From the monthly archives: "July 2019"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wood boring bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Berlin Center Ohio
Date: 07/24/2019
Time: 11:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My friend found these on her grandchildren’s swing set wooden post. She wants to know what they are? And if they are poisonous or a danger to her grandchildren. I’ve search every where and can not find anything. She told me that they don’t fly or jump because one of her grandchildren sprayed them with a water gun and they crawled away extremely fast.
How you want your letter signed:  MissMiss91


Dear MissMiss91,
These are benign Barklice, and they will not harm your friend’s grandchildren, nor will they destroy the swing set as they are not wood boring insects.  They are often found on the bark of old trees and on old unpainted fences and other wooden structures where they feed on lichens.  Barklice are commonly called Tree Cattle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth or cockroach?
Geographic location of the bug:  Niagara Falls Ontario, rural.
Date: 07/25/2019
Time: 12:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, maybe you can help? I’m just curious to see if this is a moth, beetle, or cockroach. Hopefully not a cockroach.
How you want your letter signed:  J


Dear J,
This is neither a moth nor a Cockroach, but it is a Beetle.  It is a Firefly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Huge caterpillar!
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern California
Date: 07/26/2019
Time: 03:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I have never seen this large of a caterpillar ever, not in the great outdoors nor in a museum! It was happily munching on our green tomatoes. It was 3/4” thick and almost 3 inches long. Was incredible! Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, Aimee

Tobacco Hornworm

Dear Aimee,
Have you been growing tomatoes for many years?  Most gardeners who grow tomatoes are familiar with the Tobacco Hornworm, the larva of the Carolina Sphinx,
Manduca sexta, which feeds on the leaves and occasionally fruit of tomatoes and other related plants.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for this! I have, but have never seen a caterpillar like this! 🙂 Are both moths and butterflies called “caterpillars” in this stage?
Thank you,
Hi again Aimee,
The larvae of both butterflies and moths are commonly called caterpillars, but some caterpillars have more specific names like the Hornworms of the family Sphingidae, the group to which your Tobacco Hornworm belongs, and that name refers to the caudal horn found on many members of the family.  After the caterpillar stage, both butterflies and moths have a pupal stage, commonly called a chrysalis for butterflies, and cocoon for a moth when the pupa is encased in a silken housing.  Generally speaking, the Caterpillars of moths are bigger than the caterpillars of butterflies, and some of the largest North American caterpillars are the Hickory Horned Devil and the Fig Sphinx caterpillar.  In Northern California, other large caterpillars you might encounter are the Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar and the Ceanothus Silkmoth Caterpillar.
Ah, I see, that is great to know. Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What type of fly is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Brantford, Ontario
Date: 07/26/2019
Time: 11:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman,
I am hoping that you can help me identify this fly. I was leaning toward a type of syrphid fly but could not find a match online. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  Dan

Signal Fly (left) and Red Milkweed Beetle

Dear Dan,
The image of the Fly with the Red Milkweed Beetle is an easier image for identifying purposes as it clearly shows the wing pattern on this Signal Fly in the genus
Rivellia which we determined thanks to images posted to BugGuide where it states the habitat is “on foliage, feces.”  We tried to determine if there is a relationship between Signal Flies and milkweed, and we located this BugGuide image and this BugGuide image and on The Pathless Wood we found an image and this information:  ” I did come across this interesting fly in my search, however, and later determined it is some sort of Signal Fly, a member of the Genus Rivellia. These flies are often difficult to identify from photographs alone; they are quite small, and identification depends on the presence or absence of tiny hairs called setae on the dorsal thorax, as well as the colour pattern of the wings and legs. They get their name from their patterned wings, which they tend to wave around as if signalling other individuals. I didn’t see this behaviour as this individual rested on an unopened milkweed blossom, so I was immediately taken with the unique pattern of its otherwise clear wings.”   So, for some reason, Signal Flies are attracted to milkweed, but we are not certain why.  Are there soybean fields nearby?  Your individual reminds us quite a bit of the Soybean Nodule Fly, Rivellia quadrifasciata, which is also pictured on BugGuide.

Mating Signal Flies

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for this information. There was a soybean field right next to this patch of milkweed so I think it may be safe to say Rivellia quadrifasciata is a match. I’ve seen other flies exhibit this behaviour of waving their wings around. Now I know where to start when trying to identify them.
Thanks again!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  hanging-thief in Western MA?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northampton, MA
Date: 07/25/2019
Time: 10:25 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I saw this bug in a parking lot near my house and thought it was a crane fly until it settled down and I got a good look at it. This is the best photo I could get before it flew off. (It’s hard to tell in this lighting but its eyes were green.) Doing some image searches has left me pretty sure it’s some kind of hanging-thief robber fly. Anyway I’ve never seen one of these before and I thought it was neat!
How you want your letter signed:  Matthew D.

Hanging Thief

Dear Matthew D.,
We agree with your identification of this Hanging Thief, a Robber Fly in the genus Diogmites.  Your subject line appears to question if their range includes Maryland and according to BugGuide data, they are found over much of eastern North America.  We are not sure if your research produced the etymology of the common name which refers to the Hanging Thieves’ habit of eating while hanging from one leg.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is living on my marijuana plant?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/25/2019
Time: 09:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
In addition to the predatory Green Lynx Spiders and California Mantids I have living on my pot plants, I now found this impressive guy.  So, is this a friend or foe in my garden?  Right after I took the photos, it flew away.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Leaf Footed Bug: Leptoglossus zonatus

Dear Constant Gardener,
This big True Bug is one of the Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus.  Based on BugGuide, where it states “Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive.  Also has a zigzagging white band across the wings (like some other species).  Expansions of the hind tibiae are also much larger and more jagged than most other species.”, it is Leptoglossus zonatus.  This is a plant feeding species, and it has a proboscis designed to pierce the plant and suck its juices.  BugGuide also states:  “Highly polyphagous” which is an indication that if it was on your Cannabis, it was probably feeding.

Leaf Footed Bug? Leptoglossus zonatus

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination