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

Strange Cocoons
Hi, Bugman,
We have two unusual cocoons around our house in central Florida. They are dark, spikey, and about 2 or 3 inches in length. What kind of critter can we expect to emerge from them?
Thanks,
Curious

Hi Curious,
You have a type of Bagworm, probably Thyridopteryx sphemeraeformis. This is a type of moth that often infests conifers like arborvitae. The caterpillars form the protective bag and never leaves it. It then pupates in the bag. The female is flightless and remains in the bag after emerging, and the male which has wings searches her out to mate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I saw this bug
Hi there, I am originally from Argentina but I live in Texas now. Today I found this bug that in Argentina we call "vinchuca" and transmit a disease called "chagas" is a very bad disease. Someone told me that is a inoffensive beetle but it looks like the vinchuca (or kissing bug). The picture is not very good because I was scared. Can you tell me what it is?
Thank you
Adriana

Hi Adriana,
We also have a Kissing Bug that transmits Chagas Disease, but your photo looks like a Wheel Bug, one of the Assassin Bugs. It is difficult to be certain based on your photo, but the distinguishing feature is the coglike “wheel” on the thorax. Wheel Bugs are related to Kissing Bugs, and both are true bugs, or Hemipterans. Wheel Bugs are not known to be disease vectors, but they can bite painfully if mishandled. They are beneficial since they destroy many garden pests.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ok, What is it..
I’m thinking it’s some type of mole cricket, but it is considerably larger than I’ve ever seen… I’m estimating 2.5 inches long
just curious
Robert

Hi Robert,
You have a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket which is related to Mole Crickets.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Identity
Could you please identify this pretty little critter. As you can tell it
likes mums. It is small and looks pinkish when fluttering.
Thank you.
Zaroga
Albany, GA

Hi Zaroga,
Your lovely photo is of a species of moth from the Family Arctiidae, or Tiger Moths. Our old Holland Book identifies it as Utetheisa bella or Beautiful Utetheisa. It is a common moth which frequents the blossoms of Goldenrod in the late summer and early fall. The moth exhibits some color variations and is found along the Atlantic Seaboard.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you please tell us what kind of bug this is?Hi WTB!
Hello WTB.
Can you please tell us what kind of bug this is? We sure hope so! We found this bug on the dirt path in our back yard. We caught it in our bug vacuum, shortly after releasing an ant lion. I am 8 and brother is 6 and we LOVE bugs, so you can expect lots of questions and photos from us in the future, now that we’ve discovered your great website. We are anxiously awaiting your answer. Thanks! We live in El Cajon, California.
Thank you for your help!
The RamFam4

Dear RamFam4,
Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you, but we have been busy and also the site was down, yet again, due to heavy traffic. We wrote to Eric Eaton for assistance on your beetle. He wrote back: “The hairy beetle is some kind of Tenebrionidae darkling beetle. I’ll forward this message to a friend of mine who is an authority on California beetles. He’ll probably know the genus at least.” We hope to hear more and get you a more positive identification.
Ed. Note: We later heard back from Eric who contacted expert Art Evans who contacted Warren Steiner at USNM. According to Art: “the winner is Trichiasida! This, according to my friend and teneb expert, Warren Steiner at the USNM. According to me, the likely species are hirsuta, hispidula, gabbi, or impetrata. The genus was last revised by T.L. Casey in 1912 and is need of revision!”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tarantula?
I hope you can venture a guess on this large spider, which turned up in my living room in Sonoma County California this morning. The picture is not great, but that’s a Pretenders LP cover. It was not particularly hairy, but did have lots of small spiny protrusions on the legs, and some fine cinamon colored hairs on some upper leg parts. Otherwise, all just sort of charcoal color, with no obvious markings, with the exception of a sort of radiation symbol mark on its thorax (not abdomen). At the end of the abdomen were two distinct downward pointing hooks, resembling fangs. This guy was ready for a fight.
Thanks, and once again, sorry for the poor picture, but I was hoping that region size and description would help.
Stefen Soltysiak
Director of Education
Rodney Strong Vineyards

Hi Stefen,
You shouldn’t be so harsh about the quality of your photograph. What is lacks in sharpness, it more than makes up for in creativity. You can’t miss with the Pretenders. You sure do have a Tarantula. Tarantulas belong to the family Theraphosidae. About 30 species of Tarantulas live within the United States, for the most part in the arid Southwest. Many California species belong to the genus Aphonopelma. Tarantulas often live in colonies in burrows in the ground. They often loose much of their hair just before molting. Though they rarely bite and have weak venom, it is possible for dislodged hairs to cause inflamation if they become imbedded in skin or eyes, a possible defense mechanism. The downward pointing hooks on the abdomen you mention are actually spinnerettes for spinning silk.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination