From the monthly archives: "July 2009"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large Black Fly
July 30, 2009
Hello!
My sister-in-law found this critter as it tried to take a short rest on her shoulder. We didn’t get a very good picture of it, but to be honest everyone was kinda scared of it! He is about 1.5 to 2 inches long, which makes it the largest fly I’ve ever seen in this area. The location is northern New Hampshire, and this was in late July.
I did a bunch of research online, but it doesn’t match anything I can find. The split-wing and yellow stripe are what seems to be throwing me off. He has a head that looks more like a hornet than a fly, but no stinger.
Hope you can help, and thanks for your time!
Tristan
Littleton, NH

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Hi Tristan,
The reason this Elm Sawfly has a head that looks like a wasp is that they Sawfly is in the same order of insects as Wasps, Hymenoptera.  Flies only have two wings.  You may read more about Elm Sawflies on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant bee eating Japanese beetle
July 30, 2009
Hello!
While working in my garden, i came across what appeared to be a giant bumblebee eating a Japanese beetle. The bee had a fuzzy abdomen that was striped yellow and black. It was between 1 3/4 ” and 2 ” long. The Japanese beetle was 1/2 ” long. The bee was flying around holding the beetle in it’s mouth. It was huge! Any ideas on what it is?
tree
Floyd county, VA

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Japanese Beetle

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Japanese Beetle

Hi tree,
About a week ago we receive a question if Robber Flies ate Japanese Beetles.  We wish your photo had arrived before we answered.  Since Japanese Beetles are an invasive exotic species that does considerable damage to ornamental plants, many gardeners would welcome these Robber Flies into their yards, including our own mother in Ohio.   This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus Laphria, which can be distinguished from the genus Mallophora by the antennae.  This is explained on BugGuide on the Mallophora genus page thus:  “Resemble Laphria, another genus of robbers that mimic bumblebees, but is even hairier and has antennae with a very thin terminal final segment, whereas Laphria has thick antennae.
”  Based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe your specimen most closely resembles Laphria grossa, but we would like an expert confirmation on the species.

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Japanese Beetle

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Japanese Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

A Bee Fly?
July 30, 2009
Hello, I happened upon this little fellow in my back yard, we have a number of flowers but it preferred to sit on my steps. I dont know what it is but looks very similar to a Bee Fly thats been posted on your front page. These were shot with a Canon XSI with the 18-55mm kit lens. Very minor post processing, and just conversion to bw on 3rd image in photoshop.
Steve
Brooklyn NY

Tiger Bee Fly
Tiger Bee Fly

Hi Steve,
Though your image looks quite similar to the Bee Fly we recently posted, we believe your Bee Fly is a Tiger Bee Fly, Xenox tigrinus, based on the patterns and veins of the wings.  Compare your photos to those on BugGuide.

Tiger Bee Fly
Tiger Bee Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

unknown bug in garden
July 29, 2009
I found this bug clinging to a carrot plant in my garden this afternoon, and I am totally stumped. I’m guessing that it’s molting (but the more I look, the less sure I am), but, even trying to imagine it without the baggage on its back, I have no clue what it is. And really I’m just stoked to finally have a reason to write in!
Ernie
Cripple Creek, VA

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Hi Ernie,
This is a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus Phymata.
Not long ago, Ambush Bugs had their own family, but recently they have been demoted to a subfamily of the Assassin Bugs, Reduviidae.  These small predators are well camouflaged on plants and flowers where they wait for their prey.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Huge red and yellow caterillar???
July 30, 2009
Hi, I am staying in the eastern cape of South Africa and yesterday spotted this caterpillar? grub? crawling along the ground. It was approx 3″ long and appeared to be trying to burrow or dig into the ground. It moved like a caterpillar – that is to say it lifted the centre of its body off the ground as it moved. The local men told me it is a ‘worm’….. but we wondered what is it really?? I have tried looking online but no luck. I hope you can help!
Sarah
Eastern Cape, South Africa

Unknown Caterpillar from South Africa

Carpenter Moth Caterpillar from South Africa

Hi Sarah,
We are fairly certain that this is a Giant Silk Moth Caterpillar in the family Saturniidae, but we could not locate a matching image on the World’s Greatest Saturniidae website.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he knows what species this is.
Perhaps one of our other readers will be able to supply an answer.

Bill Oehlke responds
July 31, 2009
Daniel,
I do not know that one. i do not think it is a Saturniidae species.
Bill Oehlke

Possible ID from Karl
August 14, 2009
Daniel:
Another possibility is that this impressive larva is a Carpenter Moth (Cossidae), some of which can be quite large.  Carpenter moths are stem and root borers, hence the common name for the group.  In most species the larvae live out their terms (up to 5 years) within their woody tunnels and galleries and therefore have no need for bright colors; most are white or cream colored. Some species, however, do change hosts occasionally when they run out of food, their host dies, or to burrow underground to pupate (could the latter behavior be what Sarah observed?). Such species can be brightly colored, often a warning to potential predators of toxicity or bad taste. A good example is the Goat Moth (Cossus cossus) of Europe and northern Africa, which bears considerable resemblance to the larva in Sarah’s photo. I was particularly struck by the similar markings on the pronotal shield, just behind the head. The Goat moth is one example of a Cossid moth larva that does leave its tree in the final stages of development to pupate underground. The Cossidae are well represented in South Africa, including at least two Cossus species (C. windhoekensis and C. terebroides) but descriptive information about larvae is difficult to find and I was not able to identify a potential candidate genus or species. Regards.
Karl

Update
November 11, 2009
unknown caterpillar from eastern cape
On a 12/09/09 trip to an inselberg Touwsberg(S33 33 53 E21 03 03) in the w.cape I collected a similar caterpillar.It emerged on 06/11/2009) and was identified by Herman Staude as being probably Macrocassus toluminus of the family Cossoidea–stem borers which take years to complete their cycle.The most probable foodplant was Acacia karoo.Have pic of male that emerged.G
Geoff Wyatt

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Brown bug with white spots on back
July 29, 2009
I recently found this bug crawling on my floor. I grabbed my camera as I”ve not seen it before. It had 4 white spots (the image below shows 2) that looked to be pretty symmetrical.
The antenne are about 3″ long or so.
To give an estimate, it’s about 2″ long
I found this just now (Jul 29, 2009) in Missouri.
Matt
Southeast Missouri

Ivory Marked Beetle

Ivory Marked Beetle

Hi Matt,
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia quadrigeminata, a species in the family Cerambycidae also known as the Four Marked Ash Borer.  BugGuide has some information on this species including:  “Larvae bore into heartwood of deciduous trees, esp. ash, hickory. May emerge from finished lumber years after milling.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination