From the monthly archives: "March 2008"

Imagine our glee when while we were gardening today, we noticed this swarm of Honey Bees that had taken up residence in our juniper bush. Many of our friends know that for ages we have been saying we wanted a bee hive, but sadly, in the city of Los Angeles, bee hives must be over 100 feet from the nearest structure. Such a law makes us want to be civilly disobedient. We don’t know where this wild swarm came from. Elyria Canyon perhaps, but we spoke to the bees at length, telling them how much we wanted them to stay and how much they would enjoy all the citrus we are planting. We also told the bees that we knew how awful it was to move, and how difficult to find a place that was nice. We assured the bees that our yard was nice. It is pesticide free. We would never freak out because the bees had moved in, unlike so many other people might. We also sympathized with the whole Colony Collapse Disorder. We suspect the bees hate getting shipped from state to state to pollinate orchards, and they would much rather stay in one place. We also suspect that people no longer “Tell The Bees” and the bees want to know. We told the bees that we might try to get some type of hive for them, but we don’t think we can do it soon. We know the juniper shrub is just a temporary layover. It was comforting talking to the bees. We told the bees secrets we tell no one.

Sadly, we didn’t convince the bees to stay. Minutes after we finished typing, and moments before we were going to upload, the bees took off in a swirling tornadolike swarm, only to disappear to parts unknown. For several hours, stray bees continued to search for the now missing swarm. Guess the Queen Bee doesn’t wait for stragglers.

Comment: (03/27/2008) Your honeybee swarm…
I am sorry the bees only came to visit and not stay. (Swarms usually just hang out til the scout bees find them a nice place to live like a hollow tree). They do make decorative hives that hold bees maybe your neighbors would think it was just a decoration. You won’t get honey from it, but you’ll have happy little pollinators in your yard! I say go for the civil disobedience! (Or work with your city or county to change the rules!) Have a great day! And happy spring!
Interpretive Naturalist

Mysterious Bug
I wondered if you could help ID this bug for me. I am located near Cairns, FNQ, Australia. I have seen these in sedge grass near a local pond. They always have their wings in this position. I suspect they may be some kind of Cicada but have been unable to ID it so far.
Andy MacDougall

Hi Andy,
We solicited the help of Eric Eaton, and he wrote: “Fulgoroidea (planthoppers) that I don’t recognize more specifically!.” Coincidentally, your photos were also sent to us by a member of a photography forun where you must have posted the images. The other email also contained view from above that was not among the images you sent.

Update: (03/25/2008)
Unknown planthopper from Australia
Hi Daniel,
The insect might be a member of the Derbidae family, which live in the tropics and According to the CSIRO “The Insects of Australia” they include the Zoraida: “The body of the Zoraida is very short, but the wings exceedingly long and narrow.” Regards,

Cecropia Moth
Hello. I found this beauty in Rockne, Texas, just outside of Austin, on Easter Sunday. We were all amazed at the soft fur like feel on the body of the cecropia moth. Thanks for having such a great site, I look all the time but this was the first real good picture I was able to get, and had to share.
Whitney K

Hi Whitney,
Thanks so much for sending your awesome photo. We have gotten images of four different Giant Silk Moths in the past two days and we are struggling to get them all posted online.

Polly Polyphemus Poses for Proper Portrait
What’s That Bug is the coolest site I’ve found this year! Nice work! After perusing your many great photos I find your contributors seldom get the lepidoptera to sit for proper portraits. Fortunately I have on hand many stunning portraits of Polly, the polyphemus moth who brightened our Michigan winter. Check the story on
She emerged by surprise in January from a larva collected on our front lawn last August. For two weeks she graced our household, clinging passively to our tamarind tree by day and raising hell by night, laying eggs on our windowsills and draperies. I think she’s a stunning specimen, spanning over 6" as you can see in one shot on the website.
Sterling Heights, MI

Hi Karl,
Thanks for your fascinating story. I hope our readership doesn’t crash your website with all the traffic. Your portrait of Polly reminds us of a Rembrandt painting.

erebus terminitincta – large Australian Owl Moth
Hi Guys,
A first for me today as this large Owl Moth was sheltering out of the rain under the roof of the walkway to my shed. I did a search of your site and didn’t find it so thought you may like to add it to the database. Taken Gold Coast, Queensland. 24th March 2008. regards,
Trevor Jinks

Hi Trevor,
Thanks so much for supplying our site with your photo of an Australian Owlet Moth. We found a GeoCities page devoted to Erebus terminitincta.

do you know what this is?
I have been searching on several identification sites for the correct ID of the lepidopteran in the two pictures I have attached. I have been unsuccessful in my pursuits, so I am posing the question to you, "What is that bug?" This moth was photographed 24 July 2007 in Richardson, Texas (suburb of Dallas, Texas). I apologize for the lack of information, and there are no good pictures of the underside of the wings. I would love to know if you can still ID this lepidopteran!
Amy Jones

Hi Amy,
This gorgeous creature is a Black Witch, Ascalapha odorata. You photo shows what big eyes they have. Amusingly, we just received a request to created a dedicated Black Witch page, and we will start with your image.

Thank you!!! That was such a quick answer…I am impressed! Thank you for maintaining your website because it really helps the amateur entomologist!