From the monthly archives: "December 2014"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: large shiny black fly
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
December 22, 2014 10:42 pm
This fly is larger than a large housefly and is conspicuously hairless compared to a housefly. It is jet black and has interesting colored patches on its wings.
Signature: Dirk

Mexican Cactus Fly

Mexican Cactus Fly

Dear Dirk,
This is a wonderful image of an impressive fly in the family Syrphidae, commonly called a Mexican Cactus Fly,
Copestylum mexicanum.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on rotting cactus” and adults are frequently seen visiting flowers. 

Thank you, Daniel!  It somehow makes a big difference to the enjoyment of an image to know who the subject is.  Dirk

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is it?
Location: Sydney
December 23, 2014 5:09 am
Hoping you can identify.
Found on a cruise ship that had travelled from Brisbane in Queensland, prior to this in South Pacific Islands. Nov 28th this yr.
Thanks for your efforts!
Signature: Zeb

Checkered Beetle

Checkered Beetle

Dear Zeb,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain of the species.  There are several similar looking individuals on the Insects of Brisbane website as well as on the Cleridae of Australia site where an image of
Trogodendron fasciculatum looks like a very close match.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant lovely emerald katydid?
Location: Noumea, New Caledonia
December 23, 2014 6:50 am
Hi guys! I found this katydid(?) in a parking lot in New Caledonia in ~February 2013. It had been flattened by cars but was still impressively large and green. Friends there called it a coconut cricket. Any idea what it is?
Thanks!
Signature: Lela

Roadkill:  Katydid found in street

Roadkill: Katydid found in street

Dear Lela,
In 2010, we posted what appears to be the same species of Katydid from New Caledonia, and that individual was also dead, killed by a Gecko.  At that time, Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki identified it as a large endemic species,
Pseudophyllanax imperialis, commonly called a Coconut Grasshopper.  You may read more (in French) about Pseudophyllanax imperialis on the Endemia.NC website.

Hi Daniel, thank you so very much for the response. I had seen that individual on your site but didn’t think it was the same thing – clearly my bug ID skills need work 😉 Thanks again and have a lovely holiday!
Lela

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Love Webspinners (the saga continues)
Location:  Henderson, Nevada
December 21, 2014
Hi Daniel,
Sorry this is so long but I have an update on my Webspinner Dynasty ;-).
I had to create a Family Tree to keep them all straight.  The tree goes as follows:
1.  Wilma 12/20/12 – the bravest and least skittish.  Wilma tunneled out from the toilet base and often stood up at the end of the tunnel looking for a male.  I still don’t know how she came to be in my bathroom to begin with, though we did discover a hole in the exterior of the house on the porch that matched the area of the toilet.
2.  Wanda 7/1/2013 – Wilma’s daughter created through asexual reproduction.  Wanda was skittish and would stay only in the grout space I called the “front yard”.
3.  Wendy 9/1/2013 – Wanda’s daughter created through asexual reproduction.  Wendy was also skittish but would peek over the grout wall of the “front yard”.
4.  Wynona 11/21/2013 – the adventurer/explorer.  Wynona was Wendy’s daughter created through asexual reproduction.  Wynona was awesome to observe.  She built and almost connected a tunnel completely around the outside of the base of the toilet.  She also started a tunnel up the front of the toilet a couple of inches.  She nearly connected the “front yard” to the other grout space area I called” the backyard”.  Wynona was all over the place.

Wynona the Webspinner

Wynona the Webspinner

5.  Wylie 3/13/2014 – I saved Wylie from a water-dish on the back porch.  He would have drowned but revived after I saved him with my finger.  I wasn’t sure if he would find Wynona but I placed him at the opening of the tunnel going up the front of the toilet and to my surprise he immediately twisted himself around to go down the tunnel.
6.  Walt – another male webspinner saved from the water-dish on the back porch.  I introduced him to Wynona’s front yard where he immediately disappeared under the linoleum.
7.  Winnie 4/4/14 – Winnie was skittish and possibly the daughter of Wylie or Walt and Wynona.
8.  Willie – another male webspinner rescued from the water-dish that disappeared under the toilet through the front yard grout area.

On 4/19/14 I had to call in a plumber to replace the wax ring on the toilet and I was worried about Winnie, Willie and any possible off-spring.  When the plumber picked up the toilet – I told him to not harm any bugs found underneath.  (I don’t know what he thought was under there but he jumped back after he pulled up the toilet – LOL!)  I did see Winnie hiding against the grout wall of the linoleum and then she went under the linoleum before I could catch her.   If bugs can be surprised she certainly seemed surprised.  A few days later, Winnie appeared.
On 7/2/14 I saw a Spider Intruder.  A couple of times over the last year and a half, different  black house spiders would find their way to the web-tunnels around the toilet.  I worried that the spiders  would eat the webspinners so I would catch them to put them outside.  The last one got away under the toilet so my husband sealed the hole on the porch and I waited for several days before seeing a webspinner alive and well.
9 & 10.  TWINS:  Wilfred & Willard – 7/21/14.  Until the twins made an appearance, I had never seen 2 webspinners at one time.  I believe the twins were Winnie and Willie’s offspring.  I was fairly sure they were males because they made appearances as immature light brown webspinners.  The females only showed themselves as black adults, no doubt looking for mates.  Also, the young webspinners could turn around in the web tunnels which is a male behavior and which females never do.

Webspinner Twins:  Wilfred and Willard

Webspinner Twins: Wilfred and Willard

11.  ACTUALLY TRIPLETS!!:  Enter Wilbert.  Another immature male webspinner.
13.  Wilda – Not sure if Wilda started out as a male and then became a female or if she was a 4th offspring of Winnie and Willie.   Wilda always stayed around the back-yard grout area.
14.  Wally – 7/12/14 rescued Wally from the water-dish and put him in the back-yard grout area where he disappeared looking for Wilda.
15.  Waldo – 7/19/14 offspring of Wally and Wilda.  Another light brown immature male.  Waldo was ready to fly on 8/15/14 so I caught him and released him outside.
16.  Wilbur – 8/13/14 offspring of Wally and Wilda.  Wilbur also stayed in the backyard grout area.  Wilbur was ready to fly by 9/16/14 so I caught him and released him on the rose bush in the front yard.
Apparently, Wilbur was the last of the dynasty.   I can’t believe how much I miss them.  I’m working on a webspinner children’s book which may help children to realize the value of a bug.  The webspinners were with me from 12/20/12 until 9/16/14 – almost 2 years!!  I’ve learned that it is possible to get attached to specific insects and that they have their own unique personalities and habits.
Thought you’d like to know ;-).  I’m attaching a few pictures (this time 😉 ):
1.  Wynona building the tunnel up the front of the toilet.
2.  The “twins in tandem” in Wynona’s web that goes around the base of the toilet.
3.  Waldo saying “goodbye” as I released him outside.
Always,
Kathi

Waldo the Webspinner

Waldo the Webspinner

Hi there Kathi,
Thanks so much for your wonderful update on your Webspinner dynasty.  Good luck with your book.  As with your previous Love Webspinners submission, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: ID help
Location: Arlington, TX
December 21, 2014 3:32 pm
Small insect about 3mm in length. Bit my arm and was painful but did not leave a welt. Found a second I my pant leg. Possibly picked up walking thru a leafy yard.
Signature: Lindsay

Lacewing Larva

Lacewing Larva

Dear Lindsay,
This is the larva of a Lacewing, commonly called an Aphid Wolf.  Both adult and larval Lacewings eat large quantities of small insects, including agricultural pests like Aphids, and they are considered beneficial.  Though Lacewing larvae occasionally bite humans, the bite produces no lasting effects, though itching and swelling may persist for several days.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: These guys fell out of my hair
Location: Caledon, Ontario, Canada
December 21, 2014 9:54 am
Hello there, I have spent all morning scouring the internet to no avail.
What do you think these guys are, they fell out of my hair easily this morning. I have been renovating the basement, and sticking my head up into the cobwebs in the ceiling, but we also have a six-month old boy, a dog, cat and two horses. The closest I cam was a spider beetle, but those posterior black stubs are throwing me off. Just want to make sure that they are not ticks or bed bugs.
The body/thorax is around 2 mm long, and both images are the same scale.
Signature: CP

Aphid

Aphid

Dear CP,
This is an Aphid, a common pest on many cultivated and wild plants.  Do you have a live Christmas tree in the house?  Living trees brought indoors often carry unwelcome insect visitors, and Aphids coming indoors on Christmas trees are seasonal holiday sightings for our site.

Hi Daniel, thank you so much for the quick response! About 30 mins after I sent you the message, I realized that I had moved a house plant into another room…an OLEANDER…so guess what I looked up next! Big sigh of relief! The plant was covered in them!
Great site, you are one of a kind and thank you so much for the help!

Thanks for that update CP.  We did not think this looked like a Giant Conifer Aphid.  Oleander Aphids are generally yellow in color.

It wasn’t until I looked up the milkweed/oleander aphid that I realized it was a juvenile. Amazing little creatures; what would be your theory on how they ended up in my house, in the middle of winter, a thousand kilometers north of the natural range of oleander plants?
I suppose that phenomenon is similar to when the red Asiatic lily beetles appear in mid-summer to munch on – you guessed it – my Asiatic lilies.
The life of a human is so busy and hectic these days, those little natural details just get swept away in the madness…almost impossible to spot with the untrained eye.
Good to know there are still people out there who care about the heaviest portion of the world’s total biomass.
Colin

Hello again Colin,
The Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid,
Aphis nerii, feeds on plants other than oleander and milkweed that contain milky sap.  Our own potted Hoya plants are prone to infestations, especially on the new growth.  People who live in areas with freezing winter climates often grow semitropical plants like your own oleander, and they are frequently taken outdoors during the warm summer months when they might become host to a single female Aphid that will reproduce indoors under favorable conditions.  According to BugGuide, the range of the Oleander Aphid included Maine, and though there are no Canadian reports, we can assure you that insects do not respect international borders.  It is also possible that a recently acquired plant was purchased with a preexisting population of Aphids that initially escaped notice, but eventually multiplied.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination