me. I don’t know what it is and I have gone through the books in the library and I just can’t find out what it is that is living with me. It’s about an inch long from head to tail. It has antenna on its head and the tail is like a tail of a fish or mermaid with another set of antennas. It swings form side to side. At the bottom, it seems to have multiple legs like a caterpillar? I’m really not that sure, it just seems to slide on the floor. Anyway, I find it on the walls, in my drawers in the kitchen, bedroom, bath, on my bed… I can catch it pretty easily, it doesn’t move too quickly, BUT it does have the capability to slide right into the WALLS. When I kill it by smudging it, it just seems to just flakes into pieces. I don’t see it all the time; I see one maybe every other day in a new location. Would you PLEASE offer any information to see how I can terminate it?

Dear S.,
You have Silverfish, a common household pest that is difficult to erradicate. They are very primitive insects. They will eat most anything, including the glue from book binding or wallpaper. We have gotten a report that Cloves when spread around helps to eliminate them.

what is this?
a picture I took recently of a bug.
What is it?

Hi Heidi,
It is a Jerusalem Cricket, Potato Bug or Nino de la Tierra, depending on who you are talking to. They are members of the cricket order Othoptera and live underground.

Hi there:
I found your site today and have looked through it but couldn’t find anything that even remotely resembles the bugs I’m dealing with. I’m completely lost and desperate – please help! Here is my situation – I have bugs in my car! I live in an urban area of the hill country of central Texas. Several months ago (I’m thinking maybe in March?) I started noticing these bugs in my car. At first it was just a few, but they have become more plentiful. The bugs are a little larger than a flea, smaller than a tick. They are completely black. This is where I’m going to sound dumb – I’m not sure if they have wings or not. They have no visible wings, but I think they may lay against their body, if they do have them. I think I have seen a few of them fly, but only for a short stint. Most of them do not fly. I’m not sure if it’s possible that only some would have wings while the majority wouldn’t. They don’t move fast. I can pick them up with ease, they don’t run away. Lately I’ve also found their larvae. The larvae look like tiny meal worms. The picture of the beetle grub that you have on your website closely resembles this larvae, but these are much much smaller and a more "normal’ larvae color. I’m guessing that these bugs are some sort of beetle but I have no idea what type. Shortly before I started noticing them I found a lady bug in my car. A friend indicated that she had similar bugs in her house once and they turned out to be baby lady bugs, but I’m not really sure that she knows what she is talking about. The bugs are most abundant in the backseat but are also showing up on the floor boards, headliner, sun visors, etc. The bugs seemed to originate from the area where the back part of the back seat and the seat part of the back seat meet. My back seat doesn’t fold down so I have no way of getting in there to clean it out really well. I have tried vacuuming in this crevice many times but I can’t get rid of the bugs (although I have decreased their population). I’ve also tried spraying the area where they are most prevalent with bug spray. This also hasn’t been fruitful, I think in part due to the fact that I have no idea what I’m trying to kill. They seem to be attracted to "bread" type products like crackers (and crumbs) and they attach themselves to any fabric items that I leave in the car (jackets, sweaters, diaper bags, etc) but they seem to avoid my umbrella. I washed several items that had been in my car recently and found LIVING larvae still on the items after I removed them from the washing machine. I’m so confused and I have no idea what to do. I’ve searched the internet for information on these bugs but have come up empty. My next options are to bug-bomb my car or sell it. If you could help me figure out what I’m dealing with I’d really appreciate it. If you could give me some hints to get rid of them, I’d be forever grateful.
Thanks for your anticipated help with this desperate situation!
Infested in Texas
Cindy Mooneyham

Hi Cindy,
It does sound like you have pantry beetles munching on a stash of food under the seat. Since you are unable to clean up the problem, I think fumigation might be the answer. We don’t like to recommend that, but I can’t imagine what else to tell you.