From the monthly archives: "August 2004"

My Granddaughter found this in the yard. I thought you could let us know what type of Moth it is and did it lay eggs. Thanks so much for your reply. Samantha is extremly interested in nature and loves to care for our garden, She is outstanding. I am her grandmother so I think she is the best. Thanks again for your time and interest in this matter. If you have any printed material can you send it to her. thanks again.
Her name is Samantha C. from lewes, delaware. again I thank you for looking at these pictures and finding out what she found and what it’s name is.
D. Smith

Hi D.,
Your granddaughter captured a female Imperial Moth, Eacles imperialis, formerly Basilona imperialis. Those are indeed eggs. When the eggs hatch, tell your granddaughter to feed the caterpillars fresh leaves from Oak, Hickory, or Maple. The moth, which does not feed as an adult, might already be dead. They only live a few days, long enough to mate and lay eggs. Male moths have more purple on the wings. Sorry, we have no printed material to send to Samantha, whose address we tactfully deleted.

What kind of insect is this?
Hello! I found this insect at my house located in Central PA. I think that it may be some sort of dragonfly. What is it?

Hi Eileen,
Thanks for sending in the great photos of Megarhyssa atrata, the Giant Ichneumon. Your female wasp uses that long ovipositor to deposit eggs deep inside living trees. Her young seek out and devour boring insects like sawflies. Though it looks dangerous, she will not sting you, despite being a type of wasp.

Egg-sack thing with worm
I live in Sherman Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles. I’ve been noticing at least one of these egg-sack things appear in and around my house lately, usually attached to a wall a few feet up from the floor. They are medium brown in color, look and feel like small scrap of paper, and are about one centimeter long. Do you know what is hatching out of it? The little worm keeps poking in and out of a hole at both ends of its “home.”
Thank you, – Shel

Hi Shel,
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae Phereoeca fallax. Here is some information issued by the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures Department: Entomology Laboratory Services: "Case-bearing Moth Larva (Phereoeca fallax) this is a common species in the Los Angeles basin, specially along coastal areas. The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends. They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures. Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. Thorough vacuuming should help control their numbers. The adult moths are very small and are rarely seen."

Hello, what is this insect? It has one pair of wings, the colors on it are black and yellow. I just thought it was odd that it’s abdomen was so skinny. It tends to fly quite slowly and it whirs whilst it flies. It is a wasp of some sort? Although the patterns of black and yellow are not striped, looks more spotted.

Hi T.
There is a reason “wasp-waist” has been used to describe a femine physique that has a tiny waist and awesome curves. Your Mud-Dauber from the genus Sceliphron also possesses a textbook thread waist. The species does have two pairs of wings.

To Whom it May Concern,
I killed two of these monsters this weekend. I have never seen a totally black, wasp like creature before. It dive bombed me and took an inordinate amount of wasp spray to kill. Can you please tell me what this is? I live in mid Michigan.
Chris McHugh

Hi Chris,
You killed Sphex pennsylvanica, the Great Black Wasp. They are hunters of katydids, and they nest singly in burrows in the soil, not in mud nests. They are very non-aggressive.

whats this bug?
Hi there, great idea for a site… Glad I found it because I’m curious what this bug is. Earlier in the year I was outside a coffee shop talking to some friends here in South-Eastern Ontario, and I heard some wierd buzzing behind me. I looked to see what it was, and sitting in the middle of the parking lot was this…uhm….thing (see attached photos). It was huge, I don’t think I’ve seen an insect this big in my life (outside of a zoo anyways). It was about 3 inches long, and an inch or so wide. I placed a coffee cup beside it for size reference (2nd photo). It tried several times to fly away, but it was injured and only made it a few feet. If you could identify it, I’d like to know more. Is it native to this area?
Brian Graves

Hi Brian,
We always love getting new photos of Giant Water Bugs, also known, deservedly, as Toe-Biters. They range across the North American Continent, and have relatives worldwide. A Thai species is about twice the size. Toe-Biters are the largest American True Bugs, and are larger than our largest Beetles. They are equally at home in the air or water. Yours is a Lethocerus species.

Well geez, its a pretty common thing then… I’ve just never seen one before, at least if I have it wasn’t anywhere near this big. Thanks for the info and the quick reply and keep up the work with the great website!