From the monthly archives: "April 2006"

I found your website while searching for a caterpillar ID, and just spent 2 hours enjoying all your wonderful photos and comments! I found this bird-dropping mimic on a weed in my garden which *might* be a wild cherry since I have a large one in my yard. I am not sure though because the plant is only 10 inches tall! Sadly the next day the caterpillar was gone. I live in Northern Virginia. I think it is a red-spotted purple, what do you think? Thanks for looking at my critter and for having such an awesome site!

Hi Rebecca,
The Red-Spotted Purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax, and the White Admiral, Limenitis arthemis arthemis, are subspecies with different ranges that overlap. According to BugGuide: “White Admiral ( Limentis arthemis form arthemis ) – the northern form, basically black and white in the east, In the west specimens tend to have red spots on the hind wing and are called Western White Admirals ( Limentis arthemis form rubrofasciata ). In the SE USA and as far north as extreme southern Ontario this species is black and purple (no white band)and is called Red-Spotted Purple ( Limentis arthemis form astyanax ). As there 3 forms are regarded as being the same species, intergrades between them are quite common.” Since you have graciously provided us with a location, we can presume you do have the southern Red-Spotted Purple. Thank you for sending in a new caterpillar for our site.

Help identify this nest of bees
Hi Bugman!
I am so grateful I found this site and I am hoping you can identify this nest of bees which have decided to take over a bird house in our back yard. Are they dangerous? Are they endangered? I hope you can help, they make me a little nervous!
Thanx a lot!
Linda Robb

Hi Linda,
Because we are feeling cantankerous, we must begin by yelling at you. Where are you???????? Insect identification is difficult enough when location is known. If we didn’t love your photo, which is awesome, we would have simply hit the delete key and moved to a letter with more substance. If you are in the eastern U.S. or Canada, these are Red-Tailed Bumble Bees, Bombus ternarius. According to our Audubon Guide: “In early spring queen enters opening in soil to build honeypots and brood cells. Small workers develop first, visit flowers for nectar, and construct new brood cells. With warmer weather, larger adults develop. Only young mated females overwinter.” With the current state of the world, all living things are endangered but your native bees are not rare. They are not aggressive, but you should not disturb their nest or they will sting repeatedly. Please let them live in their awesome new home.

Sorry Bugman,
I live in Portland, Oregon. Thanks for identifing our bees. I have a few more awesome photos of them if you want me to send them to you. I have never seen a bee that looked like that before. They swarm around the front of the bird house in the middle of the afternoon when it is hot. It looks like they have some kind of a cone just inside the opening of the house. So sorry I didn’t give you more information in the beginning, it is the first time I wrote to someone about them! Best Regards,
Linda Robb

Update (05/01/2006)
Eric Eaton provided us with some assistance on this one: ” Ok, the bumblebees should be Bombus melanopygus, if my memory serves. We called them red-tailed bumblebees when I lived in Portland. That is a neat shot, one we could use on Bugguide because we don’t have that species yet.”

blister beetle and its lunch?
The bugs: From looking at the beetle pages on your site, I’m pretty sure this is a blister beetle. The photo was taken on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, on 4/26. Unfortunately I don’t know what kind of plant this is. There is something like an egg sac to the right of the beetle, and little larvae are coming out of it. You can actually see one emerging from a hole, and there are others climbing up the stem. Is this beetle preying on them? Do you have any idea what type of bugs are coming out of the egg case? a picture of an intact egg case on the same plant: There were some Rosa rugosa growing nearby that also had the same types of egg cases, and many of them had a single drop of moisture hanging from them, as if they were oozing. The cases all had different black/brown/tan patterns and were very pretty.

Hi Jess,
We are not certain this is a Blister Beetle, and we cannot find a species match on BugGuide. We will check with Eric Eaton regarding the species and also see if he has any knowlege of the cases. Here is Eric Eaton’s response: ” Hard to tell from the image, but given the information provided, I don’t think it is a blister beetle. More likely it is a soldier beetle, family Cantharidae. I never saw blister beetles in the spring in Oregon, and cantharids are predatory on aphids and such, and are abundant in the spring. The “egg case” looks to be some kind of large scale insect. Could be that it is a female, and her offspring are exiting from beneath her. Scale insects disperse as tiny crawlers, so I imagine that is what is going on here.”

A Bug in Ottawa
First time across the site but I’m impressed! Awesome! My father found this bug in our basement. I’ve seen a few of these before in our area (Ottawa, Ontario). I don’t mind beetles unless they’re harmful to trees. We know it’s not a pine beetle but could you determine what it is? Oh yeah, it’s about 1/4" to 3/8" long.
P.S. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures but I’ve see another beetle similar to this one but slightly skinnier but same length. Could you give some possibilities? I’ll try to get some pictures when they seem to come out in droves.

Hi Greg,
This is a predatory stink bug, the Two-Spotted Stink Bug, Perillus bioculatus. We suspect, due to the inclusion of the word “droves”, that your unpictured insect is a Boxelder Bug.

Green Moth in Ecuador
My husband & I really enjoyed looking at your site! We are currently in Quito, Ecuador and discovered this large moth that looked like a green leaf. Upon examining it (while it was sitting on some ivy) it crawled into my hand! To my surprise, it stayed on my hand long enough for us to get quite a few pictures. We think it may be some sort of Sphinx Moth, but did not see it on your site. Can you help us identify it?
Thanks so much!!

Hi Miranda,
We have gotten photos of the Gaudy Sphinx, Eumorpha labruscae, from Florida and it ranges through the Caribbean and Central America to Argentina.

Can you identify this?
We recently found this bug in our yard while burning some trees that had blown down. It appeared they were laying eggs in the loose bark of one of the trees. It looked at if one was laying the eggs, and the other one might have been using the long "antenna" to fertilize the eggs.

Hi Kathy,
Female Giant Ichneumons in the genus Megarhyssa use that long, stingerlike ovipositor to place eggs deep in wood that contains their food source, wood boring grubs. They are related to wasps, but do not sting and are harmless.