From the monthly archives: "October 2004"

What are these bugs?
These were found under a leaf on an ivy plant in our yard. We thought they were ladybugs because they were red like in these photos. Now (three days later) they are black and are migrating. What are they? Should we be afraid?
Ida and Richard

Hi Ida and Richard,
You have newly hatched hemipterans, True Bugs, from some unknown species. Your photo reveals some type of plant feeder. They use their sucking mouth parts to extract juices from plants. They are garden pests.

Re: Beetle ID
I was at a covered bridge in western oregon (Ritner Covered Bridge near Wren), and saw thousands of these beetle coming out of cracks in the wood. Can you please identify this beetle, and tell me if they are feeding on the Douglas fir wood used for the trusses?
Kevin M. Groom, P.E.

Hi Kevin,
This is not a beetle, but a Box Elder Bug. They form very large aggregations of thousands of insects. They were not feeding on the bridge, but more likely beginning to hibernate. Perhaps as cold weather began, they sought shelter, but emerged on a warm sunny day. They often enter peoples’ homes in search of a good hibernation site.

On the rosebush
We found this little guy on the rosebush as we were cleaning off aphids. S/he is about 1/4 inch long. Have not seen one like it, so was curious to know what it might be.
Thanks in advance,
Eric Bergsten

Hi Eric,
I hope your immature Lady Bird Beetle or Ladybug did not come to an untimely end. The larvae are ravenous aphid eaters, and unlike the adults, do not fly away. Your specimen is Harmonia axyridis, the Multicolored Asian lady beetle.

I live in Northern NJ and certainly never thought I could get moths. My dry cleaner never even saw one in all the years of her business. I noticed a few things flying around in my hallway about 2 weeks ago but thought they were little fruit flies or something. As the days went by I noticed more of these and a few in the house. I am terribly afraid of bugs of any kind so I frantically started cleaning the hallway to find a white with a pale greenish worm on one of my jackets.

I right away suspected moths and took a few of my sweater coats to the dry cleaners. We found two cocoons on the bottom rim of one of the sweaters. Another day has past and I noticed three on one of my suede coats. I thought they only liked wool?! I have 2 long suede coats two that have lambs wool around the collar and cuffs which have the cocoons. Another suede coat with fur and a few other sweater coats all have them.
My landlord went through them all and put them in plastic bags and I am going to take them to the cleaners today. Three jackets are left in the hallway without any visible signs of cocoons but I am sure I should clean them anyway. There was one moth hanging out on my ceiling in the hallway yesterday and now I just spotted one on my wall leading into my kitchen (which may be the one from the hallway?). I took a few pics but under the nervous pressure to get close to it they are blurry. I am attaching it anyway.
I have no idea how they got here because I am obsessively neat and work so much that I rarely have food in the house. I do have a lovebird who eats a pellet diet but has spray millet for treats…this I keep in the refrigerator though. Will they go near him and can he get sick from them if they do? I am so upset over this and how can I get rid of them if I do not know where they started. The coats were not in a closet but hanging on hooks outside my door and I live on the second floor and my landlord doesn’t have them. However, one of my bosses said they had clothes moths a few months ago. Is there any correlation?
What should I do?
Any help with be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!
Lisa Tomsky, MS, RD
Innovative Nutrition Consultants

Hi Lisa,
Moths are attracted to lights, so if anyone in your vicinity has either clothes moths or pantry moths, they can easily fly into your home and begin to feed if they find a food source. Naturally, a sheepskin lining in a coat is a food source. Animal skins including suede are also viable food sources. One of the best ways to protect your woolens is to take all clothing to the dry cleaners at least once a year, whether or not you wear it.

What is this?
Hi Daniel,
I was happy to hear from you,and wanted to let you know that as soon as I can I will send some pictures for your site,things tend to go in cycles with me getting busier at certain times as well,however in the meantime I’m sending a picture,not resized to your sites specs, just the site it was submitted to,but just so you can see because I’m wondering if you can tell me what kind of insect this is…it acts like a bee,and I’ve seen them around my yard a lot,and have always called them little green bees,but I have no clue as to what they actually are,I live in South Florida,near the Fort Lauderdale area. I submit to photography sites,so most likely I’ll be asked by everyone what it is,I’m really hoping you’ll know!!!
Thanks very much,
Beth Bernier

Hi Beth,
Your photo is absolutely gorgeous. We were unsure exactly what your beautiful metallic insect was. It is colored like a sweat bee or a cuckoo wasp, but its body form resembled a fly more. The telltale feature of a fly is that they have two and not four wings. We are turning to a more knowledgeable source:
“Dear Daniel: Boy, that sure does look like an orchid bee in the genus Euglossa, but as far as I know, they are found strictly south of the Mexican border. I suppose it could be a recent introduction (or something else I am unfamiliar with), Definitely an apid bee of some sort. Thanks for sharing!
Later Eric wrote back
Euglossa bee? Daniel:
Here is a real expert answer as to what the bee is (it is a Euglossa sp.), and how it might have turned up so far out of its normal range.
Dear Friends, esp. Doug Y:
I think this is a Euglossa sp. bee, but what would it be doing in Ft. Lauderdale???
Obviously, it’s visiting flowers. 😉
At any rate, this is not surprising, given that it’s a well-known phenomenon for hurricanes to move insects around. Many, MANY of the odd US records for Mexican lepidoptera coincide with major storms – and I certainly think this year would qualify as a major storm year. So, I would expect such a stray to be a meaningless data point, especially as it’s a male Euglossa – though if there’s one, there may be more, and if that includes some fertilized females, then who knows? Climatically, there isn’t really any obvious reason southern Florida couldn’t support orchid bees. If there are repeated sightings in the future, then at least we have some evidence pointing to this being the year the invasion might have occurred.
Doug Yanega
Dept. of Entomology, Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California – Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521-0314
phone: (951) 827-4315
(standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR’s)

Hi Daniel,
Well that’s quite exciting news!!! If your expert friends are interested..I can tell you that these bees have been here at least a year,perhaps longer as I have been trying to get a good photo of one for at least that long,and there have been at a few bees present most times,they seem to love my wild morning glories,as well as the flowers shown in the image,in fact they seem to be quite attracted to any flower in the violet/blue color. I’ve also seen them before at a nearby nature preserve called Fern Forest.My exact address is 5500 SW 6th Court in Margate,Fl. That’s so an exact location can be noted,also if there’s anyone that wishes to contact me about the bees for scientific purposes please feel free to give them my email address. Thank you again for your help!

Update: (12/14/2006)
Hello my name is Lance I have seen this bug as well in South Florida. It is bright green and an incredible flier. I have seen this bug hover in a single spot as still as a statue, then very quickly dart just a couple of inches over left or right or forward. I wish I could get a picture of it. It went into a hole it made or something else made burrowed into concrete….perhaps building a nest….I just wanted you all to know the behavior so maybe it would help better understand it….maybe a new kind of bug