From the yearly archives: "2018"

Subject:  Unknown.  Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Pittsburgh.  Pa.   Prospect park
Date: 07/10/2018
Time: 05:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Daughter.  Makayla.   Found.
How you want your letter signed:  Paul dunkel

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Dear Paul,
This little beauty is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth.

Subject:  What the bug ??
Geographic location of the bug:  Asia > Middle East > Jordan
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 04:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey,
I wonder what this bug is, any thoughts?
P.S : I just found this website, I like what you do hope the best for you guys.
How you want your letter signed:  Moh’d Hawa

Hornworm: Theretra alecto

Dear Moh’d,
Thanks for your kind words.  This is a Hornworm, the larva of a Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae.  We searched Israel’s Nature Site where we believe we have correctly identified your Hornworm as
Theretra alecto.  We then verified that identification on Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa where the life cycle is nicely documented.

Subject:  Stung by a crane fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Norway
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 02:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi!:)
I sat outside today and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back. I slapped my hand on my back and  killed a crane fly(i think)… i know that that was whAt stung me(photo). Do you agree that this is a crane fly? Or could IT be something else?
How you want your letter signed:  Heidi Kristine

Crane Fly

Dear Heidi Kristine,
This does indeed appear to be a Crane Fly and the irritation on your neck does appear to be a sting or bite.  Over the years, we have always agreed with experts that Crane Flies do not sting or bite, including Dr. Chen Young who maintains the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania site where it states they are “a group of harmless flies,” but the images you have submitted are solid evidence to dispute that long standing scientific consensus.  At the very least, it would seem the scientific community might need to investigate the possibility that some species of Crane Flies might be capable of stinging or biting. We will send your images to Dr. Young and to Eric Eaton to see if either would like to comment.

Sting or Bite mark

Eric Eaton provides input.
I’ll be real curious as to what Chen Young says.  The image is definitely a female crane fly, but they do NOT sting.  I suppose it could use its ovipositor to jab you, but then I don’t understand the dermatological reaction Heidi is showing.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Subject:  Possible Hymenoptera?
Geographic location of the bug:  Greene county, MO
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 07:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My mom sent these pictures and I’m not sure what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Jenny Parsons

Giant Robber Fly

Dear Jenny,
This is a Giant Robber Fly in the genus Promachus, possibly a Red Footed Cannibalfly, not a Hymenopteran.  Giant Robber Flies prey on large flying insects, frequently eating wasps and bees.

Subject:  Photo of what I believe is a type of caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Middle Tennessee
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 01:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this crawler in my fence row on, what I believe to be a morning glory vine. July 11,2018
How you want your letter signed:  Diane

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Diane,
You are correct.  This is an Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar which you can verify on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of grape (
Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus), Ampelopsis and related vining plants.”

Subject:  Dusty wanderer
Geographic location of the bug:  Taiwan (mountains)
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 11:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This grandpa stumbled into our room one July night. Looks like he has crab-like pincers. About 6 cm long. He is covered in a kind of bug-dandruff. What is he, and what is with the crusty covering? Bad hygiene?  Parasites?
How you want your letter signed:  Luuk

Cicada Nymph

Dear Luuk,
This is a Cicada nymph.  Immature Cicadas live underground for several years (up to 17 in the case of the North American Periodical Cicada) where they feed from roots.  As they near maturity, they dig to the surface and molt for the final time, emerging as winged adult Cicadas.  The crusty covering is dried dirt that will be shed during molting.

Thank you so much! You were, of course, totally right. I found an empty husk and a dazed, brand new cicada sitting on my table this morning. Too bad I missed the molting and did not see him emerge. Insects are amazing and wonderful!
Luuk from Taiwan