From the monthly archives: "July 2005"

moth identification
Like others, I came across your site trying to identify a moth that I had never seen before. I arrived home to find it clinging to our screen door where it remained throughout the afternoon. We live in Sherwood , Wisconsin which is about 30 minutes southwest of Green Bay . I am a novice, so perhaps this moth is relatively common, but it was the first time I had never seen a moth so large or exotic! Your site has wonderful photos and kind and helpful responses. Would you be able to help me identify this moth?
Many thanks,

Hi Beccy,
Thanks for the most excellent photo of a Cecropia Moth, Hyalophora cecropia. It is often considered the largest North American moth, but some writers give that distinction to another Giant Silkworm Moth, the Polyphemus Moth.

another photo from Fairbanks, Alaska
I took this photo in yesterday in Fairbanks , Alaska . This small caterpillar (about 1⁄2 inch in length) was eating an aphid on my tomato plant.
Erik Anderson
Education Associate
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Fairbanks Alaska

Hi Erik,
Beautiful photograph. We did some carniverous caterpillar research and there is only one aphid eating caterpillar, the Harvester, Feniseca tarquinius, and it does not range in Alaska. We queried Eric Eaton and he revealed the real answer: “Ooh! This is a GREAT image about a great creature to talk about. Unless you catch one in the act of eating aphids, you might assume it is actually a plant-feeder, not the biocontrol agent and friend of the gardener! It is the larva of a syrphid fly! Several genera of syrphids (flower flies or, in Europe, “hover flies”) have larvae that eat aphids. The adult flies are all superb wasp or bee mimics, and excellent pollinators, so they help us out at all life stages:-) Thanks for sharing the great image. Eric”

Ed. Note: We just received the following letter.

(07/06/2005) What an odd coincidence, I just posted a picture of the aphid-eating hover fly larva in my blog just days before you posted your answer to a reader’s question. Cool. We’re in Colorado and this picture is from a rose bush. Great site.

Hi Bugman,
I needed a picture of a Hellgrammite to send to a buddy. Yours are tops. I have long time experience with the hellgrammite.
We use them as bait for bass fishing. I have seen the adult Dobsonfly and it is larger and broader has a much stronger wing structure than your photos.
I will attempt to take some pictures of some local dobsonfly. The ones that you are showing wimpy.. Some of these hellgrammites are 4 to 5 inches in length.
Nice web site.
Best regards,
Joe B

Box Elder Bug Great, great site! Although I’m entirely creeped out and won’t sleep for a week, I did identify the giant swarm of box elder bugs covering my back yard near – what else? – the box elder and maple trees. They’ve been there for several years, and when I read they could come in the house, it was time for them to go. Many many thanks to Debbie Fenclau for the environment- and pet-friendly solution of spraying them with laundry soap solution. Worked like a charm and as much as I hate to see things die, that they did right in front of my eyes. And, although I’ll be silently screaming in horror, I will leave the house centipedes be now so they can eat worse things. I have already forwarded your site to a number of friends, including my sister who just moved to California and will have a whole new bunch of bugs to make friends with. The information you provide is wonderful, and your site will be the first place I go to ID new bugs.
Dearborn Heights, MI
p.s. found your site via Google-ing "identifying insects in Michigan"

Hi Bugman,
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me this is NOT a 1-inch long roach I found in the basement of my new house in North Carolina…

Hi Nancy,
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a roach, but there is good news. It is immature and not breeding yet, and also it is not a German Cockroach, the worst infesters.