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

Subject: Caterpillar id
Location: Big Lake, Minnesota
May 30, 2016 3:29 am
Good morning. My sister has caterpillars in her semi woodland garden in Big Lake Minnesota that are literally dropping from the trees (pine and ornamentals) on the margin of the woodland. They seem to be most active now – mid May. It is her first summer there so cannot say whether this is unusual.
Signature: Lorna

Ed. Note:  We had an offline exchange with Lorna since the image attached to the original email was a Black Arches Caterpillar from our site.  We finally received the correct image.

Oops. I don’t know how that happened – I am sorry. Here it is:

Inchworms dropping from trees

Cankerworm dropping from trees

Dear Lorna,
The general term Cankerworm is used to describe several species of Inchworms or Spanworms that feed in trees and drop to the ground.  According to Virginia Green Lawn Care:  “The term ‘canker worm’ is used, not to describe a single caterpillar, but a group of inchworms that cause damage to many different ornamental and fruit trees. … These leaf eating insects are not only a nuisance; they can cause great damage or even destroy a grown tree over a period of time. You may have run into one dangling from a silk thread as you walked under a tree. It is a battle between canker worms and the trees you love and have planted and nurtured.  When heavy populations are present, they can completely defoliate a tree in just a few weeks. This is when you need to step in.”  The individual in the new image you attached looks like the Linden Looper,
Erannis tiliaria, a species that according to BugGuide feeds on:  “Deciduous trees, including apple, ash, beech, birch, elm, maple, oak, poplar, Prunus and Ribes.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
European Paper Wasp and California Mantidling

European Paper Wasp and California Mantidling

Subject:  Paper Wasp and California Mantid Nymph found among the primrose plants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
May 30, 2016 6:30 PM
We were out working in the yard on Memorial Day and we noticed a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes resting on a tall primrose stalk, so we decided to take a few images to identify the species.  Well, as often happens in the garden, we got distracted and we remembered as the light was beginning to wane.  Upon returning, much to our glee, we found a young California Mantid on the same stalk.  The Mantid has more than doubled in size since we first discovered hatchlings back in early April.  We couldn’t help but to be amused that in a few more months, the Paper Wasp might have to worry about becoming a meal for the Mantid.  We are relatively certain that the wasp is a European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “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 may be a problem as it has spread throughout much of North America in less than forty years, according to BugGuide.

European Paper Wasp

European Paper Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ant ? Wasp?
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita ca
May 27, 2016 8:00 pm
I found this today when I was doing some planting in my backyard. I’ve never seen anything like this but we get odd creatures all the time. I’m glad I found your site so I can get help identifying some of these that I find. The white contrast with the black legs was so striking! Not knowing what it is I kept my dog, who found it, away. Should I be concerned about more showing up?
Signature: Curious critter finder

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Curious critter finder,
This is both an Ant and a Wasp.  Your female, flightless Wasp in the family Mutillidae is commonly called a Velvet Ant, so she is an Ant by name and a Wasp by classification, though for even more clarification, both Wasps and Ants are classified together in the Order Hymenoptera.  Velvet Ants are not aggressive, but they are very active and purposeful, and they will defend themselves with a very painful sting should you or your dog bother one with an exposed body part.  We are going to make your sighting the Bug of the Month for June 2016.  We have had the Cow Killer, a common Velvet Ant from the eastern portion of North America featured in the past as the Bug of the Month in August 2012, but this time we want to feature the diverse Velvet Ants found in the southwest.  Many Velvet Ants sport aposomatic or warning coloration, often red or orange and black, to advertise their painful stings.  This particular individual, which may be
Dasymutilla sackeni, is well represented on BugGuide with individuals from California.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tiny green bristly larva
Location: NJ
May 29, 2016 3:03 pm
I live in NJ. This tiny green bristly larva of some kind was on a severely stressed tomato plant that had suffered tomato russet mite then aphid infestation when I decided to just plant it and let it survive or die.
I thought I should be able to recognize it, but am striking out with all my guesses. I would appreciate it very much if you could help.
I prefer to let the Garden Patrol take care of the pest issues, so I err on the side of the living — Not knowing what it was, I left it on the plant. (I found a ladybug larva on another plant)
Signature: Garden Patrol Squad Leader

Buffalo Treehopper Nymph

Buffalo Treehopper Nymph

Dear Garden Patrol Squad Leader,
This is the nymph of a Buffalo Treehopper in the genus
Ceresa which you can verify by comparing to this BugGuide image.  While they might not do too much damage to your plant, they do have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids from the plant, which in the case of an already stressed tomato plant, does not seem like it will be doing the plant much good.

Yikes!  that being the case, I will have to deploy a proper member of the Garden Patrol to protect that plant.  Perhaps a treehopper nymph will be appreciated as a tasty assignment bonus.  ^_^
Thank you for a speedy response! Much appreciated.  :o)

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hornet?
Location: Holt, Michigan
May 28, 2016 5:35 pm
Found in mid-Michigan in a wood pile. He was disoriented and walking in the grass, and let us move him without any issue. Looks like it has a very large stinger.
Signature: Melissa

Crane Fly

Crane Fly

Dear Melissa,
We believe we have correctly identified this female Crane Fly as
Tanyptera dorsalis, formerly Ctenophora dorsalis, thanks to images posted to BugGuide where it states:  “larvae live in decaying wood of recently dead deciduous hardwood trees, often in prostrate trunks that are fairly sound.”  This BugGuide image illustrates the female ovipositing using her egg-laying organ that you have mistaken for a stinger.  The coloring and shape of this Crane Fly likely provides the species with some protection as it seems to mimic the markings on many stinging wasps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What bug is this
Location: South west florida
May 30, 2016 8:29 am
We just moved into a vacation home for the summer while our house is being fixed and in the master bedroom up stairs we found these on the window ledge and on the bed
Can you tell me what these are
Signature: Seth

Termite Wings

Termite Wings

Dear Seth,
You have submitted excellent documentation of a Termite Swarm.  When conditions are right, virgin Alates, the reproductive caste in a Termite colony, take to the air and swarm.  They mate, shed their wings and start new colonies.  The shed wings are definitely Termite Wings and the two insects are Termite Alates that have shed their wings.  We feel confident that your summer home is infested with Termites.

Termite Alates after shedding wings

Termite Alates after shedding wings

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination