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

Subject: What’s the insect that came as a bonus with my Christmas Tree?
Location: Austin, Texas
February 1, 2016 2:41 pm
Hello there,
For the second time in my life I have managed to purchase a live Christmas tree that weeks later developed an insect issue. This time the insect is different than the first. In my Google search to determine what it was this year, I came across your site and another individual’s issue with a Christmas tree pest–which for them turned out to be the Giant Conifer Aphid.
Thanks to their picture and your site I now know what my insect was the first time. Now I’m wondering what this new one is. The aphids never left the tree and I didn’t notice them until I was taking it down. Those were also on a different type of tree for me–a Fraser Fir.
This year I bought a rare type of tree–a Natural Noble. While Noble Firs are common enough for purchasing, Natural Nobles are not–at least not where I live. It’s a beautiful and expensive tree that I discovered at a particular local nursery in Austin, Texas. I’d never seen one available before at a Christmas tree stand or a nursery. This is now the 3rd year I’ve bought this type of tree but the first time it has come with bugs.
The other night (4-5 weeks after purchasing the tree) I noticed what I thought was a large mosquito in my kitchen. Then I noticed a second one. Then the lightbulb went off in my mind to go look at the trunk of the tree as this time of year there aren’t mosquitos. Yep, sure enough there were insects parading up and down the trunk, in different sizes. They were fast movers. While the image may make them appear large they really aren’t. Like I said, they look about like a giant mosquito.
They are winged, or at least many of them were, but I never saw them flying. They were either dead under the tree or dead in another room. The ones on the trunk were very active but not flying. I don’t think those had wings or were so juvenile they couldn’t be seen yet. Overall they’re pretty fragile and when you touch a dead one its legs cling to the skin.
I looked online quite a bit for insects that come in with Christmas trees but couldn’t find anything that looked like this or that had wings. Any idea what this is?
Signature: Michele (Austin, Tx)

Giant Conifer Aphids

Giant Conifer Aphids

Hi Michele,
A living Christmas Tree is host to many creatures that continue to develop in the warm indoor conditions of the heated home.  For the past few years, we have gotten submissions of Giant Conifer Aphids in the genus
Cinara plaguing homemakers.  Your image depicts winged adult Giant conifer Aphids similar to the one in this BugGuide image.

Hello Daniel,
Thank you for the positive identification and your very timely response. I’m so sorry that I didn’t offer you more of a challenge. You get emailed about these bugs a lot and I was convinced they were something other than the Giant Conifer Aphid. These winged adults look so different in size and shape from what I experienced the first time.
Nonetheless, thank you again for taking the time to respond to me. I’ve had a lot of fun perusing your website.
-Michele

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: thought it would be easy
Location: coldwater ontario canada
February 1, 2016 6:35 pm
Hi we have these in our house occasionally, we think they are coming in on our firewood. The wood is ash and oak. The house is only a year old and was built in the winter
Signature: Keith Prentice

Longhorned Borer Beetle: Sarosesthes fulminans

Longhorned Borer Beetle: Sarosesthes fulminans

Dear Keith,
We turned to our copy of Arthur V. Evans excellent book “Beetles of Eastern North America” as it is easier to scan than many online sources.  We believe we have correctly identified your Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae as
Sarosesthes fulminans which is described as having:  “a distinctive eyespot on the pronotum and angulate bands on elytra.  Larvae tunnel under bark and in sapwood of hardwoods, especially chestnut (Castanea), oak (Quercus), and walnut (Juglans).  Adults are attracted to light and bait traps in late spring and summer.  Quebec and Ontario to North Carolina, west to Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas.”  This image from BugGuide looks very much like your individual.  You are most likely correct that your indoor, winter sighting is related to oak firewood.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identify Grasshoppers
Location: Costa Rica cloud forest
February 2, 2016 9:32 am
Can you identify the mating grasshoppers please? I have asked several ‘experts’ in Costa Rica where I took the photo without success.
Taken at 4500 feet in cloud forest at the Bosque de Paz private reserve, 1 1/2 hours drive from San Jose. It lies between the National Parks of Juan Castro Blanco and Volcan Poas.
Thanks
Signature: Moira

Mating Grasshoppers

Mating Grasshoppers

Dear Moira,
We have not had any luck identifying what species you have documented.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what’s that bug?
Location: Northern IL
February 2, 2016 3:53 pm
This is from Northern IL and usually appears in the Winter indoors
Signature: Thanks, Ted

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Ted,
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is non-native species introduced from Asia that has spread across North America in a very short time.  They seek shelter indoors when the weather cools.  According to the USDA site, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug:  “Feeds on a variety of plants, including fruit trees, ornamentals, and some crops.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, CA
January 31, 2016 12:39 pm
I have found a few of these in my home.
What are they.
Signature: Dave Douthett

Case Bearing Moth Larva

Case Bearing Moth Larva

Dear Dave,
This is a Household Casebearer,
Phereoeca uterella, a common household pest.  According to BugGuide:  “The larval case is silk-lined inside and open at both ends. The case is constructed by the earliest larval stage (1st instar) before it hatches, and is enlarged by each successive instar. In constructing the case, the larva secretes silk to build an arch attached at both ends to the substrate. Very small particles of sand, soil, iron rust, insect droppings, arthropod remains, hairs and other fibers are added on the outside. The inside of the arch is lined exclusively by silk, and is gradually extended to form a tunnel, while the larva stays inside. The tunnel is closed beneath by the larva to form a tube free from the substrate, and open at both ends. After the first case is completed, the larva starts moving around, pulling its case behind. With each molt, the larva enlarges its case. Later cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva to turn around inside.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: This flew into my shirt
Location: Nevada, Texas
February 2, 2016 10:17 am
Hi, I’d like to identify this little guy for peace of mind – he was in my baby’s play room (and inside my shirt) and I’d like to know that he wasn’t poisonous. I threw him unceremoniously outside.
Signature: Jessica

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Longhorned Borer Beetle

Dear Jessica,
There is not enough detail in your image to identify this beyond the family level.  This is a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae, and it is not venomous.  Members of this family spend their larval stage boring in wood, and they need strong mandibles to chew their way to the surface after maturity, so they are capable of delivering a painful, but not generally dangerous bite.  Large individual might even draw blood.  Individual found indoors frequently emerge from firewood that was brought inside.  They will not infest the wood used in the construction of a home, so they pose no threat to your home.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination