From the monthly archives: "July 2015"

Subject: apple tree infestation
Location: Guildford Surrey
June 28, 2015 10:38 am
Hi, I found lots of these climbing on my apple tree. There was also a type of white fungus around which some of them congregated – this possibly contains eggs?
I don’t know if they are bad for the tree or not. They measure approx. 1cm, but some are slightly smaller. They have 6 legs but the back part of their body looks like a caterpillar.
I hope you can help.
Signature: Barbara

Lady Beetle Larvae eat Hemipterans

Lady Beetle Larvae eat Hemipterans

Dear Barbara,
While there is a pest problem on your apple tree, nature seems to be controlling the situation.  What you have mistaken for fungus or eggs is actually a type of Hemipteran, possibly a Woolly Aphid which you can read about on the Royal Horticultural Society site.  The crawling insects are the larvae of Lady Beetles, and they are feeding on the Hemipterans.   The bad news here is that the Lady Beetle Larva is an Asian Lady Beetle Larva, a nonnative species, and it is believed that the proliferation of nonnative Asian Lady Beetles in North America is contributing to the decline in numbers of native species.

Lady Beetle Larva

Lady Beetle Larva

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the information – so it is good news and bad news!
Since posting, many of the larva have now attached their back ends to the tree bark and are hanging upside down, obviously in preparation for their next stage of development.  Also, there is now very little evidence of the ‘white fluff’ so they have probably done their job.  Unfortunately, many of the leaves on the tree are not looking very healthy but I am loathe to spray anything and just let nature take its course so I can review the tree in the autumn (it is past its prime anyway).
Thank you again for your help.
Regards
Barbara

Subject: Stumped by a fly
Location: andover township, nj
July 1, 2015 5:17 am
Hi Daniel,
I found this very interesting fly in my garden yesterday and I have been completely unsuccessful in finding an ID for it. Hoping you can help. One thing that was interesting was that it had a thick line of “feathering” on its hind leg. I’ve cropped these photos so that you can see the detail.
Hope you can help!
Signature: Deborah

Feather Legged Fly

Feather Legged Fly

Hi Deborah,
Your Feather Legged Fly has some noticeable differences when compared to the images on BugGuide of
Trichopoda pennipes, but we are still relatively confident in that as the identification.  The BugGuide description is:  “Bright orange abdomen, velvety black head and thorax, and a fringe of short black hairs on the hind legs. Male: ferrugineous spot in the wing, abdomen dark orange at apex; female: wing evenly dusky, abdominal tip black.”  The biggest difference is the black abdomen on your individual, which just may be an example of variation within the species.  Your side view clearly shows the feathered hind legs.  This Feather Legged Fly is an important biological control agent, and BugGuide lists the hosts as:  “various pentatomorph bugs (Coreidae, Largidae, Pentatomidae, Scutelleridae) …  Anasa tristis is an important common host.” 

Feather Legged Fly

Feather Legged Fly

Udate:  In looking through our own archives, this might be Trichopoda lanipes.

Thank you, Daniel!  That does look like my fly!  As always, I appreciate your assistance.
Debbi

Feather Legged Fly

Feather Legged Fly

Subject: Giant “bee”?
Location: Westwood MA 02090
June 30, 2015 7:25 pm
Found this rather Docile, Giant bee like bug today at my camp and could not identify.
About the length of my index finger (3″).
Much larger than a carpenter bee and someone thought it could be an invasive Asian Resin bee, but all pics look again, too small.
Both pics are the same bug.
Help!!
And thanks!
Signature: James R

Bee-Like Robber Fly

Bee-Like Robber Fly

Dear James,
Your confusion is understandable.  This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus
Laphria, most likely either Laphria virginica or Laphria flavicollis.  Of Laphria virginica, BugGuide states:  “Easy to confuse with L. flavicollis. The main gestalt things to look for are the hairiness of the black abdomen, very fuzzy in virginica but somewhat glossy in flavicollis. The golden hair on the top of the thorax looks more swept back and finely constructed in flavicollis. And in virginica, the legs have a reddish brown tone to the fuzz in good light.”