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

Strange fly with Curly Q Antenna
November 18, 2009
This bug was witnessed in our office this afternoon walking across a desk. Another person in the office said that they saw it earlier and it flew away. I was fascinated by the antenna, which I hope you can see in the picture, as the ends of them do almost a 360 degree loop, like a curly q. If you could give us any help identifying it, that would be great!
Eric
South Florida, right on the ocean, about 50 yards from the beach.

Spider Wasp

Spider Wasp

Dear Eric,
This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae though we don’t even want to attempt to try to identify the species.  Spider Wasps, as their name implies, prey upon spiders.  Adult wasps feed on pollen and nectar, but the helpless young are carnivorous.  The female Spider Wasp captures spiders and paralyzes them with her sting.  She then lays an egg on the spider and the young wasp has fresh paralyzed living meat rather than a dead dried out spider to feed upon.  According to BugGuide, the following are family characteristics of Spider Wasps:

“Typically dark colored with smoky or yellowish wings; a few are brightly colored.
Slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen.
Tibiae of rear legs have two prominent spines at apex (distal end, next to tarsi)
Wings not folded flat on top of abdomen.
Mesopleuron with a transverse suture (see this image).
Like the Vespidae, the Pompilidae have the pronotum extending back to the tegulae, the pronotum thus appearing triangular when viewed from the side and horseshoe-shaped when viewed from above.”  In your photo, the spines on the rear legs are visible.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

rain beetle photos
November 18, 2009
I came to your site to find out what these are. and now i know, thanks! Here’s the photos i was going to use, enjoy!
dr
northern ca. foothills

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

Hi dr,
Thanks so much for the Rain Beetle photos.  We also believe the LA Time article we read this past May is once again live on the website.  It is a wonderful account of an encounter with Rain Beetles.  One of the chapters in our book has to do with insects and weather, and we are going to be writing about the Rain Beetles of the California Sierras.  Since we only have twelve days to finish the manuscript, we may write that chapter next.

Rain Beetle

Rain Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mammoth bee-looking-spider
November 16, 2009
We stepped out of our house here in Pasadena, CA to go for a walk. In front of my neighbor’s house, we saw an insect moving on the sidewalk like Addams Family’s “The Thing.” You can hear it walking on the cement. I assumed that it might move fast when we had got closer. Instead, it moved slow, and when we had gotten closer and it stood still. It didn’t raise it’s legs in defense like some bugs. The head was golden yellow, the body yellow/brown, and the end was striped yellow and brown. We left it alone, came back, and it was ran over (probably by a bike). My lady said there was four legs; I thought it was three because it looked like a bee, but it didn’t have wings. Every body part was thick, like it was taking steroids. I left it at night, came back in the morning, and it was gone. I need your help. I’ve not seen anything this big since Mexico. I’m having a baby soon and would like to know what’s crawling around my neighborhood. Any help would be awesome. I drew four legs, but it might be three legs.
Andres Dorame
Pasadena, CA 91106

Sketch of Golden Orbweaver, we believe

Sketch of Golden Orbweaver, we believe

Dear Andres,
Though your sketch is lovely, it makes it difficult to be certain of an identification.  We are guessing you encountered a Golden Orbweaver, Argiope aurantia, a harmless spider that builds a circular web in the garden.  The spiders are quite helpless if knocked out of the web, and they will not leave their webs to hunt, preferring instead to snare flying insects that become trapped.  Golden Orbweavers pose no threat to humans, despite the large size.

A Differing Opinion
November 18, 2009
Golden Orbweaver OR Potatoe Bug!?
Hey bug lovers! I know I am not an expert like you guys/ladies but the last post about the “Golden Orbweaver” with the drawn picture sounds like a potatoe bug to me. I have been pretty much obsessed with those bugs lately and that picture and description sounds like a potatoe bug to me.. But like I said, I’m not the expert! 🙂 Just thought i’d give me input… Love the sight! Keep up the great work!
Amber

Good Call Amber,
You are probably correct, though the drawing shows eight legs and not six.  The written description does tend to indicate a Potato Bug.  Tring to make an identification based on a simple drawing takes a bit of creative license.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

large wasp-type bug with long ‘tail’
November 17, 2009
This bug came in when we opened our back door one evening a few nights ago. Sorry, my husband squished it. The envelope it’s sitting on is a business-sized (10 inch) envelope for size reference. It’s very dark or black with a long jointed looking body, black wings and the really long tail that totally creeps me out. 🙂
Scaredy Cat
North Texas/DFW

Squashed Giant Ichneumon

Squashed Giant Ichneumon

Dear Scaredy Cat,
This is a female Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa atrata, and she is perfectly harmless.  The tail, though it looks like a stinger, is actually an ovipositor.  With her long ovipositor, the female Giant Ichneumon drills into diseased wood to lay an egg on the larva of a wood boring insect, the Pigeon Horntail.

after reading your site for over an hour the night that I posted, I learned the purpose of that long tail thingy. Wish we wouldn’t have squished her. It was fear-induced carnage. 😉 With 3 cats and 2 children she probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway!
Thanks for responding and confirming what I found on your site. We also have great photos of a wooly caterpiller that looks like what the Japanese Monster Mothra was based upon. 🙂 Can we just submit photos even when we know what the bug is?
Kim

Hi Kim,
You may submit photos, but please use our question form and provide your location.  Also, please do not submit more than one species of insect per letter.  We are very happy to hear you were able to make your identification without our assistance.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant moth on my screen
November 17, 2009
I was headed to work and found this guy on my screen porch. He was about 6-8 inches in wingspan.
matt
south florida

Black Witch

Black Witch

Hi Matt,
This is a Black Witch, a large neotropical moth that often migrates north.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Most Horrific Thing I’ve Ever Seen
November 18, 2009
Hello!
My roommates and I have been finding these disgusting looking bugs around our house. They are in all rooms and have been found on the floor, walls, and ceililng. Aside from their gross appearance (if it’s not obvious by now, we are a bunch of girls – literally), when they die, all their legs seem to pop off. This makes sense when we smash them, but they’ve also died because we sprayed for them and as they crawl along, slowly dying, the legs seemed to disconnect. Perhaps I should mention they have more legs then I thought possible. They seem to go all around their body. The one in the picture is the biggest we’ve seen so far, it is about two inches in length. The average is 1-1 1/2 inches. Please help!
Horrified in the Heartland
Central Illinois

House Centipede

House Centipede

Dear Horrified,
If you are not seeing any cockroaches, it is probably because these beneficial and harmless House Centipedes are feeding upon them at night.  Should you succeed in eliminating all the House Centipedes, you may find that the Cockroaches and Bedbugs and Silverfish will proliferate.  Our advice is to learn to live in harmony with the House Centipedes and allow them to keep your home pest free.

Thanks Daniel! It would be nice if the “good” bugs would clearly identify themselves and not look so scary. Perhaps I will try and convey that to them next time I see one. Thanks again!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination