From the yearly archives: "2012"

Subject: What kind of caterpiller is this?
Location: Clearfield County PA
September 4, 2012 10:10 am
We were recently at a family get together in PA (near the DuBois area) and we found this caterpiller crawling on te picnic table. My son wanted to keep it and look it up when we got home to see what kind it was. (A few years ago we had found what turned out to be a polyphemus moth when it was a caterpiller & it spun it’s home over night so we found out how to care for it until it emerged the following spring. Quite a nice way to learn & observe 1st hand.). Have you any idea what this caterpiller will turn out to be since it has also spun it’s home already?
Signature: Curious in Ohio

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Curious in Ohio,
This is the caterpillar of a Black Swallowtail, a lovely, large butterfly with black wings and numerous spots and markings.  For the record, Black Swallowtails do not spin a cocoon.  The caterpillar will spin a silken girdle to support the chrysalis in an upright position, but the chrysalis is otherwise bare.

Thank you so much.  Can you tell me if there is anythign specific we should do to make sure it is well through the chrysalis stage?  Also – when will it emerge?  Thanks!

Ensure it is not too dry nor too damp.  Give it fresh air.  We suspect it will remain in the chrysalis for several weeks.  We found a wonderful page on Joyful Butterfly that should answer all your questions.

Subject: Fat Green Caterpillar with a Black horn and spots
Location: West Columbia, SC
September 9, 2012 1:52 pm
I found this today around a stump, while mowing the grass! I’ve never seen such a thing! People were telling me it sounds like a tomato or a tobacco worm, but it has no stripes like a tomato worm and has spots. What do you think?
Signature: Kaitlyn

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Kaitlyn,
The Tomato and Tobacco Hornworms are in the same family as this Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar, so there are certain similarities.  You have mentioned the differences that can be used to differentiate the Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar from other caterpillars in the family Sphingidae.  Perhaps you have penta growing nearby as that is a preferred food of the Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.  See Sphingidae of the Americas for additional information on the Tersa Sphinx.

Subject: Romantic Bug Love
Location: SLC, UT
September 7, 2012 5:57 pm
Hi Bugman,
Caught these two lovebirds enjoying themselves in my vertical pallet garden. The last picture included is the scene of the crime. Thought you might like this picture for your bug love collection. Enjoy.
Signature: Jules

Mating Mantids

Hi Jules,
Thanks for sending your photo of mating Mantids.  You did not indicate if you purchased Mantis Ootheca to help control insects in your vertical pallet garden.

Vertical Pallet Garden and Mantid Habitat

Hi Daniel,
Sorry my reply is so delayed! Yes, we did buy a mantis nest for our vegetable garden, however there was already an old egg nest (is that what you call it?) on the fence right above the “lovebirds” in the picture I sent you. At least I think that is what it is. I will attach a picture.

Mantis Ootheca

Hi again Jules,
The new photo you sent is indeed a Mantis Ootheca or Egg Case.

Subject: Pregnant Red Moth, Need Help to Identify
Location: Sanford, Florida
September 8, 2012 8:55 pm
This moth attached itself to my car at the gas station in Sanford, Florida today. It rode home with us and my daughter thought it was pretty so we decided to put it in a jar with some air holes in the top. We added some water in a bottle cap and some sections of a clementine broken apart. The moth flapped around for a few and then stopped up against the side of the jar and started laying eggs. Now we are trying to figure out how long before the eggs hatch and how we can best take care of the mother moth to keep her alive. My daughter wants to take her to school for show and tell on Monday, but if the larvae will crawl out of the airholes and into our home, we will probably just let the moth go. Please help so we can make sure to take the best care of mama moth.
Signature: -Chris Pollice

Pink Striped Oakworm Moth

Hi Chris,
This is either a Pink Striped Oakworm Moth,
Anisota virginiensis, or another member of the same genus.  The female will die shortly after laying her eggs.  She does not feed as an adult as she has no functioning mouthparts.  The caterpillars may hatch as soon as a week and they can be fed the leaves of oaks.

Subject: Faithful Beauty Caterpillars in Central Florida
Location: Southeast Central Florida
September 9, 2012 12:48 am
Hi Daniel. This photo of twin Faithful Beauty caterpillars was just so gorgeous I wanted to share. I keep reading how they don’t stray north of Miami much but, these cats were all over devil’s potato plants at the Archie Carr refuge just north of Sebastian inlet. This would be considered south Central Florida on the east coast. A couple of the moths were flitting around, too. My husband and I saw them last year in October and came back this year (Sept.) to get photographs. The moths were too fast for us, but the cats were cooperative, not to mention quite photogenic.
Signature: Elizabeth

Faithful Beauty Caterpillars

Hi Elizabeth,
Thank you so much for sending in your lovely photo of Faithful Beauty Caterpillars.  Perhaps the range of the Faithful Beauty is expanding due to global warming.  Faithful Beauty has to be one of the most cryptic names ever given to a moth.

Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: East-Central PA
September 9, 2012 6:04 am
This many of these bugs are swarming in my vegetable garden.
Signature: Jim’s Bug

Digger Wasp

Hi Jim,
This is a Digger Wasp or Blue Winged Wasp,
Scolia dubia.  Female Digger Wasps prey upon the grubs of Green June Beetles and Japanese Beetles in order to provide food for her brood.  For that reason, Digger Wasps should be considered beneficial and there presence should be tolerated in the garden.  Adult Digger Wasps feed on nectar, and since they are solitary wasps, they are not considered aggressive.  It is possible that one might be stung if an attempt is made to handle a female Digger Wasp.  Male Digger Wasps cannot sting.  For more information, you should see BugGuide.