From the monthly archives: "February 2005"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Now, for something a little different…!
Hi there, once again! Usually I’m sending you various odd bugs for ID but this time it’s a moth. I found this beautiful moth on my porch yesterday. Check out the green heart shapes on his wings — just in time for Valentine’s Day! I cannot find anything remotely like it anywhere in my internet searches. He’s rather on the large side, with much fuzz around his head and purple-ish shades under the green hearts of his wings. I nearly abandoned hope of finding an ID when I realized you have a "moths" page! I would be so honored to have a name for my lovely visitor! Thanks for all the hard work you do on your fantastic site!
Michelle Mahood
Shingletown, California

Hi Michelle,
We always love getting photos from you. Your beautiful moth is the Pacific Green Sphinx or Bear Sphinx, Arctonotus lucidus. It ranges along the Pacific coast, from southern California to British Colombia. It flies in the very early in the year, appearing from January to March. The caterpillar feeds on Evening Primrose. Here is a link to a site silkmoths.bizland that has more images including the complete metamorphosis.

Thank you SO much!!! No wonder I couldn’t find it; a Google image search turns up only three images of the Pacific Green Sphinx! I feel I’ve been treated to a rare and lovely sight and feel quite lucky to have run across him. If you’re ever looking for pictures of macroinvertebrates of the type trout enjoy, I have an album of such creatures at — when not photographing crawling and flying creatures I am a flyfishing fanatic! Thanks again for your prompt and right-on ID…
Michelle Mahood

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

This bug was found on an item of clothing (right before putting it on). It had somehow burrowed within the clothing material. Your help is much appreciated.

Hi Charlie,
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you have a Human Louse, probably Pediculus humanus. Hogue has something to say about this bane to humankind. “Like the bedbug, this menace to human beings is not as prevalent today as in the past because of improved public and personal hygiene. Yet it still pops up here and there, most often among school children and indigents, and it remains the lone true companion of the hobo. This is a sucking louse found only on humans, to whom it causes much discomfort in exchange for its meal of blood. Two forms are known: the head louse infests the hair of the scalp, and the body louse lives in clothing near the body surface. Both are small (1/16 to 3/16 in.) and oval, with pointed legs. Unfed individuals are flat and yellowish to medium brown in color; after injesting blood they are swollen and show a dark clot of blood in the abdomen. Bites of the Human Louse cause a slight local reaction accompanied by itching. … In the vernacular, the Human Louse is known as the ‘Cootie.’ Its eggs, which are firmly attached to the hairs of the head and body, are the familiar ‘nits.'”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this worm?!!
Dear Bugman,
I found several of these 3/4-inch worms (or, yeesh, maggots?) under the geranium pots on our patio. I’ve attached photos, and the head (?) is on the darker end. The thing is translucent and I can see its innards through its skin. It moves like an earthworm, by rippling its muscles up from the back toward the head. I’m just getting into gardening and I want to make sure these things aren’t harmful to my new plants (let alone that they aren’t going to morph into something even scarier!!) Thanks so much, I love your site – even though it gave me nightmares last night! Sincerely,
Emma in Northern California

Hi Emma,
Your photo looks like a Cutworm, the caterpillar of a type of moth. There are many species. Most are general feeders. They get their common name of Cutworm from the fact that the caterpillars often eat through the stems of young plants, severing them and killing them. Just squash them.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

stick bugs
We have some stick bugs as pets. we started out with four and had them a good long time. one by one they died, and we put their cage away. some time later we went to use the cage for a toad the kids found and to our surprise there were baby stick bugs in it. well we ended up with four nice size stick bugs again. we love them , they make great little pets. our question is , how will we know if they laid eggs? and what do the eggs look like? I hope when we lose the ones we have it will not be the end of our bugs.
thank you for any help you can give me.
Mary in Montana

Hi Mary,
Walkingsticks, Family Phasmidae, are much more common in the South than the North, which is probably why you have the Northern Walkingstick, Diapheromera femorata. The males grow to 3 inches and females to 3 3/4 inches in length. They range north to Alberta Canada. They will eat the leaves of many deciduous trees but especially like oak and hazelnut. The female drops her eggs singly and they overwinter among ground litter, hatching in the spring. I guess someone never cleaned the cage before putting it away which is why you wound up with nymphs for a second generation of pets. I have heard that when there is a large population of Walkingsticks laying eggs in the forest, the eggs dropping sound like falling rain.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

bug info
We are having this bug on our carpet for a while. Apparently it’s harmless, but since I have a 6-month-old baby, I’d like to check what it is. I’ve looked at several bug pictures, but could not find it. We also find them sometimes on our bathtub. We live in Boston, MA. It is the size of a small ant, very small. To kill it, I crush it and it sounds like killing a pregnant dog’s flea, it cracks. I’ve put a couple in a completely closed jar a few days ago, and they are still alive. I’m sending some pictures I took. I’d appreciate any kind of information you could provide me.
Thanks a lot
Melina Suarez

Dear Melina
We were not sure exactly what species of beetle you had, though we suspected some type of Pantry Beetle. We contacted a true beetle expert, Eric Eaton who gave us the following reply:
“Some pretty clear images of pretty tiny beetles! They are spider beetles, Mezium americanum. It is a stored product pest, so best to inspect the pantry to find the source of the infestation. This should also include examination of pet food, taxidermy mounts, insect collections, the spice rack….Aside from adding some inadvertent protein to one’s diet, though, they are of no real consequence even if you don’t ever find them. Aside, we’d love to have these images submitted to Not even sure this family is represented yet.
Ed. Note: We put Eric in contact with Melina and hopefully she will give permission to post the images on

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination