From the monthly archives: "January 2016"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Strange delicate bugs in my kitchen.
Location:  El Sereno, Los Angeles, California
January 29, 2016
should I just let them live in the kitchen? or try to catch them and put them outside?
Christina

Mantid Hatchling

Mantid Hatchling

Cool Christina,
This is a hatchling Preying Mantid.  It should definitely go outside.  It will stalk prey in the garden.

Mantid Hatchling

Mantid Hatchling

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Whats that bug?
Location: Israel
January 29, 2016 9:39 am
Hi,
Can you help me identify this one?
You might have to zoom in the photo, but that’s the best I’ve got.
Hope you can help!
Thanks,
Signature: NZ

Fruit Chafer

Fruit Chafer

Dear NZ,
Luckily there is a relatively robust network of folks in Israel who are interested in insects.  We learned the identity of your Fruit Chafer,
Tropinota vittula, thanks to the Scarabs of the Levant site where it states:  “The Cetoniinae are popularly called fruit and flower chafers, flower beetles and flower scarabs. Many species are diurnal and visit flowers for pollen and nectar, or to browse on the petals. Some species also take fruit few are termitophil.”   There are additional images on Israel’s Nature Site, but alas, we do not read Hebrew.  There are also images on Al’s Photo Page and a scholarly article entitled Tropinota vittula is a Good Species may provide you with additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug
Location: Singapore
January 28, 2016 8:46 pm
Tail was able to arch forward. Did not seem to be able to fly despite the presence of wings.
Signature: Bob

Thrips

Thrips

Dear Bob,
This tiny insect is known as a Thrips, and that term is used in both the singular and the plural  This older posting on our site with images of Thrips from Thailand look very similar and the best we can do in terms of classification is family Phlaeothripidae, and there are some very similar looking images on Featured Creatures.

Thrips

Thrips

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Australian Inquiry
Location: Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia
January 28, 2016 7:43 pm
Hello Bugman!
Im writing to you from Australia, the East Coast NSW. I have found this nest on my fathers property and its got us all puzzled. (Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing to you for help!)
Its a group of small nests/cocoons (?) suspended in an olive tree. you can see by the photo that there are seven sub-dwellings dangling down, each approximately 5-7cm (2-3″) and what you can’t quite see from the picture is that there is a egg/sphere-shaped object tucked up in the mass of leaves that are all swathed in that goldy-orange web. there has been no movement noticed to or from the nests, but over the 4 weeks we have noticed that a pinprick hole appeared overnight in only one of the seven nests top…(perhaps a visiting parasite, it didn’t look like an obvious entry/exit hole for the resident in question.) Other details are the 7 nests are hollow/hard paper sounding constructions. the web has carcasses of beetles and flies stranded in it – seemingly in a certain area above which indicates they have been eaten by a resident… thats about all the information I have… I do hope you can help out, curiosity is peaked as we wait and watch!
Signature: Kind Regards, Naomi Drage

Egg Sacs of the Magnificent Spider

Egg Sacs of the Magnificent Spider

Dear Naomi,
We are really enjoying researching your request.  Our initial impression that these resembled the Egg Sacs of Orbweaver Spiders proved to be correct when we discovered the Australian Museum page on the Magnificent Spider,
Ordgarius magnificus.  According to the Australian Museum site:  “Very little is known about the courtship and mating of Magnificent Spiders, but once egg development starts, the female’s abdomen swells up quite remarkably. She constructs a series of spindle-shaped egg sacs over several nights, and each one is filled with about 600 eggs. The egg sacs are attached to a branch, and may number up to seven. They are often parasitised by wasps and flies.  The mother spider usually dies off over winter. The baby spiders emerge in late winter to early spring and disperse by ballooning.”  The site also notes:  “During the day, the Magnificent Spider hides in a retreat made by binding leaves together with silk. Preferred trees include natives such as eucalypts in dry or wet sclerophyll forests, but these spiders are also found in suburban gardens. Often the spider’s characteristic spindle-shaped egg sacs are hanging near the retreat.”  The retreat is evident in the upper right hand corner of your excellent image.  Butterfly House also has some wonderful images and notes:  “These spiders are quite amazing. They catch their prey by creating a line of silk with a sticky blob on the end, then swinging it round and round. They emit the pheromones of some female moths to attract the male moths within range of their bolas, catching the moths rather like the Incas hunted game and the gauchos of Argentina catch their cattle.”  The Find a Spider Guide has a marvelous image of the Magnificent Spider and notes:  “The two yellow cones and red marbling on the dorsal surface of the abdomen of this spider are distinctive. Also very useful for identification purposes are the egg sacs. These are very large (about 5 cm long) and spindle-shaped, and hang in groups of about five.”  Your especially fecund female has produced seven egg sacs.  Thanks so much for providing our site with this wonderful posting for our archives.  Perhaps you will be able to get an image of the Spider herself.  She is undoubtedly the “egg/sphere-shaped object tucked up in the mass of leaves that are all swathed in that goldy-orange web” you mentioned.  The information provided on Arachne.Org may help you get that image which may require a flash on your camera.  Here is that information:  “These spiders are active at night, with a simple web in trees or tall shrubs, rarely less than 2 metres above the ground. Their presence is usually indicated by a cluster of large, brown egg sacs hanging among foliage. The egg sacs are conspicuous, up to 5 cm long – many are targeted by flies and wasps that parasitise spiders’ eggs. Up to 9 sacs may be made by a spider in a season, each with several hundred eggs. The male spiders mature within the egg sac, emerging with fully functional mating organs. At night the female spins a trapeze line from twigs above an open space in the branch or foliage. She hangs from this trapeze and spins into the space a short, single line of silk with a large droplet of very sticky silk, the bolas, at its end. The upper end of the line is held by the female’s second leg. The spider emits an airborne pheromone attractive to male moths of the family Noctuidae. Vibration sensitive hairs on the spider’s outstretched legs can sense the wing beats of an approaching moth. The spider begins to swing the bolas around in a circle beneath the moth until it is hit by the sticky bolas. It flutters in tethered flight while the spider hauls it in. The moth is then bitten, wrapped and either eaten or hung. Several moths may be caught in a night.”

Egg Sacs of a Magnificent Spider

Egg Sacs of a Magnificent Spider

Thats so great, thank you. Its an impressive (or magnificent!) looking creature! I look forward to getting out there at night and seeing if we can sight it! Will send you an update photo if we manage to catch it in action 🙂
There has been a change to the centre egg since I emailed, its sac surroundings have coloured in patches of rusty orange. So perhaps hatching will begin shortly!
Keep up the great work, thanks again!
Naomi Drage

Update:  February 10, 2016
Hello!
So our magnificent spider has been rather productive this week, she seems to have lost two of the spindle egg sacs to parasites (pinhole at top and sunken appearance), so she gone on and made an 8th one! Her markings are stronger now than they were before, and I can imagine being bird, poking your head up the nest hole and getting a terrible fright from her faux ‘serpent head’ abdomen! a great deterrent, even enough for me to keep good distance! hope the photos are a welcome addition for your gallery.
Regards, Naomi

Magnificent Spider in her lair

Magnificent Spider in her lair

Thanks for the update Naomi,
Your Magnificent Spider really does look like a serpent.

Update:  April 9, 2016
Hi!
I thought I’d update you on our “super-mama” magnificent spider that we have been watching – she has now exceeded her previous best and gone and made two new egg sacs!! she has ten in total now (with the australian museum website stating that 7 is normal, I’m cheering for our girl!) although she is still alive and well, the weather is cooling down so we expect her to die off soon. Her young are free-blowing away to neighbouring trees – I have included a picture of one of the offspring. You can see its perched near some orange seed-like balls… are they part of the web lure?
Because of the physical distance form my own home, I still haven’t witnessed the night-time feeding performance, simply being satisfied with day-time sightings!
Cheers, Naomi

Magnificent Spider Egg Sacs

Magnificent Spider Egg Sacs

Thanks for the update Naomi,
We especially enjoyed the image of the Magnificent Spiderling ballooning to a new location.  We are unsure of the identity of the orange features of the web.

Magnificent Spiderling

Magnificent Spiderling

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasps or Hornets in winter
Location: Connecticut
January 28, 2016 7:58 am
A couple days ago, I was walking in my front yard and I saw a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket walking on top of the snow…
I live in central Connecticut, so it seemed a bit odd because I’ve never seen that before in my 44 years here.
Is this normal?
Thanks,
Signature: Michael

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

Dear Michael,
We suspect this unusual sighting of a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes in the snow is related to the unseasonably warm weather experienced by much of the eastern U.S. through the end of 2015.  We are relatively certain this is an introduced European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which is described on BugGuide as:  “No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae.”  Because of the snow, your images were underexposed, but if the images are lightened, the antennae do appear to be orange.  BugGuide also notes:  “Only females are able to overwinter. Some ‘workers’ of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. ”  You did not indicate what the temperatures were like on the day you took the images, but we are suspecting it was a warmer day, with temperatures above freezing, despite snow still being on the ground.  If the late start to winter allowed the nest to remain active considerably later in the season, and this individual survived a short “quiescent phase”, then it is possible she set out from the nest on a warm winter day.  BugGuide also notes:  “An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts.  There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas,” which is prompting us to tag this as an Invasive Exotic, especially since the BugGuide range in quite extensive in North America considering the species has been reported here for less than 40 years.

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bumble Bee?
Location: Manchester, CT.
January 27, 2016 6:45 pm
Dear Bugman,
I took this shot in 2007 in Manchester, CT., First question is, is this a Bumble Bee? and what is the yellow on it’s back leg? Is this a part of the bee? or maybe pollen it’s collecting? I’ve seen many similar bees, but not the yellow ? on the leg. Is it common?
Signature: buzz

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

Dear buzz,
This is a Bumble Bee, and that is a full pollen basket on the hind leg.  Female Bumble Bees gather pollen when they are nesting to provide food for her developing brood.  It is likely that Bumble Bees are not as common as they once were in parts of their range.  BugGuide has the following information on when to sight Bumble Bees:  “Mated, overwintered Queens emerge from their hibernacula in very early-late spring, depending on the species. Workers emerge in late spring-early summer after which they build in numbers, and persist until late summer-late fall depending on the species. Virgin queens and males appear in summer-fall, depending on the species, and visit flowers at that time along with foraging workers. At the end of the season workers and males die and mated queens enter their hibernacula where they remain dormant until spring. In warm areas such as southern California and south Florida bumble bees can be found flying even in mid-winter.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination