From the yearly archives: "2006"

wasp photo
Hi there
I have been through your wood wasp shots but couldn’t find anything like this one. My parents found it beside their pile of firewood logs. It is about an inch long (2.5cm) and the ovipositor is a bit longer than the body. We have never seen anything like it. Some of the logs had 4mm bore holes in them.

Hi Peter,
Ichneumons are wasp relatives, but have their own page on our site. This looks very similar to our American Megarhyssa species, but we cannot conclusively say that is the correct genus without more research. Female oviposits deep in rotting wood where larvae feed on wood boring insects.

Another Eastern Lubber photo
These are rather large but are still in black phase. They were plentiful as nymphs, and now they are fewer in number, but quite large in size. They are found in all kinds of vegetation, but we have never seen them eat anything. Location: New Port Richey, FL 34654
Dan O’Brien

Thanks for the great photo Dan.

Unidentified Beetle??
I need help identifying this beetle. I looked through the beetles on your site and couldn’t find one quite like this one. I started seeing larvae in our bedroom in late September. (About the time my antique bedroom suite came back from being refinished and stored in a warehouse. I was worried that they came with the bed.) The larvae looked similar to carpet beetle larvae. In fact the people who came to spray suggested that is what they were. Then they started to get larger. They are now crawling around the house. (They are not in any cabinets.) We had them come spray again and they could not identify the bug. We clean and vacuum all the time and they seem to keep coming back. Can you help us identify the bug so that we get rid of it? We live in a rural area near Memphis, Tennessee. The bug varies in size from .5 centimeter to 1.5 centimeters. The legs have are brown and varied. Please help! My son will be crawling soon and I want these critters gone!

Hi Laura,
The insects in your photo are Earwigs, not Beetles. They often enter homes, being attracted to lights, but they are basically harmless. The pincers can give a slight nip, but really can’t break the skin.

Update from Eric Eaton (01/04/2006)
” The earwigs are ringlegged earwigs, a pretty common, flightless species in urban areas.”

WTB? is Chastised!!!

earwig carnage answer
Mr. Bugman,
I am almost totally impressed by your site and your knowledge. Way cool nonetheless. “Almost” because I’m a bit disappointed by your answer to the person in Tennessee who hired a pest sprayer who couldn’t even identify an earwig (not high standards there fer sure). It seemed like a teaching moment, especially since she was more concerned about the presence of a harmless insect than the fact that she is spraying her house needlessly with a baby around. And she shouldn’t be hiring a total ignoramous to deal with her bug issues. Or maybe the carpet bug ID was a deliberate ruse to encourage her to spray.
Dave Tamayo
Sacramento, CA

Black Beetle with Red Markings – ???
Dear Bugman:
I found this large (1.25 inches long) beetle floating in my Florida swimming pool this morning. I dipped him out with the pool net and laid the net down in the shade of some hibiscus bushes, measured and photographed the beetle. I left it there in the shady quiet to dry off, and eventually it must have departed. Can you tell me what it was?
Thank you,
Ann K.

Hi Ann,
This is a Palmetto Weevil, Rhynchophorus cruentatus.

Update from David Gracer, edible insect specialist (05/25/2006)
Palmetto Weevil: Rhynchophorus cruentatus
Rhynchophorus weevils: the ULTIMATE in yummy! This is the North American representative of possibly the most treasured edible insect of all. The larvae of R. cruentatus and R. palmarum were/are eaten throughout much of the New World, and other members of the genus are among the most sought-after foods in some societies. R. ferrugineus, better known as the Sago Grub, is eaten in Papua New Guinea; some people have gone there just to eat them. Yet this species, which feed on palm trees, has become introduced into many countries, from the Middle East (where it’s a serious threat to culturally-important date palms) all the way west to Spain. Most Americans, though, would probably feel that the grubs look totally disgusting. There’s a picture of them on my website. Due to its status as a premium delicacy, there is a slightly larger body of lore for these weevil grubs than for most other edible insects. Here is a report from the Caribbean: Provancher (1890) visited several Caribbean islands in 1888 and related the following (as translated by Starr [1993]): While in Port of Spain, Trinidad in May 1888, we stopped by Laventille [now a poor section of the city] one morning in the company of some Dominican fathers.. Walking along a street that skirts the hill, we came upon a black man splitting a wooden log with his hatchet, and near him a little girl holding a teacup. ‘This man is looking for palm grubs,’ one of the fathers told us. ‘Let us stop a moment if you would like to see them.’ On approaching, we saw that the log was in fact the trunk of a palm, probably a coconut palm. It was about four or five feet long and in an advanced state of decomposition. Every blow of the hatchet exposed seven or eight big, very plump grubs, each about three inches long, which the little girl was eagerly gathering into the cup. These larvae were truly handsome animals, of a lovely yellowish white and with six dainty feet near the front end. ‘And do the black people eat these grubs?’ we asked. ‘Oh no,’ we were told, ‘this food is too precious for the poor. They collect them for sale to the English gourmets, who relish them.’ ‘What price do they fetch?’ ‘A small cup such as you see there usually goes for a ‘gourde’, $1.’ We estimated that this trunk would furnish at least two such cups of grubs. These grubs are . . . [the larva of a curculionid beetle, Calandra palmarum Fabr.]. Of course “Calandra” is nothing more than an archaic classification name for Rhynchophorus. As you might imagine, the amount of money discussed would represent a great sum to those doing the gathering. This account is powerful evidence for the argument that Europeans (and, therefore, even Americans) can quickly learn to love eating insects. One of these days I will have the opportunity to eat Rhynchophorus grubs.

What is this bug
We live in Fairhope Alabama. We spotted these clustered adult and nymph(?) insects and have been unable to identify them online. Can you help us out?
John and Melissa Pershina

Hi John and Melissa,
What a spectacular image of Barklice in the order Psocoptera, family Psocidae. The last time we posted an image Eric Eaton said they are: “also known as Tree Cattle, especially in the nymphal stage. Some species create webbing on the bark, but I have never heard of them becoming pests.”

OK, I live in Huntsville, AL (North Alabama) at approximately 1250 ft above sea level. This insect has made a nest on the porch. I believe it to be a hornet of some sort, but what type? It is about 1.5 ” long. The nest is about 4 inches in diameter. There is only a single wasp inside, but there are several larvae. Thanks!
Joe Matus

Hi Joe,
Bald-Faced Hornets, Dolichovespula maculata, are not really aggressive, but they will defend their nest (which is composed of chewed wood pulp) fiercely, stinging repeatedly. If there was a nest on our front porch, we would be very cautious, especially once the colony becomes well established. We have read that large nests can accomodate 10,000 individuals. Your colony is being started by a fertile queen. The first broods will be infertile workers. Males and young Queens will be produced in the fall and workers and males along with the old queen will die. The fertilized queen passes the winter and begins a new colony in the spring. Adults frequent flowers and will eat fruit. They pre-chew insects to feed the young.