From the monthly archives: "October 2018"

Subject:  Gry and red bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Southeastern Pennsylvania
Date: 09/30/2018
Time: 08:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Very interested in what type of bug/beetle this is. My son is an environmental scientist and has never seen this one before.
How you want your letter signed:  Baffled Abba

Spotted Lanternfly

Dear Baffled Abba,
This is an invasive Spotted Lanternfly,
Lycorma delicatula, a recently introduced Asian species that according to BugGuide: “Native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam; invasive in Korea and in our area. Currently (2018) known from 6 counties in PA; also found in DE, NY, VA.”  According to Delaware News:  “The spotted lanternfly – a destructive, invasive plant hopper – has been confirmed in New Castle County. Delaware is the second state to have found the insect which was first detected in the United States in 2014, in Berks County, PA. The spotted lanternfly has now spread to 13 Pennsylvania counties.  This insect is a potential threat to several important agricultural crops including grapes, apples, peaches, and lumber.”  According to RecordOnLine:  “The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets confirmed that the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect, was found for the first time in New York State on Nov. 29, 2017.” According to the Northern Virginia Daily:  “A professor specializing in the study of insects confirmed a few days ago the reported sighting of a spotted lanternfly at a business in Winchester.  The professor, Douglas Pfeiffer of Virginia Tech, had visited other parts of Virginia in search of the lanternfly, but this was the first time he has been able to verify its presence.  The spotted lanternfly, which feeds on the sap of vines and trees, first came to the United States from China in 2014. Since then, the insects have been found mostly in Pennsylvania. But Pfeiffer said that it has been expanding where it lives since arriving.”  According to BugGuide:  According to BugGuide:  “SIGHTING REPORTS WANTED: Experts are working to delimit the current population and find new infestations of this species. Please report sightings on the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture website.  earliest NA record: PA 2014.”

Subject:  Mating Wheel Bugs
Geographic location of the bug:  Pegram, TN
Date: 09/29/2018
Time: 05:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Taken w/ my iPhone. Found these two hanging upside down on my outdoor garbage can and was struck by the saw-tooth crescent thingy on their back. “What IS that??” A Google search took me to whatsthatbug, where I found the answer in Top 10 and learned about Assassin Bugs. Thanks, bug man!!
If you zoom in slightly, you can see the slender sex organ extending from the male’s abdomen towards her backside. Is this the aedeagus?Never saw one before.
Staying in zoom, it honestly looks as if his back left leg is pushing her wing slightly open for contact. And I’m probably imagining things now, after reading ‘How Insects Mate’ on, but it looks like he’s tickling her with his two front left legs.
“One-third of insect species studied by scientists show….a decent effort on the male’s part to make sure the female is pleased with the sexual encounter.”
Well done, sir!!!
How you want your letter signed:  Anita Cold-Shower

Mating Wheel Bugs

Dear Anita Cold-Shower,
Your image of mating Wheel Bugs is awesome, and thanks to your careful research, we can add aedeagus to our insect vocabulary word list.  Aedeagus is defined on BugGuide as being:  “the intromittent organ of a male insect with its appendages” and according to Wikipedia:  “An intromittent organ is a general term for an external organ of a male organism that is specialized to deliver sperm during copulation.”

Subject:  Large black and white spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Salt Lake City foothills, ~5200′
Date: 09/30/2018
Time: 03:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Almost stepped on this guy and he reared up to let me know not to mess with him.  Maybe 3″ across.  He held that pose the whole time I was looking at him, turning to face me.  He was on a dry trail in a scrub oak forest interspersed with grass.  I can’t anything similar online and am curious who he is.
How you want your letter signed:  Dan R

Carolina Wolf Spider

Dear Dan,
This is an awesome image of a Carolina Wolf Spider,
Hogna carolinensis, in a threat position.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  According to BugGuide:  “Orange paturons (chelicera) and black around the the ‘knees’ ventrally are characteristics of the species” which your image nicely illustrates, and “Considered to be the largest wolf spider in North America.”  Despite the threat position, Wolf Spiders are not considered dangerous to humans, and despite the common name, the Carolina Wolf Spider has a range well beyond the Carolinas.

Subject:  Sweat Bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 09/28/2018
Time: 04:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m not sure if this is a sweat bee (possibly Agapostemon splendens) or some type of Flower loving or Syrphid fly.
It was roughly 1/3 inch in length, give or take a few millimeters.
I’m leaning more towards A. splendens, but to be honest, arachnids and mantises are more my forte.
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Striped Sweat Bee

Dear Bug aficionado,
This is definitely a Metallic Sweat Bee in the family Halictidae, and we believe you have the genus
Agapostemon correct as well, however, the species Agapostemon splendens is not found in the Pacific Northwest based on BugGuide data.  Members of the genus Agapostemon are known as the Striped Sweat Bees because, according to BugGuide:  “Males are easier to ID because they have strongly black-and-yellow striped abdomen.”  According to Insect Identification for the Casual Observer:  “There are over a dozen species of Agapostemon Sweat Bees. Males are easier to identity than females because of their distinct coloring. The head and thorax of males are a metallic green, but its abdomen is comprised of the black and yellow bands typically seen in the bee family. Females of many species are mostly green all over. Some species are very social and share nests, while others are more solitary in nature.
Nests are burrows dug into dirt or banks. Pollen grains are collected and placed in each egg’s cell to provide food for the expected larva. For this reason, most sightings of adults occur around in or in gardens and meadows laden with blooms. Spring and summer are peak times of year for activity.
Adults drink flower nectar and eat pollen, and are not aggressive. They will sting in self-defense, however, if they are hit or almost crushed.
Agapostemon Sweat Bees sometimes get close to, or touch parts of, the body that are perspiring. They seem to enjoy drinking the salty liquid off of our skin. Some are so small and lightweight, they are able to do so without the person even realizing it!”  We are making your submission our Bug of the Month for October 2018.

Striped Sweat Bee