From the monthly archives: "September 2012"

Subject: Butterfly
Location: San Marcos, CA
September 27, 2012 1:28 am
These seem to come around every spring and I always enjoy them especially when they visit my Bouganvilla or, in this case, my Pride of Madeira. I’m assuming some kind of swallowtail?
Signature: redfive

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Dear redfive,
This is a Western Tiger Swallowtail.  We spent several days this summer trying to photograph the Western Tiger Swallowtails that flit about our garden but never seem to land.  Then we put out a call for images of Western Tiger Swallowtails and then we made Tiger Swallowtails the Bug of the Month for September, so you letter and identification request are quite timely.

Subject: Need help with caterpillar
Location: Northwest Oregon
September 25, 2012 11:18 pm
Hi there,
I am a photographer and I would like to know what kind of caterpillar I photographed.
It is about 2 inches long and is a little hairy. I attached a picture to help you figure out what it is.
Best regards,
Signature: S.D.

American Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Hi S.D.
In our opinion, this is the caterpillar of the American Lappet Moth,
Phyllodesma americana.  You may read about the American Lappet Moth Caterpillar on BugGuide where it states:  “Caterpillars feed on leaves of alder, birch, oak, poplar, willow, snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus), chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), and members of the rose family; larvae rest longitudinally along a twig during the day, and feed at night” 

Subject: Box Elder Bug Aggregation?
Location: Lake County, IL
September 25, 2012 1:03 pm
Thank you for this great site!
Recently, I found piles, and individuals, of these red and black bugs on a trail around the Volo Bog (IL).
They were most often seen en masse on bird/animal droppings.
Signature: LSchiele

Eastern Boxelder Bugs

Dear LSchiel,
Though we have no dearth of new postings of Eastern Boxelder Bugs on our website at the moment, we are fascinated by your report that you found them feeding on bird and animal droppings.  They were most likely extracting fluids since they have mouths designed for sucking.  Your photograph includes a seed that appears to be a maple “helicopter” and that would indicate that the typical food of the Eastern Boxelder Bug is present in Volo Bog.

Subject: What kind of bug is this
Location: Iceland
September 26, 2012 8:27 am
Dear bugman,
We recently encountered this bug in Iceland, never seen anything like this before.
Can you please advise whether this is something you have information about.
Signature: Haukur Þór

Large Yellow Underwing

Dear Haukur Þór,
We don’t get many identification requests from Iceland.  This moth is known as the Large Yellow Underwing, and its caterpillar is called the Winter Cutworm.  It is native to Europe, including Iceland.  The species was accidentally introduced into North America where it has become an Invasive Exotic species.  You can read more about it on BugGuide and on the Michigan State University website.

Subject: Infestation
Location: Catskill MOuntain – Ulster County, NY
September 26, 2012 4:22 am
These are gathering all over my house – inside and outside. Just checked the guest room and they look like a wallpaper pattern on the wall – is this like the ladybug’s attraction my house – something about pheromones or something? Thanks – I’m a fly fisherman and have book marked your site.
Signature: Marc Silag

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Hi Marc,
This is a Western Conifer Seed Bug,
Leptoglossus occidentalis.  Since the 1960s, they have greatly expanded their range from the Pacific Northwest to include much North America in the northern latitudes.  They have also spread to Europe.  Western Conifer Seed Bugs will enter homes to hibernate when the weather cools.

October 18, 2012
If I never expressed my thanks to you for helping the ID of those Western Conifer Seed bugs in my house, I do so now.
Much easier to handle a household pest once you know what they can and cannot do.

Thanks so much for writing back Marc.  We had a tough day and your kindness is much appreciated at this point.

Subject: gaahhh. a strange bug
Location: Portland Oregon
September 25, 2012 11:10 pm
hi there bugman. we found this bug on our concrete patio behind our house.
It’s about 1 1/2” long and quite peculiar to us.
We found him (er.. her?!) just after dark in Portland Oregon on Sept 24th.
Joey, as my daughter calls him, hasn’t stung anyone, but seems to have a nice set on his backside.
He’s now residing comfortably, perhaps, under a glass jar.
We’d love to hear your thoughts!
~tom and Lucy
Signature: Bugman Extroadinaire!

Devil’s Coach Horse

Dear tom and Lucy,
Joey is a Devil’s Coach Horse, a species of Rove Beetle that is native to Europe, but established in North America prior to 1930.  It is a harmless beetle that uses a defensive threat posture of curling its abdomen over its head.