From the daily archives: "Wednesday, April 27, 2016"

Subject: Help identify!
Location: Van Nuys, Ca
April 26, 2016 6:41 pm
Dear bugman,
I have suddenly found a ton of these in my house. I live in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles county. I see them both during the day and the night. They are tiny and I have no idea what they are. Help!
Signature: Orli

Springtail

Springtail

Dear Orli,
You have Springtails, primitive insects that can get quite plentiful when conditions are right.  They are benign creatures, but they can become a nuisance if their populations rise.

Springtail

Springtail

Subject: Newly emerged moth
Location: Randolph Co Indiana
April 26, 2016 3:01 pm
My daughter’s third graders found a cocoon on a building in October in NE Indiana. This morning, one of them yelled “That thing is moving!” And this interesting guy came out… Is it fully metamorphosed? Will the wings expand? What IS it?
Signature: Ms Lovern’s mom

Newly Eclosed Cecropia Moth

Newly Eclosed Cecropia Moth

Dear Ms Lovern’s mom,
Sometimes when an insect emerges from pupation in an enclosed container, the wings do not fully expand.  We hope this Cecropia Moth eventually expanded its wings and was capable of flight, at which point we would recommend releasing it.  Judging by the antennae, it looks like a female.  Even if her wings do not fully expand, she can release pheromones and mate.  In that case, she may attract a mate and lay viable eggs, which could be raised by your daughter’s class, though following that generation may take an entire year.

Thanks! I’ll pass this on to my daughter!

Hello,
My mother messaged you recently with photos of a moth that emerged from a cocoon in my classroom.  Her wings have not yet expanded but it appears she may be laying eggs in the terrarium??  Should we release her even with her closed wings so that she can try to find a mate or wait to see if her wings expand?
Thanks,
Mrs. Lovern

Dear Mrs. Lovern,
If her wings have not expanded after 24 hours, they most likely are either deformed or injured.  Giant Silkmoths only live a few days and they do not eat.  She will not be able to fly if her wings are deformed and her eggs will not hatch if they are not fertilized.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of various trees and shrubs including alder, apple, ash, beech, birch, box-elder, cherry, dogwood, elm, gooseberry, maple, plum, poplar, white oak, willow.  may also feed on lilac and tamarack.”  You can try releasing her on one of those trees and she may attract a mate.

Update April 29, 2016
Thank you for your reply we did release her and she now has clusters of eggs in the tree where we left her.

 

Subject: Garden Bug ID
Location: DFW Texas
April 26, 2016 6:50 pm
Is this bug eating my garden
Signature: Thanks – Mark

Lady Beetle Larva

Lady Beetle Larva

Dear Mark,
This Lady Beetle Larva or Ladybug Larva is not eating your garden, but it is eating Aphids and other insect pest that are eating your garden.

Subject: Swallowtail caterpillar?
Location: San Gabriel , california
April 26, 2016 9:12 pm
I bought a pepper tree bonsai and I found this caterpillar attached to it. I believe it is a swallowtail caterpillar but I don’t know what variety. I was hoping to find out what is was since I want to care for it. Can I feed it lemon leaves instead of my poor bonsai?
Signature: Thank you, Meena

Probably Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Probably Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Meena,
This sure looks like an Orange Dog, the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of plants in the Citrus family (Rutaceae), including Citrus (Citrusspecies), Pricklyash(Zanthoxylum species), Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata), Rue (Ruta graveolens), etc. Adults take flower nectar from a variety of herbaceous plants and shrubs.”
  We do not recognize your particular Pepper Tree and we would be curious to learn if it is in the citrus family.  You can try to feed your caterpillar leaves of an orange tree, but if it rejects those leaves, you may need to return it back to your bonsaii.  Caterpillars are not like dogs or pet fish.  They do not immediately begin eating if food is placed in front of them.  You may need to transfer your caterpillar to a citrus tree to see if it will accept the leaves.  Though lemon is a citrus tree, we cannot recall getting any reports of Orange Dogs feeding on lemon trees, but we have gotten reports of them feeding on lime, tangerine, grapefruit and the always popular orange tree.

Subject: Caterpillar found on my Chili plant
Location: Gauteng, South Africa
April 26, 2016 12:54 am
Hi there, I found a huge caterpillar on my chili plant and tried to google it and find more information about it. I found some images that relate to the one I have – It looks like a Laurel Sphinx caterpillar, but the region and habitat it is usually found in does not correspond with mine.. So I am not sure what it is. Can you please identify this for me?
Signature: M Kruger

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear M Kruger,
The reason your individual resembles the Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar is that your Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar is in the same family.  Caterpillars of the Death’s Head Hawkmoth are one of our most common identification requests from South Africa.