From the monthly archives: "January 2011"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug ID please
Location: Arrowhead Lake, Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania
January 3, 2011 11:55 pm
Hello! this is the scariest looking bug I’ve ever seen. I saw him on the siding of a building in the woods in Pennsylvania, in the Pocono mountains. i would appreciate it if you could help in identifying him. Thank you very much,
Signature: Wendy

Female Dobsonfly

Hi Wendy,
We often write that Dobsonflies are harmless, but it is possible that a female might deliver a painful bite that may even draw blood.  This female is in an effective threat position and we would have to agree with you that she is quite frightening.  The male Dobsonfly with his saber-like mandibles is even more frightening, but whereas the female actually has mandibles capable of biting, the mandibles of the male are perfectly harmless to humans.

Wow! Thank you so very much! So exciting to get a response/id from you
and so quickly too! Appreciate it very much,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What Fly is this?
Location: Thirroul NSW Australia
January 3, 2011 9:41 pm
Hi Bugmen,
I have had a good look at the CSIRO site which is a little lacking & which is a little more helpful however I have not been able to locate an image of a similar fly to assist with identification. Image taken in the warm temperate rainforests behind Thirroul on the South Coast of NSW Australia, elevation of about 200meters above sea level. The fly was about the size of a Vinegar Fly (Drosophilidae)
Signature: Standard

Australian Fly: Sapromyza pictigera

Dear Standard,
This is sure an unusual Fly, but we do not know what family to begin searching.  Have you tried the Insects of Brisbane website?  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply an identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Lots of bugs on Christmas tree
Location: Dallas, Texas – but could have been imported!
January 3, 2011 6:31 pm
Hi bugman! I was very sad that my husband wanted me to take down the Christmas tree. But now I am very glad he did! As we were removing ornaments and lights, we discovered the tree was positively CRAWLING with these bugs. We threw the tree over our balcony so as not to drag it through the house, and vacuumed thoroughly, just in case. Sorry for the blurry photo – we were in a hurry to take the image and get it out of the house.
That is a close up of the trunk of the tree in one spot, but it was like that everywhere. For scale, the needles remaining on our floor are all about 3/4 inch long, so I assume that’s a similar length to the ones in the photo. The bugs were quite small.
Do you know what kind of bugs they are? My mom suggested they are some kind of stink bug, but the back legs are much longer than any stink bug I’ve seen. We are in Dallas, TX, but the tree could have been shipped in from somewhere (we got it at Home Depot).
Signature: Deana in Texas

Giant Conifer Aphids

Hi Deana,
You have Giant Conifer Aphids in the genus
Cinara (see BugGuide for more information), and they are commonly brought into the house with a Christmas tree.  As the tree begins to dry out, they will flee the tree.  They will not harm your home or you or your pets, but they can be an annoyance.  Your mom is quite astute.  Stink Bugs and Aphids are in the same insect order, Hemiptera, and this order is characterized by sucking mouth parts and includes Cicadas and all True Bugs including Assassin Bugs, Bed Bugs and Toe-Biters.

Thanks so much for the information! I’m glad to know they aren’t really harmful to our two cats and dog or to our home.
In the future, is there something we can look for when choosing a tree so that we don’t have this problem again?  We didn’t see the bugs when we brought it home (and I would think we would have noticed when holding the trunk of the tree to carry it in the house or put it into the stand) so I suppose they were either just eggs at the time or perhaps living -inside- the tree somewhere. I read that they do have some kind of secretion, also – is that something we can look for on the tree in order to prevent this for future holidays?
Or is this just one of the risks associated with purchasing a live tree?
Thanks again,

Aphids often reproduce by live birth, so if there were a few individuals on the tree when you purchased it, they escaped notice.  If the tree was up for a few weeks, the number of individuals might have increased exponentially, producing the infestation you discovered upon undressing the tree.  Interestingly, in years past, there have been other insect sightings associated with a live Christmas tree.  One year we received about five letters of Preying Mantids hatching from ootheca or egg cases, but we received none of those this year.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

This was in my pool
Location: Perth, Western Australia, Southern Hemisphere, South Pacific, My swimming pool.
January 3, 2011 2:04 am
Hi, My name is Seb from Perth, Western australia.
It’s very hot here at the moment.
The photo posted is the second one of these I’ve seen in the space of a fortnight.
On the first encounter I was working on my bike in the shed and one of these was more or less trying to attack me?
I can confirm it can fly.
Anyway my dad took it away to the swamps later that night for his walk.
The second one was in my pool pretty much drowning so I rescued it with our brush.
I noticed it was not only trying to attach itself to the brush, but it was biting at the bristles!
Anyways I couldnt completely get it out with the brush so I scooped it up with the container, hence the water.
I was abit afraid of putting my hand any closer for a better photo… lol.
After taking the photo, it was released to the front garden. God forbit its actually an invasive species not indigenous to this region.
Im guessing because of its rear spines, its part of the cricket family?
We have a relatively large veggie patch wich at night time seems to come alive. We can hear 2 or 3 different types of frogs etc which I think should be part of a healthy ecosystem? Also lots of various plants planted around the walkways etc.
I do hope someone can help to identify this.
Kindly thanking you in great anticipation.
Signature: Thanks, Seb

Mole Cricket

Hi Seb,
This is a Mole Cricket and they do fly.  They are subterranean insects that for some reason, perhaps the pool lights, are frequently found in swimming pools.  Mole Crickets, which resemble one another even when the are different species, are found worldwide.  The Brisbane Insect website has a lengthy page on the Mole Cricket.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this a springtail?
Location: Baltimore, MD
January 2, 2011 8:30 pm
I keep finding a bunch of seemingly dead bugs just inside my basement door this winter. They are black and tiny –initially I thought it was mouse poop until I got very close. Tonight, I was sweeping them up again, and realized some of them were NOT dead. They look a lot like springtails, but the live ones I saw did not jump, and do not appear to have round heads like in the picture on your site. We are trying to sell the house, so any info is much appreciated!
Signature: Kevin in Baltimore

Grain Weevils

Hi Kevin,
You have Grain Weevils, not Springtails.  You may have some stored bird seed or pet food, or possibly a bag of rice in the vicinity that has been infested.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

32 Spotted Katydid
Location: Quensland Australia
January 2, 2011 6:27 pm
Happy New Year guys.
It’s been wet, wet, wet, here in Queensland but finally a bit of sunshine today. This katydid (Ephippitytha trigintiduoguttata) is not usually seen in the adult phase as it prefers to feed on leaves at the top of gum trees but I was lucky to find this one on some regrowth close to the ground. Quite a looker, hope you like the shots.
Signature: aussietrev

32 Spotted Katydid

Happy New Year Trevor,
Thanks so much for sending us these wonderful photos of the magnificent 32 Spotted Katydid.  We will try to find a link to additional information tomorrow.

Update: January 3, 2011
The Insects of Brisbane website has a nice set of images of the 32 Spotted Katydid.

32 Spotted Katydid

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination