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

bugs hatching
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
January 26, 2011 7:24 pm
Just the other day my roommates and I were in the living room when we noticed a dark spot up my our fireplace. When I climbed up to investigate, I noticed it wasn’t just one bug but a whole bunch of small ones hatching. The area there were in was roughly the size of a adult female palm. They were found in January in Oklahoma. They were about a foot from the celing on the brick around our fireplace in the living room. We caught one in a peice of tape and took it to the home depot and though they couldn’t id the type, they gave us some Raid which killed them. We had a huge problem with black widows in the fall and I’m worried they might be babies that are just hatching. Any ideas? Do we need to have someone come spray for them?
Signature: Amanda

Wheel Bug Hatchlings before the insecticide

Hi Amamda,
This is a cluster of Wheel Bug hatchlings, a beneficial predator.  It is odd that the egg cluster was laid indoors, but the fact that they were found near a fireplace brings up a possibility.  Perhaps a female Wheel Bug was prowling through the wood pile outdoors looking for a Black Widow Spider to prey upon when the log was taken indoors.  Adult Wheel Bugs are dark gray and they would blend in with the color of the log.  Left with no other alternatives, the Wheel Bug laid her eggs on the ceiling of the living room.  Because of the heat indoors, the eggs hatched early.  Hatchling Wheel Bugs do look somewhat spiderlike and they do have red and black coloration like Black Widows, so your mistake is understandable.  Hatching indoors did not leave them very good odds of survival even without the insecticide, but we are going to tag this posting as Unnecessary Carnage nonetheless because as we stated originally, Wheel Bugs are beneficial predators.

A reader Comments:
RE: hatchling wheel bugs
January 27, 2011 10:07 am
Hello BugMan,
I am writing to you today to convey a message to your readership. I was very dismayed to see all of the wheel bug hatchlings that met a very early demise. This was a very unfortunate event with these awesome wheel bugs, and even though in your response you say Amanda’s mistaking them for Black Widow babies is understandable because of the similar colors and them being ”spiderlike”, I noticed clearly in Amanda’s picture that the bugs have antenna. So that is my message for your readers: if you see something that has antenna, it’s not a spider, as spiders don’t have antenna. Sincerely, Amy
Signature: Amy

Thank you for the response and I inderstand the Unnecessary Carnage tagging though I think you understand my fear they were baby black widows. I would like to point out as well that our fire place is gas and has been sealed up by the homeowners as they do not want renters “setting the house on fire” 🙂 We assumed they climbed in through the fireplace. The next time we find them we will be sure to relocated them back outside where they belong (which I do with most of the insects that find their way in my house with the exception of the black widow.) Can you answer a question of whether or not they bite? I have read several things online that differ. Thank you!
Amanda

Hi again Amanda,
Wheel Bugs can bite, but they do not typically bite humans.  Careless handling might result in a bite.  Certain other Assassin Bugs are more prone to biting, and some species, like Kissing Bugs actually feed on warm blooded hosts, including humans.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your wonderful reply!

Ms. Muffet

Giant Conifer Aphid on a Sharpee

Hi again Ms. Muffet,
We finally got around to posting your photo of a Giant Conifer Aphid on a Sharpee.  We always have our photo students use a Sharpee on RC prints, but a nice #2 pencil on Fiber Based paper is best.  Tell me Ms. Muffet, do you think people would want to take a Community College Photo Class with me for $36 a unit?  I am going to explore teaching an online class, but that takes a year to get through curriculum.  LACC could offer a course in Digital Macro Photography of Nature and the best students can have galleries on What’s That Bug.  Though we teach digital photography classes, we do not have an online curriculum developed yet.   I would like your permission to use your photo of a Giant Conifer Aphid found on the yule tree grown in Washington County Maryland in this posting advertising this exciting possibility.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Dear readers, if you think it is a good idea to take an online college credit Photography class with the Bugman, Daniel Marlos, MFA Art Center College of Design 1992 for $108, please leave a comment.  If I can promise 100 students to generate FTES for a struggling campus, I may be able to get permission from the VP of Academic Affairs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  Pismo Beach, California
January 26, 2011
Hello Daniel,
I continue to thoroughly enjoy your site — especially here in central Minnesota in January.
In November, my family and I learned the monarch butterflies west of the Rockies spend their winters in coastal California.  We’ve wanted to visit the sites “our” monarchs use in Mexico, but that’s very expensive and currently too dangerous.  I know yours is not a travel site, but we learned of this place quite by accident, and I’m sure other bug nuts would appreciate learning about Pismo State Beach, and the other sites there.  Perhaps you need to add a “travel section” to WTB.
I could tell you much more about our trip to your state.  Beyond seeing thousands of monarchs, it was very interesting to see how many of the butterflies there are tagged.  We observed four or five different-colored circular tags, and many butterflies marked by coloring in a cell on the rear right wing with a Sharpee marker.  This is done by those keeping track of the number of butterflies using the site (around 20,000).
Anyway, the Pismo site is very accessible to anyone and easy to find.  The butterflies are there from November through February, depending on the weather.
You can learn more at: http://www.monarchbutterfly.org/
Thanks for your continuing excellent work.
Don J. Dinndorf
St. Augusta, MN

Monarch Butterflies Roosting

Hi Don,
Thanks for your wonderful letter.  It is interesting that these Monarchs are roosting in a eucalyptus tree which is not native to California.  Though I have never visited one of the roosting sites, I did have the distinct pleasure of seeing migrating Monarchs roosting in a tree in Roosevelt Park in Youngstown, Ohio as a child.  It was an awesome sight.

Tagged Monarch Roosting with coevals

Hello again, Daniel.  Thanks for your quick reply.
A graduate student studying the Pismo monarchs told us the monarch used to roost in cyprus trees there.  But the pioneers cut those trees down, and planted eucalyptus.  The “new” trees leaves are glossy, and she told us the butterflies have a hard time getting a grip, sometimes falling right off.  The State Park is trying to re-establish some cyprus there.
Interestingly, the grad student also said when they are counting the butterlfies, they have to double their estimate for those clusters on the cyprus, because the monarchs group so much more tightly on their original tree species.
Thanks again.
Don

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  Brazil
January 26, 2011
Thanks for posting my update, but i forgot to tell that the green cicada i attached to the e-mail (the upper pic) is not a Taphura sp, but a Carineta fasciculata. Taphura sp is just the picture below (with the scale).
Thanks again and sorry for that mistake

Cicada

Thanks for the correction Franco.

Hi Bugman! I swear this is the last e-mail i’ll send to you (i know you can’t stand me anymore… lol)!! I just passed to tell you that i finally translated my blog to english, so you and all the people who like cicadas willl be able to read it.
I discovered a new species this month, as soon as i can i’ll post more photos of it on the blog.
Please check it out! The address is still the same
(cigarrasbrasileiras.blogspot.com)
Thank you very much for your patience!!
Best wishes.
Franco

It looks great Franco, but you should also translate the title and opening paragraph.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cool Moth
Location: Acworth, Ga
January 26, 2011 9:02 am
While I was working at a gas station one day in the hot Georgia sun, I found this GIANT moth. Well, I’m sure he’s not quite as big as some others out there, but it was the biggest one I have ever seen myself. Actually, we have an overabundancy of huge bugs at my work, every one of the largest bugs I have ever seen have all been seen there. I started posting them to my facebook photos and someone pointed me to here to have them identified. Is it possible that something in on or around the gas station creates super-bugs, or do huge bugs really just exist and we just typically don’t see them?
Signature: Amazed Giant-bug Enquirer

Rustic Sphinx

Dear Amazed Giant-bug Enquirer,
Your moth is a species of Hawkmoth, the Rustic Sphinx.  Your gas station if attracting insects because of the bright lights.  We don’t know what the surrounding property is like, but often gas stations are near wooded or swampy areas, and that may also explain your insects.  There are many large insects, but they go unnoticed unless they are isolated from their natural surroundings by landing on walls and windows.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Conifer aphid?
Location: Washington County MD, tree farm on mountain
January 25, 2011 12:06 pm
This year we found the prettiest tree we’ve ever dressed up for Yule, a Fraser Fir, at our beloved cut-it-yourself Christmas Tree farm.
By the beginning of January we began to notice what we thought at first were mosquitoes in the house. But they didn’t sting, and after a week or so we discovered hundreds of them, some dead, & some dying or just lethargic, under the tree and all along the window ledges. Finally I did some research and took some photos. I’ve concluded they are aphids, but not sure they are conifer aphids, as their abdomens are not round and shiny, and every last one of them we’ve seen has wings. (I thought they only had 2 wings until I got a look at the silhouette photo on a large screen- they have 4!) They look more like a shot you have of a Giant Willow Aphid, but I think they are smaller (see my shot with the Sharpie for size).
The tree farm has many different species of evergreens, and is bounded by wild hedgerows and forests. This tree came from close to an edge, where there’s a creek.
The tree, BTW, shows zero evidence of damage, and is still drinking water nearly at the end of January, down to about a cup a day. (We like to stretch the season as far as it will go :^)
We are sad the bugs were awakened/born at the wrong time of year to survive, as they are harmless and clearly just want to go outside…but with temps in the teens, that’s a dead end.
Signature: Ms.Muffet

Giant Conifer Aphid

Dear Ms. Muffet,
Thanks for your wonderful letter.  We are rushed this morning and we really wanted to post your letter and photos, but we will have to do research and supporting links at a later time.  First we want to say that a tree is much more than a tree.  It is an ecosystem.  We do not mean to imply that you should not have a living tree for the holidays, especially since Christmas Tree farms help to drive the economy in a positive way, but when a living tree of any kind is cut, more than the tree dies.  Sometimes birds are forced to abandon a nest with fledglings left to die as they are too young to fly.  We are talking about trees in general and not just Christmas Trees.  Homeowners who decide to cut a tree should realize the consequences of their actions.  Developers rarely think of the environment when they destroy native open spaces to make room for hideously ugly housing developments or strip malls.  Swamps are viewed as wastelands instead of the thriving ecosystems that exist because of the natural environment.  Enough.  We step down from the soapbox now.
We will verify that these are Giant Conifer Aphids when we have a moment after work.  Aphids are amazingly complex creatures.   Females are able to reproduce parthenogenically without males, but they only produce genetic clones of themselves in vast quantities, which is why Aphids can be so problematic on cultivated roses and other plants.  The winged forms of Aphids are the sexually reproductive generation.  Often the winged forms are different from the earlier asexual forms.  We hope we have whetted your curiosity and that we have not offended you with our rant in the paragraph above.

Giant Conifer Aphid

Update: We believe your Giant Conifer Aphids in the genus Cinara match this individual on bugGuide rather closely.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your wonderful reply!  I am not at all offended, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a giant soapbox of my own I use for the same subject.  :^)  Our own land is literally a nature sanctuary, on a “wildlife superhighway” that lines a waterway.  I don’t even prune a tree without great care and respect, let alone cut one down, and I fight for dead trees to remain standing too, since they house whole civilizations! We follow the ancient habit of bringing a real tree indoors in winter and keeping lights aglow to keep alive the emotional connection to the sun’s warmth and the web of life it supports, through the dark, cold, seemingly desolate times. We don’t do it casually but with great reverence. I think it’s a northern-climate human instinct as deep as our marrow, and that’s why it endures. For the same reasons, we do all we can to avoid robbing any creature of its life or home in the process. In my 55 years, I’d never seen this phenomenon with an evergreen.  I have indeed learned a lot about aphids in the last few days and am really fascinated and amazed. I will be looking into ways of preventing a repeat of the situation in the future. Once again, many thanks for your tremendous help in appreciating the miracles all around us.
Ms. Muffet

Giant Conifer Aphid on a Sharpee

Hi again Ms. Muffet,
We finally got around to posting your photo of a Giant Conifer Aphid on a Sharpee.  We always have our photo students use a Sharpee on RC prints, but a nice #2 pencil on Fiber Based paper is best.  Tell me Ms. Muffet, do you think people would want to take a Community College PHoto Class with me for $36 a unit?  I am going to explore teaching an online class, but that takes a year to get through curriculum.  LACC could offer a course in Digital Macro Photography of Nature and the best students can have galleries on What’s That Bug.  Though we teach digital photography classes, we do not have an online curriculum developed yet.   I would like your permission to use your photo of a Giant Conifer Aphid found on the yule tree grown in Washington County Maryland.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination