From the monthly archives: "August 2019"

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  NW corner Connecticut
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 07:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Looking for an ID. Consulted the Exec Director of Audubon here in CT and he did not know.
How you want your letter signed:  Lori Welles

Introduced Pine Sawfly Larva

Dear Lori,
We thought this was going to be an easy identification, but more than an hour later, we can state unequivocally that we were way wrong.  Our mistake began by not looking at your image that closely, and thinking we were trying to identify one of the Hooded Owlet Caterpillars in the genus
Cuculia, but after ponderously searching BugGuide, we realized we were wrong.  Our search next took us to The Moth Photographers Group where the Zebra Caterpillar looks similar, but not the same, and the Scribbled Sallow Moth Caterpillar pictured on The Moth Photographers Group and the Toadflax Brocade Moth Caterpillar, also pictured on The Moth Photographers Group also looked similar but not the same.  The solid black head on your individual and the round yellow lateral spots were quite distinctive and not found on any caterpillars we could locate.  Something about the head did not seem right, so we decided to count prolegs, and there appear to be seven pairs, which caused us to think this must be a Sawfly larva.  According to ThoughtCo: “Caterpillars may have up to five pairs of abdominal prolegs (tiny limbs) but never have more than five pairs. Sawfly larvae will have six or more pairs of abdominal prolegs.”   Once we searched for Sawfly larvae, we came to Wildlife Insight where we found images that match your individual that are identified as Diprion similis.  Armed with that information, we returned to BugGuide and located matching images of the Introduced Pine Sawfly larva, but the individual in your image does not appear to be eating pine.  Upon what plant did you find it?  According to BugGuide:  “hosts: pines (Pinus); 5-needled pines (Subg. Strobus) are preferred, but others may be infested as well.”  This BugGuide image contains the information:  “This one was on a poplar plant, and the other was eating oak leaves.”  Thank you for submitting this challenging identification request.

This was feeding on Cosmos. Glad it was a challenge as many friends including the Exec director of Audubon here in CT. could not ID.
LBW
Welles, The Ballyhack

Subject:  Pretty spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Anastasia island, Florida
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 08:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m pretty sure I know what this is, but would like a second opinion please!
How you want your letter signed:  JPerry

Golden Silk Spider

Dear JPerry,
The Golden Silk Spider,
Nephila clavipes, takes its common name from the golden color of the incredibly strong silk with which it weaves its web.

Subject:  Moth? in Michigam
Geographic location of the bug:  Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 05:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, looking for help with identification.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank You!!! JO

Questionmark

Dear JO,
This is not a Moth.  It is a newly eclosed butterfly, and that is its chrysalis in the background.  The common name for this butterfly is the Questionmark, a name that refers to the silver ?-shaped mark on the lower wings.

Subject:  Beetle identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Oklahoma City, OK
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 12:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this beetle? Found it in my house. Wondering if this is what killed one of my trees! Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Oklahoma Beetle

Ocellated Tiger Beetle

This harmless, predatory Tiger Beetle did not kill your tree.  We believe we have correctly identified it as an Ocellated Tiger Beetle thanks to this Gossamer Tapestry image and this BugGuide image.  We will be tagging this submission as Unnecessary Carnage in an effort to educate the public that every insect encountered is not a threat.

Cara on Facebook Asks:  Why do people kill first, then ask questions?!

Subject:  Fuzzy Buzzy Bee
Geographic location of the bug:  23454 – Va Beach, VA
Date: 08/18/2019
Time: 05:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve noticed a new pollinator in our gardens this summer but don’t recognize the species.  I’m estimating 20-25MM in length, fairly robust, but not “chunky” like a bumble bee.  I saved one in our pool and grabbed a couple closeups of their uniquely colored eyes.  He/she flew away safely  :-]
How you want your letter signed:  W/ appreciation

Perplexing Bumble Bee

Based on this BugGuide image, we believe this is a Perplexing Bumble Bee, Bombus perplexus.  Additional images and information can be found on Discover Life.

Thank you for the response.  I see many similarities, however the size, shape, and coloring of the eyes do not correspond.  Head scratcher.  :-]

Ed Note:  See Eastern Carpenter Bee

Subject:  Bee/wasp-like insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Kingston, NJ
Date: 08/17/2019
Time: 04:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  In the last week these bees have appeared in an area of our yard that is very dry with browned grass. All of a sudden they have bored holes in the ground with mounds of dirt around them. These bees are larger than most, seem non-aggressive but are wrecking the area around our patio. Today I noticed them attempting to move some dead cicadas towards the openings. Is there a way to rid the area of the bees(don’t want to kill them) and get them to relocate? We have lived here for 40 years and have never seen any bees like these? I would welcome all info.
How you want your letter signed:  Beelover, Liz

Cicada Killer

Dear Beelover Liz,
This is not a bee.  The Cicada Killer is a species of solitary Wasp that has a life cycle that lasts a year.  Upon emergence in early summer, a female Cicada Killer mates and then spends several weeks hunting Cicadas to provision an underground nest with food for her brood.  The larvae feed on the paralyzed, but still living Cicadas, and then pupate, emerging in early summer to begin the cycle again.  You will only be “troubled” by their digging for a short time longer.  We are having a hard time believing you discovered that trove of Cicadas on your walk.  We suspect they might have been excavated, destroying the underground nest along with a future generation of Cicada Killers.

A Trove of Paralyzed Cicadas