From the monthly archives: "May 2008"

Gray Spiky Hooded bug?
Hi there WTB,
we found this strange bug in South Carolina and it was so interesting we had to take it’s mug shot before we let him go on personal recognizance. I’ve googled and searched your site but have turned up nothing – any help? Thanks,
Debi – mom of 3 very curious bug loving boys!

Hi Debi and Boys,
The Wheel Bug is one of the largest of the Assassin Bugs, a group of predatory True Bugs that are welcome in the garden. If carelessly handled, they can deliver a painful bite, but they will not make unprovoked attacks on humans.

Thanks for the Worst Bug Ever column
Dear Bugman,
Thank you for your "Worst Bug Ever" column. I am really scared of bugs and I’ve been a bit distressed lately with the number of bugs I’ve seen around the house as the temperature where I live is getting warmer. I think the bug I’m seeing around the house yesterday and today is a House centipede as you keep writing back to many inquiries about it but the one I see is small, skinny and grey and doesn’t look nearly as elaborate as any of the pictures I’ve seen. I usually see it in the warmer months of the year, I think. Anyway. After reading your "Worst Bug Ever" column which I neglected to see last time (was trying to identify the western conifer seed bug last autumn) I realize that although I’ve been distressed it cannot compare to the tampon and infestations!! 🙁 Maybe that’s not what you meant the column to do but just wanted to let you know 🙂 I also see that after reading through your site for a while that there are some really beautiful insects. But I can’t lie, I don’t see myself getting any more comfortable than viewing from far away or from your site….
I’ve told a number of my friends about your site and it’s weird that even though we’re afraid of bugs we spend 2+ hours on your site. Thanks for all that you do!

Dear Anonymous (to avoid embarassment),
Thank you for your letter. We are sure we will hear from David Gracer regarding the dietary benefits of eating Maggots. We are thrilled to hear your upbringing has led you to finely honed cleaning skills, but we are not sure exactly what your mother’s tub bugs were. There are many possibilities. Your current sighting is probably a Silverfish.

is this a burying beetle?
I saw this little guy while hiking near Wilmington, VT, but before i could get close enough for a better shot, he jumped up and flew away. i didn’t even notice the mites on his back until i got home and looked at the picture. is this a burying beetle? are they still endangered? thanks,

Hi Dan,
Yes, this is a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus, and the Phoretic Mites are just hitching a ride to a food source, often maggots that are feeding on the decaying carcass the Burying Beetle lays its eggs upon. The mites eat the maggots and leave more food for the beetle larvae. The Burying Beetle and the Phoretic Mites have a symbiotic relationship. We haven’t the time right now to give you an exact species on the Burying Beetle, but it is not the American Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus americanus, the endangered species. The American Burying Beetle is a large beetle with orange markings on the pronotum of the thorax.

i found this is looks like a boxing bee
it was pretty sweet. but weirrrrrrrrrrrd. it has spider legs, a bee body, an ants mouth (opens sideways) and claws in the front it used to try to shoo me away. i live in denver, and i found it in my yard. thanks!!!

Hi Jessica,
We are requesting Eric Eaton’s assistance with your unusual Bee.

Update: (05/28/2008)
Hi, Daniel: Sure, the bee is a male leafcutter bee in the genus Megachile. Some species have the front legs modified with feathery hairs like this, though I have no idea why. Something having to do with courtship and mating, no doubt.

Golden-back Snipe Fly
I saw this fly earlier today. I live in southern Maryland. I only learned the name after searching your site. I thought you might like to add it to your collection. I should put your site as a shortcut on my toolbar because it seems like I go there so often looking for the name of some insect I have never seen before. Its a great site…
Mike Roane

Hi Mike,
We are thrilled to add your Golden Backed Snipe Fly to our archive.