From the monthly archives: "June 2007"

Our 1st CK
Dear Bug Man,
The Cicada Killer in the attached photo, thanks to your site, will continue to “guard” our back step this summer (in the MD suburbs of DC). It’s a relief to know the family & especially our dog, will be able to frequently pass by him w/o being harmed. We used to have an underground yellow jacket nest in this same area. Do CKs ever move into abanadoned nests? I believe this particular CK is a male b/c he frequently rubs/bounces his tail on the step & door mat. Is this behavior to mark his turf, attract a mate or both? Even if you’re unable to responsd, THANK YOU! Your site provides a wonderful & very interesting service. Jean

Hi Jean,
According to Eric Eaton, the behavior you describe is of a male Cicada Killer marking his territory and trying to attract a mate. Cicada Killers dig tunnels with cells for individual paralyzed Cicadas and a single young Cicada Killer. Yellow Jackets are social wasps and their abandoned nests will not suit a Cicada Killer. We have decided to make the Cicada Killer the Bug of the Month for July 2007, so your photo will remain at the top of our homepage until August.

What kind of bug is this?
I have been seeing alot of bugs of this kind in my house. They come out at night time and crawl on walls around the same time at night. I want to get rid of them. Can you give me some info about them and also how to get rid of these critters? Thank you.

Hi PHil,
We do not recommend ridding your home of House Centipedes. They are harmless predators that will eat more destructive and harmful arthropods in your home.

I snapped this picture while out on a hike. I really thought it was a beautiful butterfly, and it looked like it was melting because of the appearance of droplets at the bottom of it’s wing. What I don’t know is what kind of butterfly it is. I apologize in advance if it has already been identified 100 times on your site.
Michael from Arkansas

Hi Michael from Arkansas,
This is a female Tiger Swallowtail. Some female Tiger Swallowtails do not exhibit the typical black and yellow striping, but the stripes are still evident in the wing pattern. Thanks for sending us your lovely photo.

Follow-up on Zebra Longwing caterpillar
I just love your site! 🙂 Thanks again for letting me know that I had Zebra Longwing caterpillars on a passion vine. I had followed them through the stages and have attached additional pictures of the cacoon and adults on a cacoon.

Lastly. I have now found a SECOND different caterpillar on the same passion vine. It has the same spikes as the Zebra Longwing but it is differently colored. Do you know what this caterpillar is? Thanks.
Miami, FL

Wow Bill,
That is one impressive looking Chrysalis. We have never seen the Chrysalis or Pupa of a Zebra Longwing. It is very ornate. It appears that the Zebra Longwing adults are mating, and we suspect the caterpillar might be the coloration of an earlier instar. Caterpillars molt four times, once after each of the five instars or growth phase. On many species, each instar is a different color with different markings. After the fifth molt is the Chrysalis stage. Your metamorphosis series is a fabulous addition to our site.

Correction: (08/14/2007) caterpillar id
hello there!
I have long looked through your site and never contacted you! I have been interested in bugs for some time since I was little, and now i’m 17 and going to Cornell U for entomology (which was my dream!)! I’ve worked at a butterfly vivarium for 5 years now, and I’m very much into rearing and raising moths and butterflies, especially the Saturniids!! I have a bunch of Actias selene (indian moon moth) eclosing at the moment, which I will gladly photograph and send in!! My email actually pertains to a picture I came across on your caterpillar page! it was on the caterpillars 10 link, and the date was 6/29/2007, of the zebra longwing chrysalis and butterflies. The caterpillar is not an early instar of the zebra; it’s a julia butterfly (Dryas iulia) caterpillar. The zebras remain white with black spots for their entire life, except when they are first and second instar babies, and look sort of yellowish! I hope you don’t mind my input!!
Jeff Petracca

caterpillars I live in Fort Worth, TX and found this green, horned caterpillar on my coral honeysuckle. I think it’s a hummingbird clearwing, but am looking for clarification on that. I have not seen any of the moths flying around. I’m also sending a picture of a giant swallowtail caterpillar because I didn’t see any pictures of them on your site and thought you might be interested. It’s on the rue which is also greatly populated by black swallowtails. Love your website! Thanks,

Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Jeanne,
The Caterpillar you suspect is a Hummingbird Clearwing is another species in the same genus, the Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis. Your other caterpillar is correctly identified as a Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar.

Polyphemus Moth
My grandmother found this in her backyard near Chardon, Ohio. Looking through your site I found that it is a Polyphemus Moth. From the ruler I put next to it it is 5-6 inches across. It’s wings were not perfectly flat when I took this. My kids (5 & 3 years old) went wild at the "huge bug"… they enjoy your site immensely!

Hi Kimberly,
Thank you for sending in you Polyphemus Moth image. We have begun receiving identification requests again for the second brood, and your photo is a welcome addition to our homepage right now.