From the monthly archives: "August 2019"

Subject:  Bugs rescued from pool
Geographic location of the bug:  Huntsville, AL
Date: 08/21/2019
Time: 02:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found several of these swimming around in our pool.  They are obviously water bugs if some variety, but my guess is they are immature, making them harder to identify.  Any clues to what they might grow up to be?
How you want your letter signed:  Brown family

Dragonfly Naiads

Dear Brown family,
These are Dragonfly Naiads, the aquatic larval stage.  If they are allowed to grow in your pool, you will have adult flying Dragonflies after their final metamorphosis.

Dragonfly Naiad

Subject:  I found evidence of a Budworm on My Woody Plant
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 08/20/2019
Time: 4:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
I was inspecting the nugs of My Woody Plant when I discovered evidence of Budworms on two colas.  I’ve learned so much since I submitted an image of a Budworm two years ago.  I immediately harvested both and set up a three bowl wash of first hydrogen peroxide in water, second lemon juice & baking soda in water, and finally a water rinse.  While trimming the cola, I discovered a silken chamber with a .3 inch bronze-backed Jumping Spider that I carried back to the garden to the plant I just trimmed, talking to it as it jumped from one hand to the next, back and forth.  Sorry, I didn’t have a camera at the time, so no photo of the spider.  I finished cutting out all the caterpillar fouled portions of two buds, but I never found the caterpillar.  Do you think the caterpillar moved from one cola to the next where it encountered the lair of the Jumping Spider that promptly ate it?  I didn’t want to count on predators to control these dreaded Budworms, so I followed the advice of Mel Frank and promptly sprayed my plants with Bt, a naturally occurring bacteria that causes the caterpillars to stop eating so they eventually die, and it is not a pesticide so it doesn’t harm my predators, like spiders and mantids.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Budworm damage on Cannabis

Dear Constant Gardener,
We will probably catch some flack from some Facebook followers for highlighting another Cannabis posting.  Thank you for sharing your organic Caterpillar prevention strategy as well as your saving a tainted crop strategy.  We found information on The Cannabis Grower that states the Budworm will “burrow into your buds and eat them from the inside. You’ll have no idea they’re even there until you see a bud that looks a little off…one leaf is dying, or the bud looks dried out, somewhat similar to the symptoms of bud rot. If you see this, you must inspect the bud. Take the leaf or bud and pull it away from the plant until you can see all around it. Look for sand-grain sized balls that are black or brown. That’s caterpillar poop, and you have a problem. The good news is that you can usually find the worm by following the poop around the buds until you find the worm or the hole he’s in. The bad news is you MUST find that worm, otherwise he’ll just keep eating and eating into your buds.”  Regarding the possibility that the Jumping Spider ate the Budworm, we suppose that is entirely possible, especially since you did not fine the culprit.


Subject:  What butterfly or moth is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, CA
Date: 08/20/2019
Time: 11:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this little one while gardening. I was curious about the species. I’ve seen many swallowtails lately but not this one. I couldn’t find anything in a google search.
How you want your letter signed:  Vic

Funereal Duskywing

Dear Vic,
This is one of the Duskywing Skippers in the genus
Erynnis, probably the Funereal Duskywing which is pictured on BugGuide.  Daniel has been seeing Funereal Duskyings in his Mount Washington garden on composite flowers including sunflower for weeks.

Subject:  Scoliid wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  New Jersey
Date: 08/20/2019
Time: 12:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi I have 100’s of these flying Ober my grass in nj
I’m afraid for by dogs but I understand they don’t sting
How do I get rid of them?
How you want your letter signed:  Bob NJ

Blue Winged Wasp

Our automated response:  Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

Thank you
I think they’re scoliosis
1st thought they were Secada hawks

Dear Bob,
This is a Blue Winged Wasp, Scolia dubia.  Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine in humans.  You are correct that Scoliid Wasps are not aggressive and we strongly doubt they will sting you or your dogs.  Because the Blue Winged Wasps are so plentiful, there must be a large number of Scarab grubs in your lawn.  Many homeowners spend money to have their lawns treated with pesticides to eliminate the Scarab grubs.  You have a natural remedy.  We would choose the Blue Winged Wasps over pesticides.  We do not offer extermination advice.  We don’t want to even inquire about the circumstances leading to the death of this Blue Winged Wasp.

Subject:  What is this thing?
Geographic location of the bug:  North Carolina
Date: 08/15/2019
Time: 11:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, recently I found this very strange looking…wasp? Hornet? I don’t know. It was dead when I found it. I tried searching for what it might be online but couldn’t find anything with a matching description. I hope you can help!! Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Mack

Robber Fly

Dear Mack,
This is a large, predatory Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, but we do not recognize the species.  The black coloration is quite unusual for an eastern species.  It might be
Proctacanthus nigriventris which is pictured on BugGuide.  Your dorsal, lateral and frontal views are excellent for an expert’s ability to identify the genus and species, but alas, we do not possess that expertise.  Perhaps one of our readers will provide a less general identification.

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Subject:  Is this some type of very large wasp or hornet? Please help!
Geographic location of the bug:  St. Paul, Minnesota
Date: 08/13/2019
Time: 03:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!
This very large wasp/hornet-looking insect was on a tree in my front yard. It was at least 2 inches long, with a very thick/large stinger. The striping was almost an orange on it’s abdomen. Very curious what this is!
Thank you in advance
How you want your letter signed:  Sure

Pigeon Horntail

I think I just figured out what it is!
I believe it’s a Pigeon Horntail female. Apparently they lay eggs to feed on dying trees (which the tree it was on has died…).

Hi Matt,
You are correct.  This is an ovipositing Pigeon Horntail.