From the monthly archives: "August 2008"

the mysterious beer bug
Hi, Bugman!
I live in south-eastern Ontario, and during all of the summers of my childhood, our picnics were plagued by little black and white beetles about a quarter of an inch long that loved our food and would bite if you weren’t careful. Coming from a family of teetotalers, we called them “food bugs”. Later, I heard them called “beer bugs”, but I’ve not yet come across a person who knows what kind of beetle they actually are, and my web research has revealed no clues. Can you enlighten me? Thanks!
Jaimie Cowles

Hi Jaimie,
Our initial impression based on the shape and antennae, is that this is either a Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus, or some other Carrion Beetle in the family Silphidae. Sexton Beetles are characterized by red markings and we couldn’t find any matches on Bugguide. We are going to try to contact Eric Eaton, but we know he is having computer problems and may not respond for some time. Meanwhile, perhaps a reader can assist.

Update from Eric Eaton (08/04/2008)
The black beetle with the four yellow marks is a sap-feeding beetle in the family Nitidulidae. This one is probably Glischrochilus quadrisignatus, better known as a “picnic beetle.” They will sometimes fly to picnics in large numbers, attracted mostly by fermenting fruit, and probably alcohol, too. Not harmful in the least, just annoying:-)

bug on the mountain dalea bush in Tucson, Arizona
I found lots of these bugs on my mountain dalea bush. Very prominent in early mornings and late afternoons. They hide during the hottest times of day. Can you help me identify this bug? At first I thought it was a boxelder but its orange pattern doesn’t look exactly the same. And I do know now that it isn’t a blister beetle either. Thanks in advance,

Hi Jude,
Interestingly, despite the superficial resemblance, Boxelder Bugs and your Seed Bug are not even in the same family. Your Seed Bug in the family Lygaeidae is Neacoryphus lateralis, and you can substantiate this on BugGuide.

Bug love: Calopteron (reticulatum?)
Dear Bugmen,
These were in the garden a couple of weeks ago (July 13) here in Chapel Hill, NC. They’re sitting on a black snakeroot, under a maple tree, if that helps. You can decide which photo is the more dynamic!

Hi Barbara,
Thanks for sending us your great photo of mating Banded Netwing Beetles. We often get requests to identify this moth as Netwings are not typically beetle-like.