From the monthly archives: "August 2004"

big beetle bug
Hey.
We live near Raleigh, NC and are having a horrible time getting rid of some bugs that have attacked our newly planted (last fall) River Birch Tree. They have attacked only one of the 3 trunks of the tree which is now pretty much black and looks like it has been burned up. As you can see in the close up photo of the bottom of the tree, there are 2 types of bugs – one we know is a typical “June Bug”. The larger one favors the June Bug, but is twice the size. We have tried normal ways of trying to rid ourselves of them – which has worked on the June Bug, but not the larger one. We have used Sevin Spray and the Bag – A Bug. The Bag – A – Bug doesn’t even draw them and the spray only kills the one’s that are on the tree at the time. The next day, more are present – many more!!! They come by the 100’s. They are now moving onto my tomato plants – so it is time to get serious!!! Any idea what we are dealing with???
Going nuts!
Jim & Judy in NC

Hi Jim and Judy,
In addition to the smaller June Beetles, Phyllophaga species, you also have Green June Beetles, Cotinus nitida. These beetles are often called Figeaters, since they love to eat fruit. Adults fly in large numbers, making a loud buzzing which is somewhat similar to the buzzing of bumblebees. The beetle feeds on many plants, eating roots, stems and leaves. Larvae are common in rich soil and manure. We suspect that when you planted the tree, you amended the soil with organic material which served as a perfect habitat for the larvae. I would strongly suggest you check with a local nursery for a control method.

two unidentified spiders
Dear Bugman!
I have here two photos of different spiders. The male with the orange abdomen has eluded ID for too long! I happened to catch him while loving on his woman. He presented her with a grasshopper, and while she munched happily on her tasty treat, he got around to more importnat things. I managed to take a nice succession of photos, but this one had the best representations of both of them. I don’t need to tell you how awesome it was to witness this event. The second photo is a small spider with moderately long front legs, the first two pair I believe, found on the wall. He folded his legs up tight in response to my camera in his face, so I couldn’t get him to pose. I took these pictures West Texas this month.
Thanks!
Wendy A.

How romantic is that Wendy?
We love your courting Jumping Spider photos and the story as well. Your Jumping spiders are from the Family Salticidae, probably the genus Phidippus, and possibly Phidippus formosus. Hogue writes: “The brilliant red abdomen of this species frequently attracts attention in the spring, when it is most active. … The Red Jumping Spider is not considered dangerous, although its bite may be painful to sensitive persons. Like all jumping spiders, it has a pair of very large eyes. This is a hunting spider and thus does not use a permanent web for trapping prey. … Both sexes spend the daylight hours wandering over the ground and vegetation in search of small invertebrates, upon which they may leap from some distance.” Your spider might also be Phidippus insolens, which exhibits dimorphism in both sexes, meaning that the males and females are differently colored as well as having different color variations within the sex. One form has a black cephalothorax and red abdomen like your photo. Your second photo might be a Domestic Spider, Theridion tepidariorum.

mites?
Hello Bugman,
I just came over your site on the internet. I like taking macro shots of insect and today I have taken an interesting one. There are were some red dots on the wing of a dragonfly. I think maybe they can be some sort of insects or mites. I live in Hungary, Europe I hope you can help me anyway…
Best regards.
Ambruzs Péter

Dear Ambruzs Péter,
Your photo is beautiful. We suspect you have photographed the Locust Mite, Eutrombidium rostratum. Essig writes that it : “is the common locust mite of the United States and Europe. It is a large bright red species. … They are often taken on the body and wings of grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and mantids, and do not attack humans.” Even if it is not that exact species, you have most definitely photographed mites hitching a ride on your dragonfly.

Update:  August 18, 2017
Thanks to several comments we have received on this very old posting, we now realize these are larval Water Mites.  According to Northwest Dragonflier:  “Although odonates carrying water mites typically appear to be healthy and energetic, studies indicate that their longevity, flying endurance, and reproductive success can be negatively impacted by the stowaways. This seems to be especially true when lots of mites cluster together and cause significant damage to the cuticle of the exoskeleton, perhaps leading to desiccation. I assume that clusters of mites at particular locations on the odonate body—until they drop off anyway—can also interfere with reproduction by impeding copulation or by blocking sperm transference to the male’s secondary genitalia. It seems that just a few mites attached to unobtrusive areas of the body have negligible impact, and it’s more of a commensal relationship in that case.”

mites?
Hello Bugman,
I just came over your site on the internet. I like taking macro shots of insect and today I have taken an interesting one. There are were some red dots on the wing of a dragonfly. I think maybe they can be some sort of insects or mites. I live in Hungary, Europe I hope you can help me anyway…
Best regards.
Ambruzs Péter

Dear Ambruzs Péter,
Your photo is beautiful. We suspect you have photographed the Locust Mite, Eutrombidium rostratum. Essig writes that it : “is the common locust mite of the United States and Europe. It is a large bright red species. … They are often taken on the body and wings of grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and mantids, and do not attack humans.” Even if it is not that exact species, you have most definitely photographed mites hitching a ride on your dragonfly.

Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Locust mites on dragonfly (8/7/04). You’re close here. These mites are related to trombidiids, erythraeids and chiggers, but are actually larval water mites in the family Arrenuridae, genus Arrenurus. Water mites have the same life cycle as their terrestrial relatives (i.e. parasitic larva, predatory post-larvae), but the predatory stages are fully aquatic, living in ponds, lakes and streams. Arrenurus species commonly parasitize odonates. Unlike the red larvae, the post-larvae are a beautiful greenish blue, and are good swimmers in ponds & lakes.

What an excellent and fun website! I thought you might be able to help me with two mystery bugs that have proven baffling. The first is a caterpillar I saw in the mountains of central Nepal. It was at about 2000 meters, in cleared but overgrown land. The caterpillar was about 6 and a half cm long, and as you can see below, quite colorful. For lack of a better term, I’ve nicknamed it the ‘Himalayan Dragon’. Any ideas what this dragon turned into later in life?
Thanks!
Robbie

Hi Robbie,
Thanks for the photos of the exotica. They are a mystery to us as well. I can tell you with some degree of assurance, that the caterpillar will probably metamorphose into a moth and not a butterfly. It looks like it is some species of Tiger Moth or Tussock Moth, but we cannot be sure. We are content with the name Himalayan Dragon.