From the yearly archives: "2006"

Horntail? (Kirkland, WA)
I have two, sometimes three of these, everyday, on the south facing windows. On the inside. Have not seen these insects around the home in previous years, but two events may explain (aside from the season). The first is the neighbor’s house was destrpyed by fire, the second I have had the torch down roof replaced. Now some of these insects I see each day have an ovipositor and some like this one pictured, don’t. And then again, some have an orange banding around their bodies and not yellow … and there appears to be an armored shell. The picture was taken using a Nikon Coolpix 775. The insect is in a glass jar. Wasps or horntails?

Hi chrisE,
This appears to be a male Ichneumon. Females have the long ovipositors. Eggs are laid deep inside dead and dying trees since the larval food is wood boring insects. Ichneumons are related to wasps. Eric Eaton added the following: ” Oh, that male ichneumon could be a female. Not all female ichneumons have a long ovipositor. In fact, most don’t.”

Found this in our pool
Here’s another one for you. But first let me say that I found one of those wonderful giant waterbugs, Toe-Biters, swimming in our pool also. My girls jumped in and from under the rung on the ladder came swimming a dark shadow, I swore it was going after my eldest. I finally got it out but couldn’t find it after, That probably had to do with the fact that I flung the skimmer as far as I could, girls and me screaming the whole time. What a sight. LOL! These little critters here, about an inch long, have been swimming around in my pool also but I don’t think they are meant to only because I find them dead in there also. Any help with what they might be would be great. Not as scary as the giant waterbug but boy is it ugly.
Denise (Texas)

Hi Denise,
Mole Crickets oftne unwittingly stumble into pools.

Question Mark Caterpillar
Here is a caterpillar I saw while backpacking in South Carolina. I think it is a question mark (?). Didn’t see any on your site, does this seem like the right ID?

Hi Robert,
This is probably a Question Mark Caterpillar, Polygonia interrogationis, but it could be a closely related species like the Comma. At any rate, the posture indicates it is getting ready to form a chrysalis. For the record, there are other Question Mark caterpillars on our five caterpillar pages.

What kind of bugs are these?
Hello bugman,
We have a serious bug problem going on right now…we are a screen printing/graphics company and have these little yellow / gold bugs that are eating us alive. Could you please tell us what kind of bugs these are, what are they attracted to and what can we do to get rid of them????
Thank you and have a great day!
Stephanie Crawley

Hi Stephanie,
We can’t tell much by your photo, but based on another letter with some awesome photomicroscopy images, we suspect these might be Thrips. Normally they are plant pests, but perhaps they are capable of biting skin as well.

Need Identification
I need help trying to identify the bug in the attached pictures. I work as a technician at an electronics company. For my 10 minute breaks, I enjoy sitting outside and getting some fresh air. It seems like every spring, these tiny little bugs come out. I’ve noticed that they fly in swarms like gnats. Every time I walk back to my desk, I notice these tiny little creatures all over my shirt, arms, and in my hair. I’m not sure if they are biting me or if it’s the legs walking on me, but they are very itchy. It doesn’t seem as if their "bite" leaves a mark or bump. The pictures were taken with a microscope at 160X power. Any help to try and identify these bugs and why they like me so much would be appreciated.
Jasper, IN

Hi Allan,
This is some species of Thrips in the order Thysanoptera. Accordint to the Audubon Guide, there are over 4700 species in the world. The order name refers to the distinctive fringe of long hair on the wings. They have piercing and rasping mouthparts that enable them to saw through plant tissue and suck juices. Most species are pests on plants. This makes a new order and page for our site. Thanks for the contribution.