From the monthly archives: "February 2007"

Beetle we can’t identify
Dear Bugman:
We recently purchased a new construction home in Granby CO. This beetle has now shown up in one of the bedrooms (mainly in the bed – not too happy sharing with them!) There is a sump pump in the foundation in that room. Can you identify this lovely creature for me? Picture is attached. Thank you! If you need further information – please contact me.
Kathie Jones

Hi Kathie,
We tried to match the species of the Longhorn Borer Beetle, family Cerambycidae, on BugGuide with no luck. You did not indicate if this was an isolated specimen of if many were found. If it is a new home, it is entirely possible that some of the wood had beetle grubs that matured and chewed their way out. Adults do not bore into wood, only grubs. It is also possible that this specimen was attracted indoors by the lights. At any rate, we will check with Eric Eaton to see if he can narrow down the exact identification. Eric wrote back with this information: “Daniel: I have no idea what this is. Please contact Doug Yanega at UC Riverside. He should be able to recognize it. Please have him CC me his response, I’m really curious now myself! Oh, wait. I just thought of a possibility: Semanotus ligneus, or something else in that genus. Eric”

Update: (02/06/2007) Unknown Longhorn Borer
Dear What’s That Bug,
It appears that the unknown longhorn beetle in kathie’s new home in CO. is the Cedar Tree Borer-Semanotus l. ligneus. Good looking bycid. Keep up the good work Brian
U.S. Department of Agriculture (Aphis)

Update: (02/06/2007)
Beetle we can’t identify
Thank you for checking into this specimen for me. This beetle has mainly been in the one bedroom. Within 1 day there were 15 counted in the bed and around on the floor. We did locate one about 15 feet into another bedroom. However, I believe this is an isolated area that they are coming in to (possibly the sump pump?). I look forward to hearing what you find out for the exact kind this is. I also contacted our furniture company as we recently had some white cedar bedroom furniture bought for that room. However, I was informed that the cedar is a natural bug repellant and nothing should have been in that wood. Thank you again for your’s and Eric’s help with our unwanted guests. Sincerely,
Kathie Jones

Hi again Kathie,
Based on the information we have recieved since posting your photo, you have Cedar Tree Borers. Since you have just purchased Cedar furniture for your bedroom, and you find the beetles in the bed, we are guessing that the grubs were in fact dormant in the wood and have recently emerged. While cedar is a natural insect repellant, it does not repel the Cedar Tree Borer.

Another Case of Cedar Tree Borers
Kathie’s beetle
Dear Bugman,
This is my first visit to your website to identify a bug, and the second picture I see is the picture Kathie Jones sent you on 2-5-07. That is the bug I was looking to identify, how weird is that! We have seen a good dozen of these bugs in our bedroom -in the vicinity of our bed. We set up a new bed and mattress exactly one month ago and the bugs started appearing a a week or two later, I don’t recall seeing one of those ever before. The bed is a handcrafted log bed from a guy who makes them in northern Wisconsin, we live in southern Wisconsin, my husband picked up the bed himself and transported it to our house in his pick-up truck, we set it up the next day. Maybe this will help you identify it. We sure would like to know what they are and what we can do about them. Thanks,
Ann Thompson

Update: (02/07/2007)
Dear What’s that bug, Has the owners of their new cedar furniture looked for frass or what they would consider saw dust caused by the beetle activities. This should help them locate the exit holes and what part of their new bedroom set has the beetles. Sometimes you can hear them chewing. I would ask the makers of the furniture if the wood has been heat treated. I would bet not. If the have any specimens in good shape I would gladly put them into my insect collection. I have seen exotic longhorns emerging from all kinds of items ranging from imported pine cones to wooden bussiness card holders. Hope this information helps the folks out
U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chet and Katie
The use of an exterminator may be a bit much but they may tell you otherwise. These beetles 1st came to the cedar probably a tree that was stressed or dying when it laid its eggs. Then the larvae entered the tree feeding and creating feeding galleries inside the tree. At that point it was cut and made into its present form (bedroom furniture). Normally the larvae are in the tree for a season and then emerge as adults during the warmer months. When you brought the furniture into your warm house you triggered the beetle to emerge. The section or sections has to be pretty infested to have the numbers you have mentioned. The sump pump you mentioned is not an issue. These are wood borers not aquatic species but it good to see that you were looking at all the possibilities. After all the beetle emerge they will die in time. As adult beetles there main mission is to emerge and carry on the blood line by mating and laying eggs thus completing the lifecycle. No food to eat and no new host trees to lay eggs they will die out and they will not re-infest the furniture or other house hold items. They are totally harmless even though they have good size mouth parts but don’t really bite. They may make sounds when held (pretty cool). The only concern I would have is the damage that was done to the wood. If it is a leg holding up the bed or other important structure mishaps may happen. Look for saw dust or emergence hole. If the furniture is from a good company you should get a replacement or refund (take pics of the beetle and damage). At this point pesticides will not do much to solve this. The wood would have to be saturated with it (Not good for you son) and their sad home relocation story is almost over. The beetle will die out. If the furniture was from overseas we at the USDA would be very concerned due to exotic wood borering pest damage our forests and natural ecosystems like the emerald ash borer and the Asian Longhorned beetle. Yours is native though and a good looking bug at that and don’t regulate these. Any other questions feel free to ask
Brian Sullivan

Hi Brian, I have several very much alive species of those Cedar Tree Borers in a small plastic ziplock bag right now. If you want them I will send them to you, let me know what to do. We have found some exit holes in the bed and we contacted the guy who made the bed and he is going to make us a new bed ASAP. Said this has never happened to him until now, he is also replacing one other bed from the same batch of wood. I’ll be waiting for your reply regarding sending you the critters. Thanks,
Ann Thompson

Dear Ann I am glad that you found the exit holes and that the furniture maker is going to replace the bed. Its not uncommon for batches of untreated wood to contain insects. I would not want to sleep on a bed that might break due to insect damage. A great thanks goes out to What’s That Bug? for all of their hard work and dedication. This is a happy ending to your story and was due to What’s That Bugs efforts. Besides posting identification and great photos they are providing many other great services to the public. Thanks
Brian Sullivan

Costa Rican cotton ball?
Hi Bugman
Well, I have never in all my days seen one quite like this. It is about 2″ long, I would say. Hope you can help identify it for us. We live on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. I flew into my husband’s shop the other day. Thanks
Sarah Morgan

Hi Sarah,
We can only be very general about this identification. It is a Homopteran Plant Hopper and we are not even sure of the family since there are many families in the tropics that do not occur in temperate zones. Additionally, available reference materials are often sketchy. The white feathery projections are probably a waxy substance produced by the insect. We will see if Eric Eaton can provide any additional information.

Update:  June 17, 2012
We believe this might be a Wax Tail Hopper,
Pterodictya reticularis, based on this FlickR posting.

False widow – Steatoda – pictures for you…
Dear Bug Man,
I absolutely love your site! In 2005 I was removing some retaining wall blocks in my yard. I lifted one stone and found dozens of these critters scurrying around in the dirt. Initially I got the heebie jeebies because they looked like black widows. Then I realized we aren’t supposed to have black widows in Puget Sound and that I"ve never seen black widows clustered together like that or living under rocks in the dirt, etc. I figured they must be something else. I went on the web and think I identified it as a false widow. In fact, it looks like the false widow that you have posted. Can you confirm that this is a false widow? You are free to use the attached pictures if they are better than what you already have.
I killed one so that I could get good enough pictures to ID it. I let the rest scurry off to somewhere safer. Thanks & Best Regards,
Jim Johnston
Everett, WA

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the compliment. We agree that this looks like one of the Cobweb Spiders in the genus Steatoda. Steatoda grossa is sometimes called the False Widow, and your picture is a very close match to one posted on BugGuide also from Washington.

small milkweed bugs or boxelder bugs? We can’t tell…
Your site has examples of each, but we can’t tell which is a better match for the participants in this rugby scrum last month on a beach in Vieques, off the coast of Puerto Rico. It seems like the sheer number of bugs might mean boxelders (and there were other, similar-sized bunches nearby), but their markings don’t seem to be a match for either species… And which team is winning? Thanks!
Jim & Sandy

Hi Jim and Sandy,
Cotton Stainers, Dysdercus andreae, are another species of Hemipteran that forms aggregations. They are found in the Southern States as well as tropical countries. Stainers are also known as Red Bugs and are in the family Pyrrhocoridae.

South African moth
I have written previously but the e-mail probably got lost. I live in Clarens in the Freestate in South Africa. This moth came fluttering into my kitchen one evening. It sat on the white tiled wall. There was too much reflection when photographing so I placed it onto an African Violet plant. I looked through all your moth pictures, but could not see one like it. I would be so pleased if you could id it for me. Kind regards,
Irmgard Kaiser

Hi Irmgard,
Sorry, but we really cannot answer every letter. Sadly, we do not know what your lovely moth is.

Hello again, Thank you for your response. I have managed to have the moth identified. I got feedback from the National Collection of Insects at the South African Agricultural Research Council. The moth belongs to the family Thyretidae and genus Automolis. It is probably Automolis lateritia lateritia Herrich-Sch