From the monthly archives: "August 2019"

Subject:  Large fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Lincoln, MA
Date: 08/24/2019
Time: 11:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
This large fly (about an inch long) has been hanging around my deck for a few weeks.  It has an unusual habit of repeatedly darting at the railing when it hovers near the wood.  I am usually able to identify insects on-line, but have not had luck with this one.
How you want your letter signed:  Inconsistent naturalist

Tiger Bee Fly

Dear Inconsistent naturalist,
This is a Tiger Bee Fly and we get numerous identification requests for them each summer.  The female Tiger Bee Fly lays her eggs in the nest of Carpenter Bees, which might be the reason this individual is hovering year your wooden railing.  We love your action image.

Tiger Bee Fly

Subject:  Bright Orange Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Goshen, New Hampshire
Date: 08/23/2019
Time: 09:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I’ve been trying to figure out what this little guy might be, but I haven’t found anything. It’s bright orange with a single black stripe down the back. The head is white and has many small white dots down the body. I know you don’t respond to all submissions, so thank you if you read mine.
How you want your letter signed:  Haley

Elm Sawfly Larva

Hi Haley,
While this might look like a Caterpillar, it is actually an Elm Sawfly larva. According to the University of Wisconsin Madison Master Gardener Program site, the “Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, is a native species which feeds preferentially on elm and willow, but sometimes attacks maple, cottonwood, poplar, birch and other trees. This is one of the largest species of sawfly in North America with full-grown larvae ranging from 1½-2 inches long. The white, light gray, yellow or light green (and occasionally pink) larvae with a rough, pebbly texture have a black stripe running down the top of the body with a row of black dots (spiracles) on each side. They often curl up into a circle when not feeding on the leaves.”

Subject:  who is he little monster
Geographic location of the bug:  Araraquara-São Paulo, Brazil
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 09:51 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I would like to identify these beetles, they were very big sizes about 10+ centimeters. People here are afraid of them and call them “big cockroach”.
Nearby there are eucalyptus trees and lots of sugar cane.
I would like to know if they are rare, because these photos are from November 2018 and since then I have not seen any more here (the first beetle is slightly smaller than the second).
The first question is: are they dangerous?
What is his life time? what does he feed on? and how is his larval state?
How you want your letter signed:  Kainã

Root Borer

Dear Kainã,
This is one of the Root Borers in the subfamily Prioninae, and it looks similar to
Ctenoscelis ater which is pictured on Coleoptera Neotropical, but there is no information on the site regarding this beetle’s life cycle.  There is an image but no information on Prioninae of the World.  There is one sighting on iNaturalist.

Root Borer

Subject:  Is there a special name for this unusual wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Manchester, UK
Date: 08/22/2019
Time: 03:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
A friend of mine saw this wasp a few days ago and thought it was unusual, so he decided to take a picture. He has red feet and a bit of a long nose (the wasp, not my friend). I think he just looks like a normal wasp, but my friend wonders if there’s a special name for him.
Is he special? Or just a run-of-the-mill wasp?
How you want your letter signed:  The person who asked you about a boxelder bug 15 years ago


Dear person,
This looks to us to be a Yellowjacket.  According to CountryFile:  ”  What is the most common wasp species found in the UK?  The wasp in question is the yellowjacket (
Vespula vulgaris), the black and stripy species you often find yourself swatting away. The reputation of this and a few other species has tarred that of another 200,000.”  Social wasps like the Yellowjacket sting much more readily than do solitary wasps.  If we identified a Boxelder Bug for you 15 years ago, you have a very long history with our site.

Subject:  Grasshopper?
Geographic location of the bug:  Portland, OR
Date: 08/20/2019
Time: 05:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I took this photo of this beautiful insect and I wanted to know what exactly it is? My guess is a grasshopper.
Thank you!!
How you want your letter signed:  Jenn


Hi Jenn,
The quick answer is that this is a Katydid, and Katydids and Grasshoppers are in the same insect order Orthoptera.  The most obvious difference between Katydids and Grasshoppers is that Katydids have much longer antennae.  We are having difficulty determining the genus and species.  Your individual looks very similar to this image on Pacific Northwest Photography Forum, but it is only identified as a Katydid.  This might be a Bush Katydid in the genus
Scudderia which is profiled on BugGuide.  We will attempt to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a more definitive identification.

Subject:  What is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Lucedale, MS
Date: 08/21/2019
Time: 11:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have found 3 of this insect in my backyard. 2 were dead and last one was alive. Then, I found 3 holes in the ground possibly the same size as the insect. My dog started digging and sniffing at the holes and then ran as if it something scared him.
How you want your letter signed:  Trimica

Cicada nymph

Hi Trimica,
This is a Cicada nymph and it has been living underground for several years, so the holes you found might be associated with it.