From the monthly archives: "July 2004"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I have been looking through the spiders on your site, and believe my house is being overtaken by the jewelled araneus? I am sending pictures along, and the only reason I am not sure, is by your description of the web and breeding times. These spiders love the windows on our house, (eating moths, like you mentioned) but the webs are fairly small and quite messy. Not very "orb" like. They have stretched over large areas in some areas, like in my husband’s garage, from an engine stand to the bench. It ends up being almost hammock-like. Also, right now, almost everyone I have seen has about 3 egg sacks, some of which are "hatching" already. This doesn’t seem to match up with your description of them doing so in fall.
We’re not very worried about them, as they are adept bug killers. We live in Charles County, MD and we’re kind of out in the woods. We see plenty of different spiders! I have enclosed a picture of an adult female with egg sack, and the second is a younger one. I would appreciate your input, and would also like to know if having as many as we do is a problem. (they’re everywhere!!) Thanks for you time! (they also don’t seem to mind being in close proximity of each other)

Hi Debra,
You have a Domestic Spider, Theridion tepidariorum. Comstock writes: “Of all the spiders that inhabit our dwellings, this is the most familiar, and consequently best merits the title of the Domestic Spider. Its tangle of threads can be found in almost any neglected room, throughout the length and breadth of our country; and the species is not limited to our country for it is almost a cosmopolite. This is an exceedingly variable species in colour and markings. … The egg-sacs are brownish and pear-shaped with a dense outer coat. They are suspended in the web, and several of them are made by one spider.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

This spider is in my friends house and I cannot find anything or any pictures that can tell us what kind it is and/or anything about it. Can anyone help me identify this and if it is harmful?

You have a female Micrathena sagittata or Arrow-Shaped Micrathena. It has a signature body shape and is not easily confused with other spiders. The species is common in the south and also reported in Massachusetts and Connecticut. It makes a web that is a small symetrical orb in low bushes. The spider is not harmful.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

July in Alabama
Can you tell me what type of spider this beauty is? The web was so interesting. The spider is about an inch or a little less in size. It’s web was close to the gound in some ivy.

Hi Anne,
You have sent in a photo of Miranda aurantia, the Yellow Garden Spider. The web is unique. They are orb web builders who place a stabilimentum in the center. It is believed to act as a camoflague for the spider. Your spider has made the lace-like stabilimentum. The spider is widely distributed in the United States and other parts of the world.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

swarming bugs
We live in NH. Every summer evening before sunset these bugs appear in
swarms of thousands, usually in a tight, stationary "tower" maybe 2 feet across and up to 8 feet tall. They don’t bite and can’t be chased away. If they set up a "tower" over a table, and the table is moved, they will move with the table. They never, ever sit still or land so photos are difficult, but I managed to get the attached which might help. If they’re going to share our back yard with us, we’d like to know what to call them.
John C

Hi John,
It sounds like you have Water Midges from the Family Chironomidae. The larvae develop in shallow areas of lakes, ponds and streams where there is a heavy growth of aquatic plants. Adults emerge in such numbers as to be a nuisance, but fortunately, they do not bite. According to Hogue: “Small clouds of males are frequently seen hovering in the air over or near water. At times, they form larger clouds that look like smoke over trees or tall structures; these aggregations are attractive to females and are the chief mating strategy of many species. Tremendous numbers may also gather around lights on warm summer evenings.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Two moths
I am a college student at York College of PA in central Pennsylvania, not far from the Maryland border. I am currently working at the college for the summer, and yesterday I saw something very strange when I was outside on my lunch break. Two moths like none I’ve ever seen before were just sitting around on the concrete right near each other, but they were two very different-looking species. They were about the same size (two inches across), but one was white with black spots and the other was army green with orange on the insides of his wings. I was worried about them, so I tried to move them into the grass for safety’s sake. The white and black moth went into the grass willingly, but the green one flew around and I didn’t try to catch it. Today I ate my lunch in the same spot, and although the white and black moth was gone, the green one was still around- all day. Today after work, I gently packaged him up and brought him home so I could take some pictures, which I have sent to you.
I am worried about the green moth. He’s been very lethargic, even when I was handling him, and he is currently downstairs on my porch in the same spot I placed him when I brought him home. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the other moth. He looked very similar to the Eyed Tiger Moth on your site… I’m about 75% sure that’s what he was. However, isn’t it strange to see one in central Pennsylvania? Anyway, this brings me to my two big questions. First, can you tell me what type of moth is in the pictures I have sent you? I can’t seem to figure it out and I’ve looked everywhere. Second, and more importantly, do you have any idea what these two little guys would be doing hanging out TOGETHER on pavement in the middle of the day in central PA? It just seemed so strange and unnatural to see them in this way. Is it common to see something like this, or could they have been, like, specimens that escaped from somewhere?

Hi Eliza,
Your letter is so sweet. First question is your olive drab moth. It is an Azalea Sphinx, Darapsa pholus, and is quite common in Pennsylvania. The caterpillar feeds on viburnum and azalea. Regarding the other moth. It sounds like some type of Tiger Moth. The Eyed Tiger Moth, Ecpantheria deflorata, is rare in New England, but ranges south from there. It is common in the Carolinas. Pennsylvania is part of their normal range. The two moths may have been attracted to a nearby light and just found themselves on the sidewalk at dawn. Moths are not long lived, and your Azalea Sphinx may have just been nearing the end of a long, for an insect, life.

Thank you so much! Good news about greenie though- he was flying around last night and I hope to see him gone this morning.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination