From the monthly archives: "September 2009"

Tawny Emporer, or should I say hitchiker? lol.
September 28, 2009
Hey bugman,
I thought I would share this photo with ya’ll of a tawny emporer that tried to hitch a ride on my mom’s backpack strap. We had been to the IJAMS (pronounced Iams) Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee all morning (we live about 20 minutes away) and were packing up to leave when my mom suddenly said, “Oh, look!” and I look and there was this lovely butterfly on her backpack strap. It was very cooperative for photos except that it would not open its wings. It was identified by Bob Barber on bugguide. I hope you enjoy the photo, and as always I cannot thank you enough for having such an awesome website!!!
Blessings,
Michael Davis
Knoxville, Tennessee

Tawny Emperor

Tawny Emperor

Hi Michael,
Thanks so much for contributing your wonderful Tawny Emperor image to our site.

What on earth is this?
September 28, 2009
While moving, my friends found this on a cardboard box that had been sitting, undisturbed in a storage room for over a year. It reacted only slightly to being touched, but when a lighter was held a few inches away from, the pustule looking things started to swell and it lifted up a few of its legs (arms?). They’ve left it alone since, except for calling me to take some pictures. In a 24 hour period it’s moved about 4 inches across the top of the box, though rarely moves at all when we’ve been looking at it. We live in southcentral Oklahoma, and the weather has been very hot for months, so the closed off storage room it was in, was very warm, and moderately humid.
curious okie
south central Oklahoma

Monkey Slug

Monkey Slug

Dear curious okie,
This is a Monkey Slug, the caterpillar of the Hag Moth, Phobetron pithecium.  It is one of the Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limacodidae, and it should be handled with caution.

Do I have bedbugs??
September 27, 2009
For about the past two weeks, I’ve been getting at least one bite per night. I don’t know what it is! Help!
The bites started mostly on my lower body with a few on my hands. The first few nights I woke up with severe itching and several bites – more than a dozen each night! The bites went from the soles of my feet and in between my toes to the backs of my calves and seemed to culminate in a giant cluster on my hip that swelled up to about the size of an Oreo cookie – it looked like a group of 6 or so bites. A couple mornings later I woke with a handful scattered just below my collar bone. I’ve had a few on my arms and one on my stomach, but I’ve lucked out and haven’t gotten any on my face (knock on wood).
At first the itching lasted a few days but for the last 3-4 days, the itching has been isolated to one day, is not as severe, and I have only been getting a single bite per night. As the bites have healed, they have left an area of hyperpigmentation… I can still see where the bites I got in the beginning were – they almost look like little bruises now, but they’re not tender.
I only got bit when I slept in my bed – I slept on the couch one night (I just couldn’t stand the bites anymore!) and was bite free! My husband has not gotten ANY bites, though!! Could whatever’s biting me prefer my blood to his? Are they maybe just on my side of the bed?
We have set off a bug bomb and changed the sheets. I also gave my cat a flea treatment just in case. Interestingly, I have been finding scabs around her collar (maybe a coincidence?) – this started a few days before I started getting the bites, but I have not seen the cat scratching herself. We also put out some adhesive rodent/insect traps, but have not caught anything on them.
Today I found a strange little bug that I’d never seen before. I found it on my knee… crawling about on my jeans in the middle of the day. I saved it in a cup and my husband took a photo when he got home. You can see our little bug in the photo next to a dime and the head of a pin. It’s super tiny and mostly round, about the size of a sesame seed. No wings. Six legs. Brownish, kind of opaque. Do you think this critter is the culprit? Can you tell me what he is? I was thinking maybe a baby bedbug… but obviously I’m no expert! I kind of hope that’s not what he is because where there’s babies, there’s got to be grown-ups!
I am sick of these bites and want the bugs GONE! Thanks so much!
Tarra
Astoria, Queens, NY

Immature Bed Bug

Immature Bed Bug

Hi Tarra,
We agree that this is an immature Bed Bug.  You can see a photo on BugGuide that matches.  During the day, Bed Bugs hide from the light, and they can be found between the mattress and box spring, between the base board and the wall, and behind pictures hung on the wall.  Good luck with the eradication.

Immature Bed Bug

Immature Bed Bug

Eric Eaton comments
September 30, 2009
Daniel:
The couple with the bed bugs needs to seek a professional extermination service, or have the landlord do so if they are renting.  Bed bugs are one of the few household pests that really requires the professionals.  The eradication process is very invasive, though, as you literally have to take apart the bedroom and furniture to get to the bugs.  Be prepared for at least three visits from the exterminator, and probably more to guarantee the success of the effort.
As for Tarra’s husband not getting bitten:  he is, he just isn’t reacting to the bites.  Every person’s immune response is different, and clearly Tarra is more sensitive than her hubby.  She should make sure her symptoms don’t worsen, and see a physician if they do.
Lastly, bed bugs often ignite legal warfare as well, as landlords seek to hold tenants responsible, even if they are not the ones who introduced the bed bugs.  So, I always recommend seeking legal advice when approaching this kind of problem.  Yes, good luck with the eradication!
Eric

Large Bees- Wool Carders?
September 27, 2009
In searching through your site, I think I have identified these bees as Wool Carder Bees, but I am unsure. In looking at the link you supplied to the Wool Carder website, it said that these bees are active in June and July, and less active in August. It is late September here in Eastern Virginia, which makes me question whether I have identified these bees correctly.
I first noticed these bees because a couple were down in my driveway in the morning (around 7:30 am) before I left for work. Then, while pruning my butterfly bushes, I noticed several of them flying around. My daughter and I were shocked to see one of them take a small butterfly down to the ground, capture it, and fly to a nearby Bradford pear tree.
They do not seem particularily aggressive towards humans, and they are active at night and attracted to outdoor lights. This is a picture of two of them on my porch. The Wool Carder website said that they are solitary bees, which also makes me question my identification.
Are they dangerous? Should I search out the nest or just let them be?
Thank you!
N. Pritchard
Eastern Virginia (Richmond)

European Hornets

European Hornets

Dear N.,
These are European Hornets, Vespa crabro, an introduced species that has become well established in the eastern U.S.  BugGuide indicates:  “Adults come to lights at night, perhaps seeking prey?
”  We just got a comment to one of our Cicada Killer postings and the person claims to have been stung by a Cicada Killer that was attracted to lights.  We believe the culprit was the European Hornet.

Stinging slug caterpillar??
September 28, 2009
Hi,
I live in Malaysia and I found this caterpillar under a leaf in my garden. I’ve checked through you website and the closest one that I can find is the stinging slug caterpillar. Could this be a stinging slug caterpillar? Thanx…
-arina-
Malaysia

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Hi arina,
You are correct.  This is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar, but we are uncertain of the exact species.

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Update from Karl
Daniel:
It is a stinging slug caterpillar and it looks very much like the Blue-striped nettle grub, Parasa lepida (Limacodidae). If that isn’t it it, it must be something closely related. P. lepida is apparently quite common throughout south and southeast Asia, but occurs from Africa to Papua New Guinea and as far north as Japan. Some or all occurrences outside of south and southeast Asia may be unwanted introductions. They are considered a serious agricultural pest wherever they occur, including on palms, rambutan, mango, banana, rubber and tea. And yes, they can inflict a painful sting if touched. The appearance of the larvae varies somewhat by location and stage of development (the blue stripe appears in the third instar), but Arina’s caterpillar looks very similar to the ones posted at http://www.malaeng.com/blog/tmp/2009/09/limacodid1.jpg and http://www.malaeng.com/webboard/index.php?topic=1199.0.  Regards.
Karl

Large Green New Zealand Moth
September 28, 2009
Hi, This moth greeted me on the steps to my house when I returned from work. Most likely it was there when I went to work. It is still early spring here.
You can see one wing in the photo. The other is wrapped onto the opposite side and held near the belly. The body is full, long, and thick, and the tail end can be seen poking out of the bottom of the wings.
Pictures were taken with a 8mp camera on tulip setting. When you zoom in you can see the water droplets and the hairs. It is very cool looking.
When it became dark it flew away. It was about 5cm long. Please let me know the name.
Kind Regards,
MarkcNZ
Eastbourne New Zealand (Near Wellington)

Unknown Green Moth from New Zealand

Puriri Moth from New Zealand

Hi MarkcNZ,
This is an impressive moth.  Over the years, we have properly identified two green moths from New Zealand and Australia, but this appears to represent yet a different species.  The markings are somewhat similar to a Geometrid, Tatosoma tipulata, that we posted in May, but it is obviously different.  Several times, we have posted images of moths in the genus Aenetus, from the family Hepialidae, known as Ghost Moths or Swift Moths.  That is our best guess and possibilities are posted on an Australian Lepidoptera page.  We started to follow that thought, and we found a species Aenetus virescens, known as the Puriri Moth, that Wikipedia calls:  “New Zealand’s largest native moth.
”  We also located an image on Flickr.  We are confident that the identification is correct despite variations in the markings from image to image.