From the monthly archives: "September 2010"

Large Wasp/Hornet type insect
Location:  South Coast U.K
September 1, 2010 7:49 am
Hello, im from England on the south coast.
Wasps are a common sight and i have occasionally seen large ones of approximately an inch or so. This was one of the biggest i have ever seen at just over an inch long, also it is very unusual looking with a red/brown and black striped pattern Large Red eyes and a bright yellow stripe down its head. The attached image is the best i could get before it flew away. Really would love to know what it is as i have looked around and it doesnt appear to be a native species.

Hornet Hover Fly

Hi Richard,
This is not a wasp, but rather, a fly that mimics a stinging insect for protection.  It is a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae, a group also known as Flower Flies, and owing to its large size and the location of the sighting, we thought it might be
Volucella inanis, a species with no specific common name other than the generic Hover Fly.  We found an image similar to your photo posted to a website devoted to UK Insects but there is a note that a related species, Volucella zonaria is even larger.  Wikipedia has a page devoted to Volucella zonaria which is known as the Hornet Hover Fly, and there are photos on the BioImages Virtual Field-Guide UK website that match your specimen nicely.  UK Safari also has a nice photograph of the Hornet Hover Fly which is called the Belted Hoverfly.

Thank you so much for your fast reply. Very interesting!
I am of course familiar with hoverflys, very common, but i’ve honestly never (knowingly!) seen one anywhere near that size before!
Thanks again.

Sudden Infestation
Location:  Northeast U.S.
September 1, 2010 12:07 am
Hello, I live in western New York. I found a bunch of bugs in my kitchen yesterday on the countertops at lunch time. I quickly wiped them of and discarded of them outside. At that point there were roughly 15 of them. I came home from work last night and suddenly there were probably one hundred of them. So I got out the bleach and scrubbed down the whole kitchen. I knew this was probably only a temporary fix. They have come back today. I have two dogs and at first I thought ”Oh my goodness they have fleas”, but upon checking them out the are a little bigger than what a flea would be. They also are very easy to catch and discard. They are brown in color. They do appear to have wings and the ability to fly but for the most part they don’t move very much. I was trying to find the source of the bugs and though there were some on the kitchen floor, the first place I noticed them were on the kitchen counter. So I thought maybee they were falling from the ceiling. Low and behold when I looked up they appeared to be coming from the light on the ceiling. I tried to find them in other rooms before but they seemed to only be in the kitchen. Well the lights in the kitchen are always on so I checked other lights. I noticed that they seem to be collecting at any light. I recentley had my roof redone. There were old ceder shake shingles on the house before. I wonder if they could be some kind of termited that were upset when the roof was tore off and moved from the attic down my walls or if they are just some kind of gnat. Please Help me I will attach a couple of pictures.

Drugstore Beetles perhaps

Hi Scott,
Your photos are lacking in detail, but based on your description and the image with the penny as scale, we believe you have an infestation of Drugstore Beetles.  Drugstore Beetles,
Stegobium paniceum, are cosmopolitan in distribution and may be found year round thanks to our climate controlled environment in the home.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on prescription drugs, flours, dry mixes, breads, cookies, spices, chocolates and other sweets, plus a variety of ‘non-food’ items.” BugGuide explains Larval non-food material includes wool, hair, leather, horn, and museum specimens. Larvae have been known to bore into books, wooden objects, and, in some cases, tin or aluminum foil and lead sheet.”  Drugstore Beetles are not the only small beetles that will infest stored food products in the kitchen.  Another possible culprit is the Cigarette Beetle, Lasioderma serricorne, but you probably do not care exactly what food infesting beetle is living in your kitchen.  You need to search the pantry thoroughly to find the source of the infestation.  Your letter mentioned dogs and if you buy large quantities of dog food, the infestation might have begun in the bargain bag of pet food, or it might have begun in the long forgotten cake mix that expired in 2002 on the top shelf of the cupboard in the back behind the canned goods.  If the infestation is really bad, the beetles might have spread to other items already, so you might want to clear out all stored food products and that should take care of the problem unless the beetles have been proliferating in the stuffed stag’s head over the fireplace or some exotic artifact made of leather or other animal products that a world traveler presented you after returning from Africa or South America. In England, Drugstore Beetles are known as Biscuit Beetles and adults do not feed.  The Ohio State University Extension Program has a good fact sheet on both Drugstore Beetles and Cigarette Beetles.

Drugstore Beetles possibly