From the yearly archives: "2010"

Identification Request: found on Malibu Beach, Southern Califonia
Location:  Malibu, California
July 23, 2010 5:33 pm
These were collected at night the week of the 4th of July by my teenage son on the beach in Malibu, California. They are shown in a regular five gallon bucket and are about an inch long excluding antenna.
During the day I noticed similar looking, but much smaller, bugs jumping on the sand. The color camouflages them well. The small ones were far too fast for me to photograph.
Attached, a small photo. High res one (URL may change):
Eli the Bearded

Marine Amphipods

Hi Eli the Bearded,
Good name.  These are some type of Crustacean.  We believe they are Marine Isopods, but we cannot find a matching photo online.  Perhaps our readership can assist.

Marine Amphipods

Karl makes a Correction
These look like marine amphopods (Amphipoda), specifically beachhoppers (Amphipoda: Talitridae).  They are probably Megalorchestia californiana, California Beach Fleas (aka: California Sand Fleas, California Beach Hoppers, Long-horned Beach Hoppers), or perhaps another closely related species.  K

Wasp? Cicada Killer? Spider Wasp?
Location:  Cleveland, Ohio
July 23, 2010 4:40 pm
This is burrowing in my Northern Ohio garden. I need to know if it’s friendly and helpful to my garden or whether or not I need to get rid of it. Please help me identify.
Thank you.

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear JJM,
How fortunate you are to have a Great Golden Digger Was,
Sphex ichneumoneus, nesting in your garden.  The Great Golden Digger Wasp is beneficial for the garden for at least two reasons.  First, adults are excellent pollinating insects and they are not aggressive towards humans.  Secondly, the female wasp provisions her nest with plant eating insects in the order Orthoptera.  According to BugGuide:  “Female digs burrow almost vertically. Cells are dug radiating out from central tunnel. Larvae are provisioned with crickets, camel crickets, katydids (long-horned grasshoppers). One paralyzed prey is placed in each cell, and one egg is laid on it. One generation per year.”  The Great Golden Digger Wasp is found throughout the continental United States from coast to coast.  The Great Golden Digger Wasp in our personal favorite wasp.

Don’t you love it when people bug you?
July 22, 2010
I have never seen this bug before but I am sure you have??? It
is about 1/3 longer than a bumblebee and the same color but its wings
are different and go about 1,000 times a second. The pic shows it with
a bumblebee.
These pics were taken July 17,2010o, in Lawrenceville,GA
Thanks. Have a great day,
Ferd Hall

Bumblebee Moth

Hi Ferd,
There are three moths in the genus
Hemaris that Bill Oehlke lists as ranging in Georgia, and they all look similar and we sometimes have difficulty distinguishing them from one another.  We are going to take a bit of artistic license and say that your individual is a Bumblebee Moth or Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis, based on comparisons with the images posted to Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.  We are also amused that you have a photo of the Bumblebee Moth with a Bumble Bee for comparison.

Bumble Bee and Bumblebee Moth

The eggs hatched!
Location:  Charlottesville, VA, US
July 22, 2010 1:42 pm
I’d thought they were butterfly eggs, but obviously not. What are these things, do you know? and will they hurt my basil and pepper plants?

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Hatchlings

Hi Kathy,
These are newly hatched Harlequin Stink Bugs,
Murgantia histrionica.  We verified their identity by matching them to a photo on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Sucks on juices of plants in the mustard/cabbage family (Brassicaceae). Can be a very serious crop pest.” Basil and pepper and not in the family Brassicaceae, but if the eggs were laid on those plants, it is possible that they may also provide a food source.  Stink Bugs have piercing/sucking mouthparts, and they feed on the fluids of the plants.  If the Harlequin Stink Bugs are particularly plentiful, they may cause irreparable damage to young and sensitive plants.

Cool. Thanks very much for the response.

Correction:  Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Hatchlings
July 1, 2011
Thanks to Jean who provided a comment with the correction.

Backswimmer abdominal hairs
Location:  Santa Cruz Mountains
July 22, 2010 2:45 pm
Hello Bugpeople,
I saw a few letters concerning backswimmers and thought you might like to see this photo I took in my sister’s pool that inadvertantly captured extremely long hair-like structures on the abdomen of the backswimmer. I’d never seen them before until I enlarged the photo. I assumed they would be for breathing (extracting oxygen directly from the water?), but apparently they just help hold the abdomen at the surface of the water.
Incidently, I tried my hand at raising a few chickens a couple of years ago. I learned that everything loves the taste of chickens: raccoons, coopers hawks, coyotes, etc. I did manage to get a couple to egg-laying age, and had a nice run for a while (loved those fresh rich eggs), but eventually a wily coyote found his way into the enclosure and finished them off. While they were here, though, they were the happiest chickens on the planet – a full half-acre to run around on, and I fed them termites and other pests when I encountered them.
Fellow Bug Lover Dave


Hi Dave,
Thanks for the great letter and wonderful images of a Backswimmer.  We will need to do a bit of research on the hair subject, but we didn’t want to wait to post your letter.
Thanks also for the tips on chicken predators.  We were very mindful of making the chicken coop very secure.  The chicken run is only four foot high chicken wire, but we don’t plan on letting the chickens out of the coop without supervision, at least until they are much larger.  We will lock our chickens, we just named the gold one Ginger, into the coop each night which should keep them safe from nocturnal raccoons and owls, and coyotes that pose a greater threat at night.  Our biggest fear is the hawks, especially Cooper Hawks which feed on the doves that come to our bird feeder.  There are also Red Shouldered Hawks and Red Tail Hawks in the neighborhood, but the smaller Cooper Hawks are the ones we are most nervous about.

Spiked Thing!
Location:  Amazon Jungle, Ecuador
July 21, 2010 4:39 pm
please help me!
found this insect in the amazon jungle in ecuador and i’m really curious what it is!

Spiny Orbweaver

Hi Flo,
We believe this is a spider and not an insect, but the angle of view of your photograph is not ideal to be able to distinguish body parts.  This looks like a Spiny Orbweaver Spider, perhaps in the genus Micrathena.  BugGuide has some images of North American species.  We then found a match on Flickr identified as Micrathena cf raimondi.