From the monthly archives: "April 2006"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big Black Beetle
As a young boy I was quite the bug collector: everything I ever caught I would study religiously until I knew the creature inside and out. At the tender age of 10, I considered myself an expert in the field of Centipedes and Earwigs. One insect I occasionally came across in my little bug hunting adventures as a kid was what I labeled the ”Big Black Beetle”. I become quite fascinated with the beetle and wanted to know more, but my search to find more answers about the bug proved to be unsuccessful. And as time went on I, unfortunately, stopped looking for bugs all together as other hobbies and interests beckoned, and the mystery of the ”Big Black Beetle” seemed to be forgotten. Then last week at work (I work at a log home construction site) I found it! I was lifting up some boards and spotted the little guy. Maybe you guys can help me solve this mystery once and for all!

Hi Braden,
We are fairly certain this is a Darkling Beetle, possibly in the genus Eleodes, but we want to check with Eric Eaton for substantiation and perhaps a species identification. A location would be a tremendous help. Eric wrote: ” LOOKS like an Eleodes, but not knowing where exactly it was collected, I won’t say for certain. Other genera of Tenebrionidae can look nearly identical. Eleodes are typical of true deserts. Coelocnemis and Iphtheminus (spelling?) tend to replace Eleodes at higher elevations, like in Ponderosa pine forest habitats.”

Thanks for your help guys! I live in British Columbia, Canada. For some reason I thought I included my location in my initial e-mail, sorry about that!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black beetle
Found this beetle in our grass. We tried to identify it on the internet, but no luck. We live in Boise, Idaho. Our son loved watching it roam. We hope our trees aren’t in danger. Any guesses? Thanks-

Hi Brandon,
Your trees are safe. This is a Giant Water Scavenger Beetle, Hydrophilus ovatus. Though aquatic, they can fly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Incredible moth
This is a moth right? What kind is it? I found it sitting on our begonias. I live in Central FL. Thanks for your info.
Tracey Earley

Hi Tracey,
The Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, really is a stunning moth. The larval food plants include evening primrose and water primrose.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red bugs on the porch
Great site! I live in Richmond, VA and the weather has been fairly warm for the last month. I’ve ventured out onto porch for the first time this year only to find several hundred little red bugs crawling over the painted wooden railing of my historic Fan district apartment. I am concerned that these bugs might be harmful in some way. It appears they are or are related to mites, but I was hoping you could confirm that with the attached macro shots. Sharpening in Photoshop has whitening the edges of their bodies slightly. Thanks,

Hi Doug,
They are Mites, but not all Mites are troublesome. These look like Predatory Running Mites that eat other small arthropods including young spiders and insects. They would be considered beneficial. We have been getting numerous letters lately without images from people complaining about the little red spiderlike creatures running around on their window sills. When squashed they leave a red mark. Thank you for supplying us with an image.

Update From Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Predatory running mites. All of the mites in the photos you call by this name are species in the family Erythraeidae, genus Balaustium. I think you have these confused with species in the family Anystidae, genus Anystis. Both of these mites are relatively large (for mites!), red in color, and commonly occur in aggregations. Anystis are the very fast moving, predatory mites. Their body is almost circular in outline. They run in what appears to be a random fashion until they encounter small arthropod prey. These are harmless to people. Balaustium, on the other hand, are more elongate as seen in your photos, with a distinct gap between the 2nd and 3rd legs. Species of Erythraeidae have piercing mouthparts and are also predatory on small arthropods or eggs in their post-larval stages, but Balaustium are unusual in being pollen feeders. They can be found in large numbers in flowers, but are most often seen by people on flat surfaces where pollen falls. These mites have been reported to bite people, causing some irritation, although why they do this is uncertain since they’re not parasitic.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Larva Verification
I returned home last weekend to find my rose bush laden with aphids. A quick search of my garden located a lady bug which I then "transplanted" onto a stem of the rose bush. From the photo it can be identified as a 7 spotted lady bug. I found a dozen more lady bugs and carried them to the bush where each remained on top of its own rose stem. Since this was my first attempt to fight aphids with lady bugs rather than to zap them with an insecticide, I became more and more enthralled with watching the daily activities on my rose bush. Then I noticed "worms" appearing. From what I had read about lady bugs, the larvae were described as looking like alligators, but my larvae don’t have that appearance. Is this because they are relatively young and in beginning stages of being "larvae" or am I looking at something entirely different. One of the photos shows a larva on a leaf. The other photo I took to show how the large was wrapped around the twig. Just as I snapped the photo, an aphid crawled past and the larva snatched it up and is shown eating it. To make a long message short, are the two larvae in the photos actually lady bug larvae? I love your web site!!!! Thank you for your help
Republic, Missouri

Syrphid Fly Larva 7 Spot Ladybird

Hi Jean,
No. Your larvae are not Ladybird Larvae. They are Syrphid Fly Larvae, and they are a wonderful biological control agent against Aphids, as are Ladybirds. Lacewings are also marvelous. If the Aphids ever become too numerous for the predators, a jet of water from the hose will knock them off the plant and without a food source, the wingless young will perish. Thanks for the great letter and the accompanying photos. We have photos of Ladybird Larvae on our Ladybug page.

Dear (Bugman), Yesterday I went you photos regarding the ladybird larvae which turned out to be syrphid fly larvae. Thank you so much for your response and your answer. I think your site is one of the most helpful I have ever seen…. so personal and interactive! I am a Master Gardener and webmaster for the University of Missouri Master Gardener’s website for Southwest Missouri I would like your permission to add your site to our link page. Please let me know if this is feasible.
Jeanne Larsen
Republic, MO

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination