From the monthly archives: "May 2019"

Subject:  Cicadas being decapitated
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Pennsylvania
Date: 05/25/2019
Time: 09:10 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have found several dozen cicada decapitated very close to their malted skins. What is causing the decapitation?
* Note I lined the bodies up in pic…
How you want your letter signed:  Dirk Rupert

Decapitated Cicadas

Dear Dirk,
Your image is the first one we are posting this year of the emergence of the Brood VIII, the population of Periodical Cicadas, incorrectly called 17 Year Locusts, which has just begun to emerge in western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and West Virginia according to Cicada Mania.  For years we have been posting images of decapitated Cicada heads, but our images have been of the heads left behind when a predator has eaten the body.  Your case is different because the perpetrator did not eat the nutritious body, so it wasn’t hungry.  We suspect a house cat might be responsible for your mystery.

Subject:  Water bugs
Geographic location of the bug:  Arkansas
Date: 05/25/2019
Time: 10:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was out cleaning the pool because it hasn’t been cleaned since we moved in and I saw some weird looking bugs. I’ve never seen anything like them and I tried googling it but nothing showed up so you’re my last hope. I’m also very sorry that the pictures aren’t well lit but it’s all I have.
How you want your letter signed:  Chloe

Dragonfly Naiads

Dear Chloe,
These are the aquatic larvae of Dragonflies, commonly called naiads.  They are aquatic predators that will help to naturally control populations of Mosquitoes. 

Subject:  Black and yellow striped insect
Geographic location of the bug:  South Wales UK
Date: 05/26/2019
Time: 12:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this insect on my patio table in late may. Don’t know wether it relevant but we had just taken a large tree down.  Never seen one before.  It definitely jumps as it jumped straight at me.  Didn’t appear to be making any sounds.  Legs were definitely more of a red orangey colour.  What bug is this?
How you want your letter signed:  Yvonne the gardener

Wasp Beetle

Dear Yvonne the gardener,
Because it is such an effective mimic, this Longicorn in the family Cerambycidae,
Clytus arietis is commonly called a Wasp Beetle.  According to Nature Spot:  “It breeds in the decaying wood of deciduous trees. It can often be found in clear view, resting on leaves in low vegetation. Presumably its yellow and black colours warn off any predatory birds!”

Subject:  Strange looking housefly I saw in my garden
Geographic location of the bug:  Kelowna, British Columbia
Date: 05/27/2019
Time: 08:38 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I took a photo of this fly I saw on a plant while I was weeding my flower garden on May 24th 2019. It looks like a cross between a housefly and a ladybug. I took several photos, but in the first one you can see the line of black dots on it’s red back.
How you want your letter signed:  Samantha C.

Tachinid Fly

Dear Samantha,
This is a beneficial Tachinid Fly a member of a family of parasitoid flies with larvae that prey upon a variety of arthropods.  According to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars.”  We believe based on this BugGuide image, your individual is in the genus
Gymnosoma.  According to BugGuide:  “Hosts are Pentatomidae bugs.  Adults take nectar.”  Pentatomidae includes Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs, many of which are agricultural pests.  The Master Gardener Program of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a nice page on Tachinid Flies.

Subject:  Bright and Lonely in FL
Geographic location of the bug:  St. Petersburg, FL
Date: 05/21/2019
Time: 06:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello from sunny Florida! It’s springtime here and I found this bright and lonely guy  (or gal) hanging out by itself for literally hours on the aluminum railing of my porch. It didn’t seem to mind me walking by and taking a picture of it. I wonder if it’s sick/dying because it is in an odd place not reacting to much at all. It walks up and down but I haven’t seen it fly yet. I’m not sure exactly what species this is, although it appears to be some sort of beetle. Of note, there is a small spider that created a web in the corner of my porch ceiling. I’m not sure if maybe the spider is after this unusual looking beetle or if the beetle is after it and that’s maybe why it’s creeping so slowly! Help with identification and info on if I should be worried about anything like harm to my house, plants or the poor lonely beetle itself, would be greatly appreciated! 🙂
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks so much! ~Alicia

Longjawed Longhorn Beetle

Dear Alicia,
This magnificent beetle is a Longjawed Longhorn Beetle,
Dendrobias mandibularis, and the smaller mandibles indicate this is a female.  The males have very impressive mandibles.  According to BugGuide:  “Hosts: Citrus, Parkinsonia, Salix, Celtis.

Subject:  What is this huge bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Dorohoi, Romania
Date: 05/20/2019
Time: 07:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Very large black beetle like with claws…. scary looking. Interested to know what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Leah

Stag Beetle

Dear Leah,
The gorgeous male Stag Beetle,
Lucanus cervus, was immortalized by German artist Albrecht Dürer in 1505 and is pictured on the Getty site.  This is a perfectly harmless species