From the monthly archives: "August 2005"

Not Sure
I just found your web site as a "Site Of The Day" a was facsinated by the variety of bugs people see around there homes everyday. As it happens I had just taken a picture of a rather interesting looking Wasp/Bee in my backyard and was unsure what type it was. I checked in your site and could not find another that looked like it. I am from Belleville, Ontario, Canada and would appreciate any insite as to what this picture is of.
Thank You in Advance

Hi Brian,
This is a Bald Faced Hornet, one of the social paper wasps. Adults eat nectar and fruit juices. They are very protective of their nests, but otherwise not aggressive. Out of curiosity, who listed us as a Site of the Day?

The bug looks like David Bowie
Dear bugman,
I’m told you may be able to tell me what it is. I live in Southern California, silverado canyon to be exact (it’s on the edge of the cleveland national forest). It was a few months ago, this bug (pic attached) wondered onto our property. We see alot of strange spiders and bugs of sorts, but this one stumped us. It is 1/2 – 3/4 inches long. if you could tell me what kind it is i would be very greatful, we call it the David Bowie bug (since they share the same hair cut). We have not seen anything like it since that day.
Thank you,
Regina McIntyre

Hi Regina,
The Thistledown Velvet Ant does rather resemble David Bowie in his Diamond Dog days. This is actually a flightless female wasp.

Ed. Note Update: (12/02/2005)
ID corrections, etc. I’ve just discovered your excellent site (directed there by “This is True”), and as a hymenopterist have a few comments: All of the “thistledown velvet ants” shown are actually Dasymutilla nocturna, not Dasymutilla gloriosa. The latter has the erect hairs somewhat sparser and more “untidy”, the body is a reddish brown, not black, and all the hairs are whitish (no black hairs), so the legs look whitish.
I hope these comments are useful.

Update: (04/02/2008) ID for insects
Hey, my name is Will, this is a list of the ID’s for the velvet ant page. image 31. is Dasymutilla sackeni, Nocturna is a very ristricted species(Glamis, Algodones dunes). hope this helps a bit.

Giant Ichneumon
I figured out what this was by checking your website. I thought you might enjoy these photos from my back yard in a northwestern suburb of Chicago. I have never seen anything like this species before and almost crawled out of my skin when I saw them crawling all over a dead elm in my yard. The tree died after being infested with wood boring bees a couple of years ago.
Thanks for the info!

There are probably still wood boring grubs in your tree which is why the Ichneumons are laying eggs.

Ed. Note: (09/17/2005) We now believe this to be Megarhyssa macrurus which can be located on this site.

One ugly fly
I looked through your site but did not find this fly anywhere. What is it? It was found buzzing around in Point Lobos State Park, near Carmel, CA.

Hi Matt,
This is a new species for our site. It is a Beelike Tachinid Fly, Bombyliopsis abrupta. The adults drink nectar, and the larvae are internal parasites on caterpillars.

Challenge: Insect Eggs
I found these eggs outside today on this little branch. They’re quite small, maybe 1/4 – 1/2 inch in height. I live in East Tennessee (in the valley) and was wondering if you know what they’ll hatch into.
Caleb Wright

Hi Caleb,
Your letter came in around the time we had trouble with our old web host and in the transition, it got forgotten. Originally we contacted Eric Eaton and he agreed with us that these were Hemipteran Eggs, True Bugs, but neither he nor we recognize the species. Sorry for the long delay, but we just got a new letter for an egg identification and it prompted us to create a new egg page. Then we remembered your fascinating image.