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

I use World’s Best Cat Litter. It’s an organic product made from corn. I have bought bags before that contained these small, elongated, lighter brown, hard, beetle type bugs. They don’t seem to be able to fly. I think they might develop into some sort of tiny moth, because I have seen the little (tiny!) moths in the litter enclosure, but nowhere else. I have tried freezing the bag before I use it in the litter box, but sometimes this does not work. What are these bugs and how do I get rid of them? Are they harmful to my cat? Could they get into the rest of the house? Sorry I don’t have a picture.
Christa Moeller

Dear Christina,
Both meal moths and pantry beetles will infest stored corn. Neither will harm your cats, but they may invade stored grain products in your pantry.

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Pointed head bug
Dear bugman,
Perhaps you can identify this bug picture I sketched. I cannot find a close match anywhere to say that I am sure what it is. It is a 6 legged bug VERY tiny, about 1/10". I can tell you that not only did they show up in my kitchen, but there were literally millions in a bag of birdseed! There were so many that you could hear the bag rustling. Gross! I looked in the bag to see millions of these creatures with their pointed heads and antennae. I hope you could steer me as to what these bugs are.
Tom Bartman
Pottstown, PA

Hi Tom,
Weevils are one type of Pantry Beetle whose shape matches your description and drawing. Weevils are a type of beetle belonging to the family Curculionidae. Grain Weevils belong to the genus Sitophilus and have the head elongated into a snout.

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Yesterday, July 7, 2004, I was walking out of my garage with my two young sons (ages 20 mos. and 3 yrs.) and I turned my back for literally 20 seconds. My three year old comes running up to me and says his hand hurts. It looks dirty so I asked if he fell and he says, “a bug.” I asked if the bug bit him and he says no, but insists that his hand hurts. In order to distract him, I suggested that we get the mail. On walking to the mailbox, he says, “there it is!” I look to my right and see this bright red bug walking on the driveway. The bug was 3/4 inch long, I would guess, and the brightest red I have ever seen. Mostly red with black legs and, I would guess, three black stripes. I was startled and afraid as I do a lot of gardening and have never seen anything like it, so I stomped it with my shoe. I had to run an errand, but about 30 minutes later I checked my son’s hand as I was worried because the bug looked so wicked. His right thumb had swelled to about 1.5 times the size of his other thumb and was very hard/tight. It also had a white tiny pin prick in the middle of the fatty part of his thumb. I started to panic a bit, but within another half hour, the swelling started to go down and he said he was “all better.” When I got home, I started to dig for information on the internet and after two hours found your site. Part of my problem was that I thought I had seen a beetle of some sort so I typed in red bug (which came up with chiggers), red beetle (which came up with a red milkweed beetle, sort of close but not quite right) and red locust (which was definitely not what I saw). The body was segmented in three parts and I thought since it was crawling that it could not be a bee. After finding your site, I took tweezers and a white envelope and went to see if the bug parts were still in any shape to take a photo. I collected the bug and noticed it was very furry and in particular it had sort of longer legs than I had originally thought that were also furry. It was not as red as when I saw it walking, but it had been about four hours in the hot Georgia sun. I showed it to my husband when he got home and he said it looked like a wasp or hornet so I came back to your site and saw a picture of the bug I think I saw – a Velvet Ant, listed under wasps. I have become fascinated with your site since yesterday and read many clips just to learn more. Once I had a name for the bug I saw, I tried to find more information via several search engines, but with little success other than some pictures. My son seems fine now, but more of the story continues to come forth. He told me today that “the red bug was walking in the grass and (he) tried to pick it up.” Yikes! He also told me that he isn’t “supposed to touch bugs without asking Mommy because it might bite (him).” I guess maybe a good lesson for him since he is fascinated with all wildlife and touches without thinking usually. Anyway, none of the sites I could find really listed if a sting by a Velvet Ant is harmful, other than the pain. Do you know? Are they common in Georgia (we live in Forsyth County, north of Atlanta)? Do they change color (become a brighter red than normal) when they have been messed with or picked up? Are the males the same bright colors as this female was? Do you think I will see more? If I do see another one, I will try to snap a picture to send to you. After seeing your site, I felt guilty for killing it. It would have been a very good picture, I think. Thanks for your site!! Sorry for the “long version” of my story,
Stephanie Moore
PS. I saw an email by Eric Eaton referring to as a good source for info. In this case, it was not very helpful for me (I am a bug idiot, more or less). Although, I did see that some of the pictures of the Velvet Ant that were posted were taken in Georgia, which answers that question I guess.

Hi Stephanie,
Velvet Ants are female flightless wasps. The males are smaller and have wings. There are many species of Velvet Ants, and some are bright red, others orange and still others yellow. The sting is painful, but not serious unless there is an alergic reaction. I love the name Cow Killer for the species Dasymutilla occidentalis, which is common in the South. Perhaps another websearch with the scientific name will give you additional information. I am very happy our site was helpful.

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What’s this bug?
Dear Bugman,
I found this bug on some tomato and eggplants that were growing on my porch. I’m really wondering what they are. We live in central Pennsylvania . Your website is great and I’ve been telling people about it :~) Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge,
Leslie Howard

Dear Leslie,
At first we thought this was a Slug Caterpillar, but the curious thing about your image is the debris on the back. We enlisted Eric Eaton’s assistance to identify a Tortoise Beetle Pupa, and then Nathan wrote back correcting this misidentification.

Update (04/17/2006)
I believe, now that you were able to identify the tortoise beetle larvae photo I sent you can also put the following entry to rest as well. I found it under the first Caterpillar listing. It looks very similar to an already identified toroise beetle larvae photo found on one of your beetle pages – it too was green like this one. Again, great site!
Nathan Cook

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toe-biter or stag beetle… I’m guessing
This stag beetle or toe biter (or whatever it is) was found in our dog’s water dish on our back porch. I “scooped” it out with the glass jar that you see. (I didn’t want it to die, but I also didn’t want to let it go until I could find out what it is.) The photos of the beetles were taken today (July 8, 2004) near Chattanooga, Tennessee. (I sent two photos hoping that my hand holding the jar would provide some perspective. I thought the photo without my hand perhaps had a better angle.) Hope these photos are helpful to someone seeking more information. Thanks for your help… despite the barrage of inquiries you receive. I’m glad to know there’s a place that can help “name” the many insect-type “critters” out there!

Hi Anita,
Your beetle, which you undoubtedly saved from sure drowning, is a Stag Beetle, probably a Pseudolucanus species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

thanks for helping me to identify the other residents of my home. fotograf this arthropods has become a hobby to me (there is always somthing new) . theone named “bico4” here is called “gorgojo” and this was about an inch long.
Daniel Vazques Abarca

Hi Daniel,
The “gorgojo” is a type of Weevil. These are beetles from the family Curculionidae. They are frequently plant pests. I am also going to forward your letter to our beetle expert Dan, who may have additional information for you. We did a google search for Gorgojo and found numerous sites in Spanish. The weevil was identified as Insectos plagas: GORGOJO – Otiorrynchus sulcatus. This site states: “Los adultos, que aparecen a finales de primavera, comen en los bordes de las hojas pero no tiene importancia en cuanto a da

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination