From the monthly archives: "July 2013"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Dino-Sloth-Bug?
Location: Richmond, Virginia
July 28, 2013 5:20 pm
I noticed this bug about two weeks ago–possibly longer. I first took its picture with my phone a week ago today because the bug in question was so distinctive looking, kind of (in my eyes) like a miniature dinosaur–or at least, perhaps, a dinosaur-looking monster from a low budget 1950s sci-fi movie.
I took its picture again today–this time with a real camera–because, like some kind of sloth bug, it hasn’t moved from the same flower for over two weeks. That seems unusual to me.
In the first picture, note the white cocoon-like thing next to the bug.
Thanks for your help.
[This is a second submission; earlier today, the first submission, with larger image files, bogged down. If the first try actually went through and this is a repeat, I apologize for the unintended re-submission.]
Signature: E.W.

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Dear E.W.,
This effective predator is an Ambush Bug in the Assassin Bug subfamily Phymatinae.  It looks like this Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata that is posted on BugGuide.  Ambush Bugs often wait on blossoms to ambush their prey.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Just a Thank You
Website:
July 28, 2013 7:31 pm
I just wanted to send a message to say THANKS for all the hard work on this awesome website!! Thank you for educating so many people about all the great bugs out there too. Enjoy the rest of your summer and THANK YOU AGAIN!!
🙂
Signature: Kara Osborne

Thank you for your kind email Kara.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Queen Bald Face Hornet??
Location: Alstead, NH
July 28, 2013 7:30 pm
Hello…I can’t seem to find a clear picture of the Queen Bald Face Hornet. Is that what this is? Thanks. 🙂
Signature: AnnMarie

Flower Fly

Flower Fly

Hi AnnMarie,
Your photographs are awesome.  Though it resembles a Bald Faced Hornet, this is actually a Flower Fly or Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Count the wings.  Flies have two wings and other winged insects have four wings.  Your Flower Fly is
Spilomyia fusca and according to BugGuide:  “Black with white markings that mimic Baldfaced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata). Second tergite entirely black. Eyes pale, with dark spots and vertical bands. Antennae short, fly-like.”

Flower Fly

Flower Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ground nesting hornet
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
July 28, 2013 11:34 am
My brother has an infestation of these in his yard. They make dirt pile nests in the ground similar to cicada killers, but these are something else. They’re quite large, about 2 1/2 inches long. They appear to be docile as they have not stung anyone. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Jen & Doug

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear Jen & Doug,
This is a Cicada Killer, a large wasp that preys upon Cicadas to feed its brood.  They are solitary wasps and they are not considered aggressive, and as your email indicates, they “appear to be docile.”  For years we have said that we have not received a verified report of a Cicada Killer sting, but we recently posted a comment claiming that a person was stung and the sting was quite painful.  Male Cicada Killers will defend their territory by chasing much larger creatures, however male wasps are unable to sting since the stinger is a modified ovipositor, an organ for laying eggs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: swelling and itching bug bite
Location: Lake County, CA (hot summers)
July 28, 2013 11:23 am
Hi Bugman, A couple months ago various parts of my body–first my forearm, then a few days later my knee, then forehead, then lower arm, suddenly became very very hot, red and swollen, and itchy. The area of redness was 2-3 inches in diameter, though the swelling spread even further and even became somewhat of a pitting edema. In the knee it was so swollen it became hard to bend. In the arm, the swelling extended from the elbow to halfway down my forearm. These symptoms lasted 4-6 days usually, then resolved. I suspected a bug bite of some kind because of how localized they were and how suddenly they came on. Also I live in the country where bugs abound and often get into the house. I live in a rural area of typical Northern California grassy hillside with some oak and pine trees, with hot summers and a fair number of below freezing winter nights. When I searched my bed, I found two of the bugs pictured…What’s the bug, and do you think it was th e culprit that caused these symptoms? And could it cause any long term consequences (like ticks which cause Lymes Disease). One clarification of the picture…the back end of the bug has a drop of water on it, which makes it appear more shiny than it really is.
Thanks for any help.
Signature: Bugbitten

Dear Bugman-
I just submitted an id request. I forgot to say the bug is about 3/4 inches long.
Thanks,

Western Conenose Bug

Western Conenose Bug

Dear Bugbitter,
This sure looks like a Western Conenose Bug,
Triatoma protracta, to us, in which case it could not only be responsible for the bites, but also some long term consequences, namely Chagas Disease.  According to BugGuide, Conenose Bugs are:  “Hematophagous, feeding on blood from tetrapods. Most common hosts are mammalian but avian, reptilian and amphibian hosts are recorded. The most common wild hosts are wood rats (Neotoma) but other common ones include armadillos, opossums and raccoons (possibly also skunks); synanthropic species may feed on livestock (horses, cattle, chickens), pets and humans.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Bite can cause severe allergic reaction in many humans. Bite and defecation into bite can transmit Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan. The most notorious vector is T. infestans, found in South America. The North American species are not normally thought to transmit the disease, though they can carry the parasite. (The North American species do not normally defecate at the site of the bite, which is what actually transmits the parasite–see Kissing bugs (Triatoma) and the skin. The CDC site says that rare vector-borne cases of Chagas disease have been noted in the so. US.”   See BugGuide for a photo of a Western Conenose Bug.  We would urge you to seek a second opinion on our identification and we would also urge you to seek some medical attention.  Though we doubt that you have contracted Chagas Disease, it is possible, and at any rate, it seems you have had a severe negative reaction to the bites.

Daniel,
Thanks so much for your quick response and immensely helpful information.  It sure does look like the Western Conenose pictured on BugGuide.  These incidents happened about 2 months ago (and also previously a couple years ago).  I still have the dead bug in a jar.  I’m thinking I should hang onto it for ID purposes or if there is any kind of test to do on the bug to test for the parasite.  Do you have a suggestion as to (1) who I might bring it to for second opinion on ID, and also (2) is there some way I should preserve it in the meantime?  Although it sounds like it’s rare to get Chagas disease in North America, I will still get it checked out medically.  Do you have any suggestions as to doctors who are knowledgeable about insect mediated diseases?  I don’t know that a general practitioner would know or adequately follow up.  Interestingly, when this happened a couple of years ago, I also found these same bugs on the wall behind my bed, took a picture of them and brought it to my doctor.  However, concurrently, I was suffering from hives, and so once that was diagnosed, nobody thought any more about the bugs and that they might be the cause of anything.  Both this time and two years ago, the swelling and itching went away in a few days for most of the bites, although this time, the bite on the forearm still continued to itch for weeks afterward, which somewhat concerns me.
Thank you so much for your help.
Deborah

Hi Deborah,
This is kind of out of our league.  You can try BugGuide for a second opinion on the identification, or better yet, your local natural history museum if they have an entomology department.  You should consult with your family physician regarding any tests for Chagas Disease.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What bug is it?
Location: Valera,Tx
July 27, 2013 8:09 am
Hi, a friend of mine found this insect at her house in central Texas. We think it is a katydid. What do you think?
Signature: Curious

Red Eyed Devil

Red Eyed Devil

Dear Curious,
You are correct that this is a Katydid.  It is a Greater Arid-Land Katydid,
Neobarrettia spinosa, also commonly called a Red Eyed Devil.  While most Katydids are docile plant eaters, the Red Eyed Devil is described on BugGuide as being “Voraciously omnivorous!” as it is also a predatory species.  These Food Chain images from our own archive can attest to that.  BugGuide also notes:  “When approached, may rear up in a formidable display.  If handled carelessly, may bite and draw blood.”  The spike at the end of the abdomen is the ovipositor, indicating that this is a female.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination