From the monthly archives: "March 2010"

Mottled brown, pentagonal beetles around the house
March 31, 2010
A year or so ago, my mother and I started seeing these little guys all around the house, and they’ve been here ever since. They’re about 3/4″ long, and the six legs are jointed to one point underneath the body. They also fly (unexpectedly into one’s face or onto one’s keyboard!) short distances, often smashing into walls or other fixtures, and have an alarming habit of losing their grip on a wall or ceiling and falling onto whomever happens to be standing below.
They don’t appear to be eating any of our clothes or any bits of the house, nor do they bite, sting, or really bother us in any way, but we still want to know if they’re something to worry about. The place is absolutely infested with them.
Northeast Ohio

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear hako,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, not a beetle.  Interestingly, the family is Pentatomidae, a reference to the body shape that you described as pentagonal.  They often seek shelter indoors as the weather cools, hibernating until the spring warmth arouses them.  They will not harm you or your home, or your pets.

What is this insect?
March 31, 2010
A friend sent me this photograph of what looks like a beetle. It is in their greenhouse. I have little more info at this time but the distinct orange head should help. I will try to send more info as I get it.
Youungstown OH USA


Dear DoctorReno,
How nice to get a letter from our home town.  This is a Firefly, a Beetle in the family Lampyridae that children commonly call  a Lightning Bug.  It is probably in the genus Photinus based on images posted to BugGuide.  The larvae and adults feed on snails, and they will not harm the plants in the greenhouse.

Anza Borrego Spider??
March 31, 2010
We were at Anza Boreggo this past Saturday (03-27-10), Spring Season. We were walking up one of the canyons, rocks. And I went to an area where there were some flowering cactus, and other wild flowers. As I was approaching a flower, I noticed what originally looked like a beetle! UNTIL, it started to move and put its two front legs on a flower!!! Then it looked like a spider! What kind of spider is this? It camouflages as a piece of an orchid flower leaf as well! The body was huge and bulbous!
Anza Borrego

Desert Spider Beetle

Hi Crystal,
Your photo is lacking the kind of detail that would make our identification easier, but we believe this is a Desert Spider Beetle, Cysteodemus armatus, which may be viewed on BugGuide.

Hi Daniel!
Thank you very much for your quick and very accurate response!  It most definitely looks like a Desert Spider Beetle!!!  So I was right to think it was a beetle; I got a little freaked out the moment it looked like a spider.  Sorry I didn’t get closer to it, as I’m afraid of those things jumping at me!  It actually prevented me from going to the flowering cactus that I wanted to take a picture of! 🙂  But now I know exactly what it is!  What a specimen! 🙂

What type of Bee is this?
March 31, 2010
I have searched all morning trying to figure out what type of bee this is, but no luck yet. Everything points to a Carpenter Bee, but I don’t think it is. They are swarming our patio, we live on the 4th floor of a Condo. All have the yellow marking.
Thanks, Mary
Hilton Head Island,South Carolina

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hi Mary,
This is an Eastern Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa virginica, and according to BugGuide:  “Large, black hairless abdomen, yellow pile on thorax. Males have yellow/white face. Common in eastern North America, and the only member of its genus in much of range.
The light face on your individual makes it a male.

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Large brown spider with blue pearl egg sack
March 31, 2010
Last weekend when the weather was hot and dry I decided to weed-whack all the tall weeds in the driveway. Upon completion of the task, my eye caught a blue pearl scooting along the cement. I quickly grabbed a camera and snapped 2 shots. The spider was a brownish color, appox 1.5″ dia (including leg span). A co-worker said it might be a brown recluse? Dude, I hope not!
Stockton, CA

Wolf Spider with Egg Sac

Hi squinja7000,
This is a female Wolf Spider, and she is perfectly harmless.

white spider with round balls on its joints looks frozen almost
March 30, 2010
We have these in our bulked.. we rarely open it .. and this is what we found … they are alive and crawling, seems to cower from the light.. If you need more pictures I am sure I can try and brave the spiders and take some more..
Bourne, Ma

Cellar Spider with Fungus Infection

Dear Pam,
Numerous times in the past we have received similar images, and we have maintained that the creatures in the photos were dead and being consumed by fungus.  Readers continue to write to us insisting that the spiders are alive.  Your spider is the first that actually does look alive, and we can only surmise that it will soon succumb to this fungus infection.  We are linking to a similar photo on BugGuide of a Cellar Spider in the family Pholcidae that was infected with fungus.  Your spider is also a Cellar Spider.  It may be Pholcus phalangioides, the Longbodied Cellar Spider, a common household species.
These Cellar Spiders appear to be especially prone to fungus infections, as do many flies. Since it is the final day of the month, we need to select a Bug of the Month for April to sit at the top of our homepage for thirty days.  Your letter and photo get that honor for April.