From the monthly archives: "June 2010"

Bug ID
June 28, 2010
This bug was near our front entrance on our home. We found it curious enough to snap a few pics. My wife and I have never seen one like this in our region and we have both lived in this rural home for nearly 20 years. I grew up very nearby and it is my curiosity that makes me wonder why it is here.
Any assitance appreciated.
Curt in California
Nothern California

Gray Fishfly

Hi Curt,
Your visitor is a Gray Fishfly in the genus Neohermes, probably Neohermes californica.  That species is commonly called a California Dobsonfly.  You can read a bit more on BugGuide.  This should be a local insect for you.

BIG Orange Bug!
June 28, 2010
We found this bug on our backyard deck in South Central Kansas on June 28th. It was on the banister, consuming a large spider! What is this thing?!
Curious Kansas Family
Wichita, Kansas

Molting Wheel Bug

Dear Curious Kansas Family,
While it may appear as though you witnessed a predatory act, you actually witnessed the metamorphosis of a Wheel Bug.  The orange coloration of the newly molted adult Wheel Bug, North America’s largest Assassin Bug, will soon darken to a charcoal gray color.

What is this HUGE beetle??
June 29, 2010
My husband and I were freaked out to find this beetle flying around our living room. We trapped it and let it go outback, but before it flew off I was able to snap some photos… I thought it might be a female Hercules Beetle, but the spots throw me off. What do you think it is??
Thanks!
Northern Missouri

Grapevine Beetle

Your beetle is a Grapevine Beetle, Pelidnota punctata.  Like the Hercules Beetles, it is in the family Scarabaeidae, but it is subcategorized as a Shining Leaf Chafer in the subfamily Rutelinae.  The species name, “punctata” means “spotted” according to BugGuide.

Thanks!! I did some more searching last night and finally found it, but you just confirmed it for me!!

“Granddaddy” bug speaks
June 29, 2010
Just wanted to say first of all that I love your website, I always come here when I’m trying to identify a bug or spider that as wondered into my home. This bug here which to me looks “old” in the face and thats why I call him the “granddaddy” bug, flew or fell onto my arm 4 nights ago as I set at my computer desk. Im not for sure that he flys so much because he just was there on my arm. I kept him intil the next day so I could get some good pics outside before I let him go. In the one pic where I held him up so you could get a good look at his face, he did try and bite me, which was ok, if someone 100 times bigger than me was holding me like that I would try and bite them too, lol. His shell is really hard and he makes the neatest “singing&qu ot; noise as if he is trying to speak. After I snapped the pics I of course let him go unharmed .
“curious about bugs”
Dryden VA (Lee Co)

Spined Oak Borer

Dear curious about bugs,
Thanks for the compliments.  Your Longhorn Beetle in the family Cerambycidae is a Spined Oak Borer, Elaphidion mucronatum.  You can compare your specimen to this photo on BugGuide.  Earlier in June, we posted a letter with a misidentified Spined Oak Borer, and you can read about how Karl provided us with a correction.

Spined Oak Borer

Think it’s a blister beetle
June 28, 2010
Good day. The pictured bug is from Mesa, Arizona. Scads of them have been around my peppers and tomatoes (which they have damaged or killed) since March. They seem to suck the juice out of fruit and stems. My peppers and tomatoes are organic. I don’t use chemicals in
the pepper patch. If this is a blister beetle, how can I get rid of them without chemicals? If it isn’t a blister beetle, what is it? Not much else I can tell you. They fly. They haven’t been around in the past 40 years. First year I’ve seen this many, if any of them.
Daniel
Mesa, Arizona

Small Milkweed Bug

Hi Daniel,
This is a Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii.  It is a True Bug and not a Beetle.  Beetles have chewing mouthparts and they actually take bites out of things.  True Bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts and as your email indicates, they suck juices.  Your letter is the first report that we have received that Small Milkweed Bugs are problematic in the garden.  According to BugGuide:  “
Adults suck nectar from flowers of various herbaceous plants, and also feed on milkweed seeds(?). Also reported to be scavengers and predators, especially in spring when milkweed seeds are scarce.”   We do not normally give extermination advice.  We control problematic sucking insects in our own garden by spraying with a weak detergent like dish detergent in water.