From the yearly archives: "2010"

I haven’t the slightest…
Location: Rochester, Minnesota
December 30, 2010 7:07 pm
Hi, I found this bug in my very own backyard, it was sitting on a tree, and appeared to be pumping the tree with… something with it’s 3 inch sting, and I really have no idea what it could be.
Signature: Gannon S.

Giant Ichneumon Oviposits

Hi Gannon,
We are guessing that you did not recently take this photograph of a female Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, in the act of ovipositing recently, but rather, you are trying to identify an insect you witnessed during the summer.  Though she is laying eggs, this Giant Ichneumon will not harm the tree.  Her brood will feed on the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail, an insect that is found in dead and dying wood as well as the wood of trees that are already in decline.

Need to Identify
Location: Northeastern Pa.
December 30, 2010 6:50 pm
Mr. Bugman,
We have had an infestation of these bugs since early November. Have no clue what they are and have searched all over online but have not yet found a match. Can you please help us identify them?
Signature: desperate in Pa

Small Winter Stonefly

Dear desperate,
You have Small Winter Stoneflies in the family Capniidae and we are really looking forward to the opportunity to educate you regarding the complexities of the web of life on our fragile planet and to hopefully nurture an appreciation of your own unique ecosystem in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  We should start with a definition of “infestation” and for that, we are turning to our Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary that accompanies our Encyclopaedia Britannica.  “1:  the act of infesting … :  Plague, annoyance  2:  something that infests:  swarm … 3:  the state of being infested esp. with metazoan parasites in or on an animal or plant body.”  The dictionary goes on to define “infest” as “1 archaic:  to attack or harass persistently :  worry, annoy  2a:  to visit persistently or in large numbers  :  overrun, haunt …  b:  to live in or on as a parasite –used esp. f metazoan parasites of animals.”  At any rate, “infestation” has a negative connotation and though you may not understand how these Small Winter Stoneflies play a part in your ecosystem, and though you may be annoyed with their presence, they do not constitute an infestation.  They will not harm you, your pets, your home or its furnishings.
According to BugGuide, the “family is distributed throughout much of North America but many species have restricted geographic ranges, and are endemic to relatively small areas.
”  That means that you might have a unique species that is endangered.  The fact that there were enough individuals to spark your concern is indicative of a healthy population.  Additionally, Stoneflies have aquatic larvae that cannot survive in polluted waters.  The presence of a large quantity of adult Small Winter Stoneflies in your area is indicative of a nearby pure water supply.  A healthy population of Stoneflies are actually an indicator that there is a healthy and diverse ecosystem in your area.  This past March, we selected Winter Stoneflies as our Bug of the Month and that resulted in a request from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Because we feel so strongly about the preservation of the environment as well as promoting an appreciation of the lower beasts, we are selecting your letter and images as our featured Bug of the Month for January 2011 even though Winter Stoneflies have occupied that position of distinction on our website in the past.

Small Winter Stoneflies

I so appreciate your e-mail and sharing of knowledge on these Small Winter Stoneflies.  I understand that ‘infestation’ has a negative connotation and I didn’t mean for it to come across as negative although they are “visiting persistently and in large numbers” and are often falling from the ceiling  of our basement or siding of our house onto our bodies or into our hair.  The backside of our house is literally covered in them and you can’t come in the door without a few making their way in as well.  Nonetheless, I’m very happy to learn that they are not harmful to us, our pets, or our home. We do have a seasonal creek that runs back behind our house, so I’m wondering if that is the source of “unpolluted” water they are being attracted to?
Again, thank you for your time in helping us to identify this insect and learn more about them! We’ll tread more carefully from here on out…
The Becks in Pa.

The creek sounds exactly like the habitat needed for the larvae to mature in an aquatic environment.  Stoneflies live in running water, not standing water.

home insect mystery
Location: ny
December 30, 2010 11:56 pm
hey guys,
i constantly started seeing more and more of this insect and i really need help identifying these insects. they are growing exponentially in my kitchen and i need to find a way to get rid of this. Please help me out.
Signature: jack

Possibly Mouse Droppings

Dear Jack,
Your photo does not have the necessary detail to be sure, but we do not believe this phenomenon is insect related.  We believe you have mouse droppings.  Please compare what you have to this image on the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology website.  You can also visit the Cornell University Integrated Pest Management website.  You can start by cleaning out the kitchen thoroughly and discarding any food that rodents would have access to.  If you disagree with us and still believe you have insects, please send a better photo for identification.

Possibly Mouse Droppings

Follow Up Request
January 28, 2011 11:41 pm
hey there
can i delete my post that i posted here more than a month ago. One of my friend recently googled my username f#@$%&*k (censored) and this site came up and all my friends were reading about the mouse droppings(my post) and laughing at me. Is there a way to delete my post so that it dosent come up on google anymore. Please help.Thanks
Signature: jack

Dear Jack,
We do not remove content from our archives.  We do not publish email addresses unless a reader requests that for some reason.  There are so many Jacks in New York that there was no way your friends could connect this posting to you as an individual until you yourself posted a comment that included your user name.  The google search is not leading your acquaintances to our posting, but to the comment you sent as a follow up to the posting.  We can delete the comment, but we will not remove the posting.  We don’t know how much longer the cached information on your user name will lead your friends to our site, but once information has been uploaded to the WWW, it runs the risk of going viral.  It is a sad comment on the state of interpersonal relationships that your so called friends need to troll the internet with the intention of digging up dirt (or in this case mouse feces) on you so that they can publicly ridicule you.  As an aside, when we did the google search we observed that our website comes up seventh, after male enhancements and online hookups.  We fully understand how your slovenly housekeeping might reduce your internet heat factor since it might be a dealbreaker.  We believe it is best in the interest of running a family oriented website that we not only remove your comment, but also that we censor your user name from this request so that our younger readers will not inadvertently be led to the adult content associated with your internet profile.

Black and White Striped Unidentified insect
Location: Montana
December 31, 2010 12:39 am
Hello. I have a random insect that appeared in my home a couple days ago. I live in Bozeman, MT and I had a Fraser fir in my house and I also have a couple herbs growing in my kitchen (basil, oregano, thyme). My camera wouldn’t focus any closer but zoomed in the picture is fairly good. Thank you very much.
Signature: Jenny

Unknown Small Moth

Hi Jenny,
This is a moth, and since it is small, it is somewhat unscientifically categorized as a Microlepidoptera.  We tried scanning the plates on the Moth Photographers Group without any success.  It looks similar to a Clothes Moth in the genus
Eudarcia that is pictured on BugGuide, be we are confident that is not the correct classification for your specimen.  We do believe your moth is neither a Clothes Moth nor a Pantry Moth, and it may have been transported on the Christmas tree.  You did not indicate if this was an isolated specimen or part of an infestation.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with a species identification.

Giant caterpillar in southwest Florida
Location: Corkscrew Swamp in Southwest Florida
December 30, 2010 2:50 pm
I found this caterpillar in Corkscrew swamp near Naples, FL. It was late November and the caterpillar was in a tree about ten feet off the ground. It was about 5 to 6 inches long. I thought it was a branch but then it started moving. Im not sure what type of tree was feeding in. Is this some type of giant sphinx caterpillar? I’ve looked all over for his ID but cant find anything. This is probably the largest caterpillar I have ever seen.
(PS i got your book for Christmas and love it!)
Signature: Sammy

Possibly Obscure Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Sammy,
It is difficult to be certain, but we suspect this may be an Obscure Sphinx Caterpillar,
Erinnyis obscura, based on a photo posted to the Sphingidae of the Americas websiteKnowing the food plant is often a big help in caterpillar identification.  We will try to check with Bill Oehlke to see if he agrees with our tentative identification.

Possibly Obscure Sphinx Caterpillar

Life (and death) in a milkweed patch

Monarch on Milkweed

Life (and death) in a milkweed patch
Location:  Manitoba’s Birds Hill Provincial Park, Canada
December 28, 2010
Hi Daniel:
Every July tens of thousands of people descend on Manitoba’s Birds Hill Provincial Park for one of Canada’s, and North America’s, oldest and largest folk festivals (we haven’t missed it for more than 30 years!). In 2006 I discovered the most impressive milkweed patch I have ever seen, wedged between a parking lot and an oak forest, and was thrilled with the abundant and diverse bug life I found there. …  If you or any of your readers are interested, I have uploaded a collection of photos taken at this location since 2006 (with more to follow next year, I am sure). I am still working on some of the identifications and I am not certain about some of the ones I have inserted, so any comments or suggestions would be welcomed and appreciated. Regards.  Karl

White Admiral on Milkweed

Hi Karl,
We will let you know if we post any of your other wonderful images.

Common Wood Nymph on Milkweed

Go ahead and borrow anything you like, or let me know if you have anything specific in mind. I have thousands of photos that I have been meaning to organize and perhaps upload, but I just haven’t been able to find the time. Perhaps next year.  Have a great new year! K

Comma on Milkweed

Hi Karl,
You have so many wonderful images.  We decided to concentrate on only the Brush Footed Butterflies in the family Nymphalidae that you have photographed, including the Monarch, White Admiral, Common Wood Nymph, Comma and Great Spangled Fritillary.

Great Spangled Fritillary