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

Subject: Beautiful Green Wormy
Location: Georgia, USA
August 27, 2016 2:59 am
3 inch worm/caterpillar
Aug. 25, 2016
I left the back door open & this little guy wandered into my house . I’m just wondering what it is . I’ve never seen anything like it before. Its green with some light reddish, orangeish or brownish color all along its back. it has 1 very tiny tail . its about 3 – 3 1/2 inches long and a little thicker then a cigarette .
Signature: Suni S.

Possibly Waved Sphinx Caterpillar

Possibly Waved Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Suni,
There is not much critical detail in your image, so we cannot be certain of the species, but this is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae.  We believe it is most likely the Caterpillar of a Waved Sphinx,
Ceratomia undulosa, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “Just prior to pupation, larvae frequently take on a rosy hue.”  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed preferentially on leaves of ash (Fraxinus spp.), especially Green Ash (F. pennsylvanica) in Canada, but also feed on fringetree (Chionanthus spp.), hawthorn (Crataegus), lilac (Syringa), oak (Quercus), privet (Ligustrum), and other woody plants.”  Do any of those plants grow near where you made this sighting?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Swimming bug?
Location: Tennessee
August 27, 2016 7:45 am
I live in Chattanooga TN, I noticed 4 or 5 of these in the kiddie pool in the backyard. The pool is a blow up pool, and has not been cleaned out for a very long time. I usually see these in the late morning, around 10, and they are very fast swimmers. I caught one and put it on the pavement to take a picture. It has 6 legs, and is kind of a clearish yellow. Its about 3/4 of an inch long. Any ideas what it could be? Thanks for any help:)
Signature: Holly Hickam

Dragonfly Naiad

Dragonfly Naiad

Dear Holly,
This is the larva or Naiad of a Dragonfly.  As you probably realize, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Dragonfly larvae will eat any mosquito larvae that develop in standing water, so they are a beneficial insect.  Adult Dragonflies also feed on winged adult mosquitoes.  We hope you are able to relocate the larvae in your stagnant pool into a suitable area pond.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Invasive Argentine Ants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 27, 2016
Dating back to our relocation to Los Angeles in 1980, the editorial staff of What’s That Bug? has been plagued by colonies of invasive Argentine Ants, Iridomyrmex humilis.  If we had the time to devote ourselves to the elimination of one invasive species in California, it would be the Argentine Ant.  They are a pervasive pest species that we have always believed are the same Ants that play such an important role in the magnificent 20th Century novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez when they carry off a newborn baby.  Argentine Ants are most troublesome in the summer, during the hottest days when they enter homes to find water, but swarm around cat food, any sweets or fatty foods left out, or any dead bugs that ended their lives as cat toys.  We believe they are one of the biggest threats to native species wherever they proliferate.  According to Clemson University:  “Argentine ants are not native to the United States.  They were introduced to the US probably on coffee ships from Brazil and Argentina through the port of New Orleans sometime before 1891. They spread rapidly on commercial shipments of plants and other materials.  Now Argentine ants are found throughout most of the southern states and California, with isolated infestations in a few other areas.  Argentine ants have been very successful.  They are common in urban areas and can nest in diverse types of habitats. They can produce large numbers of offspring and survive on a wide variety of food. They often live on friendly terms with other neighboring colonies of the same species, but may eliminate some other ant species.”  Argentine Ants farm Aphids and move them from plant to plant.  We have also found Argentine Ants associated with other pestiferous Hemipterans that secrete honeydew.  We would love to hear any control methods our readers can provide.  Wayne’s Word also has some interesting information, including:  “Best Method Of Argentine Ant Eradication  Place outdoor ant bait stations such as Terro® along major ant trails in your yard. This is probably better than using insecticidal sprays. Smaller, indoor bait stations are also effective placed along ant trails in your home (out of the reach of children and pets). The active ingredients of Terro® is 5.40 percent sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax) which is lethal to ants. This salt upsets their digestive system and causes death due to dehydration and starvation. According to Jonathan Hatch (“How to Get Rid of Argentine Ants” ), dehydration and recrystallization of the ‘boric acic’ (borax?) lacerates the digestive system of ants and their larvae. There are many recipes on the Internet that include mixing borax with a sugary solution. Terro bait stations contain this mixture in convenient disposable plastic trays. It is important for the ants to carry the liquid back to their nest. Borax recipes only contain about 5 percent borax so that ants are not killed immediately. One tablespoon of borax in a cup of water is approximately a 5% solution. You must be patient–this treatment may take several days to a week. In fact, you may need to replenish you bait stations! Some websites state that boric acid is a more effective ant insecticide, but this is debatable. Boric acid is made by reacting borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) with an inorganic acid, such as hydrochloric acid (HCl).”

Argentine Ants eat Orbweaver

Argentine Ants eat Orbweaver

WE cannot say for certain if the Argentine Ants played a role in the death of this Orbweaver, but since Orbweavers are somewhat helpless when they are not in their webs, it is possible that this large spider was overcome by marauding Argentine Ants and killed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Caterpillar
Location: North Florida
August 26, 2016 5:02 pm
Saw this huge caterpillar outside on the screen of the screened porch and couldn’t figure out what it is. Would love to find out, though!
Signature: Gecko7937

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Gecko7937,
This is the caterpillar of a Tersa Sphinx, and we are guessing that you have a penta plant nearby as that is one of its favorite caterpillar host plants.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “The snake-like larva has a head and the three thoracic segments which may be retracted into abdominal segment 1, which is swollen and adorned with a pair of light-ringed eye-spots. I often get questions about these larvae due to their voracious appetites for garden penta species.  Larvae also feed on
Borreria, Catalpa and Manettia spp. and Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra) and starclusters (Pentas species). They are also recorded on joe-pie weed and Hamelia patens.”

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Cheshire uk
August 26, 2016 4:23 am
Found on an Apple tree
Signature: Bikl

Eyed Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Eyed Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Bikl,
Thank you for supplying the name of the host tree.  That information helped us to quickly identify this as the Caterpillar of an Eyed Hawkmoth,
Smerinthus ocellata, and according to UK Safari:  “The caterpillars, which can be found between June and September, feed on a variety of trees including; apple, willow, and aspen. ”  According to UK Moths:  “The green caterpillars resemble those of the Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi), but have a bluish-coloured spike at the rear. They feed on sallow (Salix), apple (Malus) and several other trees.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A caterpillar that I have not seen before!
Location: Southwest Michigan
August 25, 2016 8:48 pm
I found this caterpillar near my garage door while trimming my fire bushes. I live in southwest Michigan, and it is mid August. My father in-law is a retired middle school science teacher with a vast knowledge of insects and birds who believes it is related to the tomato eating caterpillar of the Sphinx variety, but I wanted more certainty. Could you help?
Signature: Curiously, Sang Park

Hermit Sphinx Caterpillar

Hermit Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Sang Park,
Your father-in-law is correct that this is a Sphinx Caterpillar in the family Sphingidae.  We believe we have correctly identified it as a Hermit Sphinx Caterpillar,
Lintneria eremitus, thanks to images of the Sphingidae of the Americas site where it states:  “Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda fistulosa), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).”  Were any of those plants nearby?  It may be easier to verify the identification by comparing your image to this BugGuide image.

We do have a lot of mint growing voluntarily around our house and in our gardens. Thanks for the information!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination