From the daily archives: "Wednesday, April 6, 2016"

Subject: Unknown bug- help!
Location: King George VA
April 5, 2016 5:38 pm
I live in King George Virginia and came across this bug on my siding by my front door yesterday, April 4, 2016. I have heard horrible things about the kissing bug and am freaked out, is this one of them? Some people have said yes it is others have said it’s an orange assassin bug p. Barberi. Are kissing bugs and assassin bugs the same thing??
Signature: Confused

Sycamore Assassin Bug

Sycamore Assassin Bug

Dear Confused,
We will attempt to remedy your confusion.  This is a Sycamore Assassin Bug in the genus
Pselliopus, probably Pselliopus barberi.  Though it might bite if carelessly handled, it is a beneficial predatory species that poses no danger to humans.  Assassin Bugs are all members of the family Reduviidae, and Kissing Bugs are members of the family and further classified in the Subfamily Triatominae.  That means all Kissing Bugs are Assassin Bugs, but not all Assassin Bugs are Kissing Bugs.

Thank you for clarifying, and relieving my fears! So the sycamore assassin bug doesn’t carry Chaga’s disease, correct?

Correct.  Also it is worth noting that while Kissing Bugs can carry Chagas Disease, it is not very common in the US.  It is a much bigger problem in Latin America.

Subject: Mantis in Greenhouse
Location: 78634, Texas
April 6, 2016
The next cool thing I found was a praying mantis on the GH door (see attached)!
With an utter invasion of lady beetles and other critters we went from aphids everywhere to ZILCH! wuhu! Even the milkweeds are almost free!
So cool to live here :)))))
You guys rock!!!!
Sandy

Carolina Mantis

Carolina Mantis

Hi Again Sandy,
We are thrilled to post your image of a female Carolina Mantis, a native species.  We identified it thanks to this BugGuide image that depicts the black spot in the middle of the wing.  We just finished a posting regarding native versus non-native Mantids in the garden, so the sending of your newest image was perfectly timed.  We are also pleased to hear that predators are controlling the aphids in your garden and greenhouse.

Subject: My neighbor found this on her fence.
Location: 45° 30′ 34″N 122° 30′ 28″W
April 4, 2016 10:40 am
Im trying to identify a “cacoon like” structure on my neighbors fence i currently have only a picture go by. I would say a moth cacoon off first glance but the striations throw me off a bit. Please help me in figuring if this needs to be gotten rid of or left alone.
Signature: Jeff Homsley

Mantis Ootheca

Mantis Ootheca

Dear Jeff,
This mantis ootheca will hatch several hundred beneficial predators.

Thank you sooo much…thats incredible

Update:  April 6, 2016
Though we originally responded to this request, we did not create a posting.  Since posting our own images of a California Mantis hatchling and the ootheca from which it emerged, we decided to turn this submission into a bit of a public service message for home gardeners.  It is frequently necessary to prune plants in the garden, but it is always a good idea to look closely to see if there are any beneficial critters, possibly in the form of immobile eggs or pupae, in the trimmings.  We make it a habit to toss branches into the green bin, but to leave the lid open in the event that anything needs to escape.  Just last summer, while trimming the guajes, we found two California Mantids, so we relocated them elsewhere in the garden.  We encountered more Mantids last year than any other year, and we credit that to becoming more aware while cleaning up the yard.  About a month ago, we removed a broken branch from the butterfly bush and found three California Mantis oothecae, so we tied them securely to other plants, and we have now been rewarded with a sighting of a hatchling Mantis.  The ootheca in this image looks to be a native species in the genus
Stagmomantis.  According to the 4H pdf, the California Mantis is reported from Oregon.  Though we are in favor of organic gardening, we like to caution our readers about the potential problems of purchasing commercially available Mantis oothecae from dealers as those are generally not native, and introducing non-native predators can have a negative effect on native species.  Non-native Mantids are larger and more aggressive than our native species, and we suspect our natives are being eaten by Chinese and European Mantids.

Subject: Spider in Greenhouse
Location: 78634, Texas,
April 6, 2016 8:28 am
Good day wonderful bug folks. Keep up the good work! I saw a small spider on my greenhouse frame (inside the GH) last night and tried taking a picture. It kept hiding and is upside down in the pic now since she poked out her head from the aluminum frame and I just quickly snapped a pic.
Last year we had a fist sized hole in the ground just outside the greenhouse and I always thought I saw a rather large black arachnid rush in there whenever I approached. Not sure
Signature: Sandy

Bold Jumper, we believe

Bold Jumper, we believe

Dear Sandy,
This fierce predator is a harmless Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae, and the green chelicerae indicate it might be a Bold Jumper,
Phidippus audax, a highly variable species with an extensive range.  Here is a nice image from BugGuideBugGuide also has a nice page illustrating the variability within the species.  Jumping Spiders do not spin webs to trap prey.  Instead, they use their excellent eyesight to locate prey, stalking it if necessary, and then pouncing, often from a considerable distance, when they strike.

Awesome! I was wanting to surprise my relatives when they visit that we have not just Rattle and King snakes but Tarantulas but hey, jumping spider is just as good 🙂
thanks so much for being bug friendly and educating people that bugs are good for you and not need to be squashed!
The next cool thing I found was a praying mantis on the GH door (see attached)!
With an utter invasion of lady beetles and other critters we went from aphids everywhere to ZILCH! wuhu! Even the milkweeds are almost free!
So cool to live here :)))))
You guys rock!!!!
cheers
Sandy

Subject: Bug bites my toddler
Location: Mooringsport, louisiana
April 6, 2016 4:09 am
This bug bit my one and half year old last night at 1 in the mornin then we found it dead on the counter this morning. Can you tell me what it is?
Signature: Nervous mom

Soldier Beetle

Soldier Beetle

Dear Nervous mom,
This is a predatory Soldier Beetle in the family Cantharidae, and it resembles images of
Podabrus brunnicollis posted to BugGuide.  Soldier Beetles are beneficial and they are not dangerous.  Your request brings up several questions in our mind.  How do you know this individual bit your toddler?  What caused it to appear mysteriously dead on the counter?

My toddler had red bites on him after this bug was on him and was screaming. No other bug was on or neR him. We have no idea why he died or how, i assume he found some of the poison our bug guy sprays monthly.
Stephanie A

Subject:  Gray Bird Grasshopper
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
April 5, 2016
Though the image is not the greatest, we did get a quick shot of this impressive Gray Bird Grasshopper before it flew from the paloverde to the pine tree.

Gray Bird Grasshopper

Gray Bird Grasshopper