From the monthly archives: "February 2012"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

snow insect
Location: mt rainier national park, washington state
February 25, 2012 2:20 am
we saw this 6 legged, spiny insect on a snowshoe in mt. rainier national park (washington) late feb 2012. from limited, ignorant research– it looks similar to firefly and lacewing larvae but not exact. wished we would have put something down there to show size-but didn’t- was at least 2 inches long. thanks
Signature: jen

Hellgrammite in the Snow

Dear Jen,
This sure looks to us like a Hellgrammite, the larva of the Dobsonfly.  Interestingly, BugGuide has a photo, also from Washington, that was posted two years ago in February.  That individual is also in the snow and there was speculation about why it was in the snow.

Thank you so much-  very nice to get an answer so quickly.  we were right next to a spring fed beaver pond with numerous geothermal springs/vents.  if that makes any difference with the strange location (snow) of a typical aquatic  bug.
Again- thanks again-

Hi Jen,
Those details might be significant, but it is still interesting that there was another Hellgrammite sighting in Washington in the snow.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

small orange bug
Location: Southern California
February 22, 2012 11:41 am
This guy came off a citrus tree in Southern California and is about 1mm in length. Other specimens from the same tree were greenish brown in color covered with a soot much like a mealy bug. I have this one under a microscope with shots top and bottom.
Signature: R. Japp

Unknown Citrus Bug

Dear R. Japp,
While we do not at this time know what this orange bug is that you found on your citrus tree, we don’t believe it to be a beneficial insect.  We will take a bit more time to research this identification.

Unknown Citrus Bug

Karl poses a possible identification
Hi Daniel and R. Japp:
I am treading into unfamiliar territory here, but to me this looks a lot like an early instar Cottony Cushion Scale (Icerya purchasi). If that is the correct identification, it is considered a serious pest of citrus crops so there is a fair amount of information available on the internet. For example, you could check out this publication from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture, or this one from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Here is a link to another set of photos that look quite similar. Although the topside colors are a little darker in this set, the black legs and antennae are apparently a key diagnostic feature for the species. The origin of this insect seems uncertain, possibly Australia, but it has now become global, living wherever citrus crops are grown. Regards. Karl


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Potential Bed Bug?
Location: Wales, United Kingdom
February 23, 2012 8:33 pm
I just found this little bug idly relaxing on my blanket on my bed, and am just wondering what it is exactly. I’m worried it might be a bed bug, as I’m really not able to afford a professional exterminator right now.
Any help would be appreciated, this is driving me crazy.
Signature: feelingbugged

Human Louse

Dear feelingbugged,
The good news is that this is not a Bed Bug.  The not so good news is that it is another bloodsucker, a Human Louse.  You might want to refer to this excellent fact sheet on Human Lice from Penn State.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Brown and yellow wasp/hornet?
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
February 23, 2012 8:07 pm
Dear Bugman, this creature has me befuddled. I tried looking up ”brown wasp” and found nothing similar – perhaps I gave up too soon? What puzzles me most is the apparent lack of eyes! It greeted me as I was coming home from work today (2/23/2012). It was 70 degrees and humid. Thanks much, and keep up the good work!
Signature: N. Fritz

Beheaded Paper Wasp

Dear N. Fritz,
Your Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes has no eyes because it has been decapitated and the entire head is missing.  Though we are not certain of the species, your individual does look somewhat like the images of Polistes dorsalis that are posted on BugGuide.  The more interesting mystery for us is “What beheaded this Paper Wasp?”  We cannot think of a predator that would want to eat just the head, so we suspect this beheading might be related to a territory battle between colonies.

Dear Daniel,
How interesting!  It had occurred to me that perhaps it was missing a head, so yesterday after I wrote you, I looked at this paper wasp again. Its abdomen was clearly and obviously moving up and down, so I thought it must still be alive.  Can insects live without a head for some time?

Dear N. Fritz,
Cockroaches are reported be be able to live (if it can be called living) for several weeks without a head, though we know of no statistics on Paper Wasps.  See Scientific American for information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Luna Moth sighting.. in February?
Location: Savannah, GA
February 23, 2012 4:21 pm
Awesome site! Quick question. Saw this luna moth on Feb. 19th clinging to the wall in the drive-thru at a Krystal restaurant in Savannah GA. We were just passing through in the way home to Florida so I can’t say if they’re numerous around there or not. Felt kind of bad for the little guy, the wind was gusting like crazy and he was hanging onto the wall for dear life.
I thought that these moths were only seen in fall and summer… how rare is a February encounter? The weather here in the southeast US had been pretty mild this year so did this one just get confused and hatch earlier than he was supposed to?
Sorry for the fuzzy cameraphone pic… all we had handy.
Signature: Mike Whaley

Luna Moth

Hi Mike,
Luna Moth sightings in February from the south are not uncommon, however, this is our first sighting of 2012, which makes us very excited.  As the weather begins to warm in more northern latitudes, the sightings gradually move north as well.  By May, we get reports from Maine and Canada.  In the south, there are two generations of Luna Moths per year, and the moths that emerge early in the season produce caterpillars that pupate over the summer so there a fall emergence as well.  Caterpillars hatching from eggs in the fall would not have a food source in the north, so there is only one generation per year. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug found in Canada
Location: Algonquin Park Canada
February 22, 2012 8:00 pm
We took these pictures of an insect in Algonquin National Park in Canada during mid August last year and have been wondering what it is and if it’s giving birth or something.
Please help
Signature: Chris and Maren

Giant Ichneumon Oviposits

Dear Chris and Maren,
This is a positively gorgeous photo of a Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa depositing her eggs beneath the bark of a dying tree.  Another large member of the order of insects that includes bees and wasps, the Pigeon Horntail, has wood boring larvae that are the host insect to the developing larva of the Giant Ichneumon.  We believe your Giant Ichnuemon is Megarhyssa macrurus.  Though the Giant Ichneumons appear to have incredibly long stingers, sometimes as much as five inches in length, the Giant Ichneumon is perfectly harmless and will not sting.  Giant Ichneumons are sometimes called Stump Stabbers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination