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

smokey mountain bug ??
Location: East Tennessee, Smokey Mountains
March 25, 2012 2:36 pm
Found this bug hanging out on a budding tree March 25, 2012 in the Great Smokey Mnts. What do you think it is ??
Signature: Shawn Ricker

Eyed Elater

Dear Shawn,
This magnificent Click Beetle is called the Eyed Elater because of the markings on its thorax that resemble the eyes of a march larger creature, which helps to protect the beetle from being eaten.  Like other members of its family, if the Eyed Elater finds itself on its back, it snaps its body against the ground, producing a clicking sound and propelling its body into the air, allowing it to land on its feet.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

The Amazing Replicating Moth?
Location: Washington DC
March 24, 2012 8:45 am
Dear WTB,
So, this particular creature population has been living with us for quite some time- since last summer. At first, they were not much of a problem and we didn’t mind coexisting (especially considering our battle at the time with fungus moths in our plants- ARG!) Anyway, things have gotten way out of control with these little moth-like bugs. Hundreds populate our home on a daily basis. Regardless of whether I decide to kill a bunch or not, they do not seem to live very long to begin with, but always return in greater numbers. I am hesitant to call the exterminator because they charge such ridiculous rates just for a basic assessment. In my searching on the internet, people insist that they are cupboard moths, but they don’t look like them and do not reside in our cupboards at all. They can be found all over the windows, wall and by lights. Our neighbors don’t seem to have them. Do you have any pointers for helping me to understand what they are, how to find the source and take care of them? Thanks.
Signature: Travis

Bathroom Fly

Hi Travis,
The Bathroom Fly is a common household pest that belongs to the family of Moth Flies, hence your confusion as to its identity.  Indoors Bathroom Flies breed in the sludge that accumulates in drains, and that is where the larvae can be found.  Exterminating the adults will not help with your problem.  You need to get to the larvae.  Pouring chlorine bleach down the drains once a week may help.

You are nothing short of amazing! Thank you sooooo much. I will give your idea a shot and let you know of our progress.  My only question is whether is is more likely that the moths are coming from a drain outside or are they originating from indoor clogged drains? If outside, I am at a loss.  However, they seem to be outside the house often enough. More often inside though, I must admit.  Thanks for your thoughts. Bleach in the drains tomorrow and we’ll see.
Thanks, Travis

Chlorine bleach?!
March 27, 2012 7:39 am
Advocating the use of chlorine bleach is to my mind akin to Unneccesary Carnage of the environment.  Chlorine is bad stuff.  I wonder if there are less harmful ways to deal with Bathroom Flies? Thanks, Dave Fallow
Signature: Dave Fallow

Thanks Dave,
Many products that we use on a daily basis, including ones to clean our homes, its furnishings and even ourselves, are harmful to the environment, and moderation in our habits is about the best that we can hope to do at this point since so much damage has already been done to this fragile planet.  Perhaps a better response would have been that the Bathroom Flies, though a nuisance, are basically harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What the hell is this??
Location: Safford, Arizona
March 24, 2012 4:25 pm
Please help… It looks beetle-ish like and grasshopper-ish like.
There are swarms of them… And caught this one on a concrete block. Took this photo back in October.
Again, these things are nasty!
Signature: Brittney Ivie

Horse Lubber

Hi Brittney,
The Horse Lubber,
Taeniopoda eques, is a species of Grasshopper found in the arid southwest.  According to BugGuide:  “The bright lines on the head make it look from the side like a horse’s head with a bridle, and the overall effect is reminiscent of the armor, harness and other equipment on a medieval knight’s horse- which probably explains both the common and scientific names.” 

A Reader Comments
March 27, 2012 5:11 pm
Hi, As an educator,I have been a long time user of this website. I enjoy looking at the information myself as well as sharing this website with my students. Today I opened up the website and the first thing my students saw was a post with the following narrative, ”What the hell is this?” Seeing such language puts my use of this website in a school setting at risk. I would appreciate it if in the future you could edit inappropriate language in posts before putting them on your website.
Thank you.
Signature: Lynn Wisniewski

Automated Response:
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

I certainly do appreciate your quick response and hope that your are able to address the use of inappropriate language in posts. I don’t know if your resources allow you the opportunity to edit before putting narratives on the website.  Perhaps you could put a disclaimer at the top of the submission part of the website asking for appropriate language as children and other viewers may be offended by foul language.
Your website is awesome and my daughter who is thinking about getting her graduate degree in entymology particularly enjoys it.  Keep up the great work!

Thanks for your concern Lynn,
We realize that there are many young visitors to our site, and for that reason we are very careful about the use of profanity.  We do not generally edit the letters we receive and we also refrain from correcting grammar and spelling in the letters we post.  While the language you cited is definitely crass, we take even more offense to Brittney referring to the Horse Lubber as “nasty”.  Rest assured that we do monitor the content of the website, but there is always going to be someone that finds something we post offensive.  There is far more graphic, crass and offensive language on television.  We will try to be more mindful in the future.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big Psychedelic Beetle
Location: Indian Land, South Carolina
March 23, 2012 9:32 pm
I saw this very large beetle scurrying about on the sidewalk in a parking lot in Indian Land, South Carolina (just south of Charlotte NC) today. Iridescent shell, the head was blue – and he was very lightweight – I scooped him up to try to snap a photo that would give a better perspective of his size, but he was a surprisingly fast crawler. Definitely not a denizen of a damp forest muck. Two photos attached – one is simply a zoom of the original. This one’s got me stumped.
Signature: Chris

Fiery Searcher

Hi Chris,
This beautiful beetle is one of the Caterpillar Hunters in the genus
Calosoma.  It is Calosoma scrutator, and it is commonly called the Fiery Searcher.  Both adults and larvae are ravenous feeders that eat caterpillars.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Thanks VERY much!  I spent about half an hour trying to ID it myself before submitting the query.  Really appreciate the help!
All the best,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Jumping Spider

March 24, 2012
Location:  Elyria Canyon Park, Los Angeles, California
The Mt Washington Beautification Committee were thrilled to find this lovely female Jumping Spider,
Phidippus johnsoni, while attempting to remove invasive milk thistle from Elyria Canyon Park.  There was a large stand of the thistle on the dirt road leading to the red barn, and while digging the weeds, this bright red spider could not be missed.  Thanks to volunteer Sean Gilleran who grabbed the camera while Daniel held the active arachnid, we are able to post these awesome images.  According to BugGuide,  the Johnson Jumper is “Mostly black with a red abdomen. The male’s abdomen is entirely red, whereas the female’s abdomen has a black mark down the center.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Not harmful to humans, although like all spiders it will inflict a painful bite if provoked, and this species is reported to be more aggressive than other jumpers”, though Daniel is happy to report he was not bitten.  This robust specimen was over a half an inch in length.

Johnson Jumper

More information on the Johnson Jumper can be found on this excellent article by Robert R. Jackson from American Arachnology online.

Johnson Jumper


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you identify this brown caterpillar
Location: South Texas
March 22, 2012 3:28 pm
We found this caterpillar on the side of our house. We have serched the internet and we can’t seem to find it.
Signature: -MaKenna

Underwing Caterpillar

Dear MaKenna,
We believe this is the caterpillar of an Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala.  It looks very close to this image posted on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination