From the monthly archives: "October 2019"

Subject:  Digging in the dirt!
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Nevada
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 03:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  While out to lay pavers in our yard we got to watch a fascinating insect we’d never seen before. We watched for some time as it dug in our soft dirt, buzzing in the hole, moving rocks (sometimes as large as it was!) and at one point it unearthed a grub of sorts! Biting it behind the head it held in… it didn’t appear to sting it, and eventually the grub ceased to move. For an hour we watched as our friend dig holes, and then moved on to another spot. On one hole we watched her start to fill it back in, going in to buzz excitedly, then back to digging. I have a couple of videos too, if you’re interested.
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Kristi Shaffer

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Dear Kristi,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the family Specidae, and the prey is a Cutworm.  The Wasp will not eat the Caterpillar.  Rather, the female Wasp has paralyzed the Caterpillar which it will bury and the paralyzed Caterpillar will provide food for the developing Wasp larva which will feed on the helpless, but living Caterpillar.  We believe we have correctly identified your Wasp as
Podalonia argentifrons thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are provisioned with caterpillars exclusively from the family Noctuidae.” 

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Subject:  Slug caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Ionia mi
Date: 10/24/2019
Time: 11:51 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was on my boat cover this summer which was parked under some walnut trees. Please help identify.
How you want your letter signed:  Ben

Skiff Moth Caterpillar

Dear Ben,
You have the Slug Moth Caterpillar Limacodidae correct.  This is a Skiff Moth Caterpillar,
Prolimacodes badia, and here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Your individual has much larger tubercles that those on most pictured specimens.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on leaves of wide variety of trees and shrubs, including birch, blueberry, cherry, chestnut, Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), oak, poplar, Sweetgale (Myrica gale), willow, and others” so we suppose “others” can include walnut.

Skiff Moth Caterpillar

Subject:  Nice specimen
Geographic location of the bug:  Gatineau, quebec canada, september
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 09:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this specimen in my pool when I noticed a lot of splashing. Seems it drops from my tree because of wind. Had a little mouth and big eyes.
How you want your letter signed:  Pat

Cicada Rescued from Pool

Dear Pat,
We were going to comment that this is a very late season sighting of a Cicada, and we realized you shot the image in September.  We do not recognize your Cicada.  It is quite dark in color, but we suspect it is one of the Annual Cicadas in the genus
Neotibicen which is well represented on BugGuide.  Because of your kindness in preventing this individual from drowning, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Cicada

Subject:  Land Shrimp
Geographic location of the bug:  Cleveland, OH
Date: 10/22/2019
Time: 12:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug jumped onto my face
From behind the glider on the porch. I took its picture after an almost-cardiac-event. It looks like a shrimp; with a humped-up curved body but has cricket qualities as well…ideas ?
How you want your letter signed:  Bee Bee Wee Pee

Camel Cricket

Dear Bee Bee Wee Pee,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae.  The first common name refers to the hump you observed and the second common name refers to this families preference for dark, damp locations, including basements. 

Subject:  Flying beetle????
Geographic location of the bug:  Cochrane, Alberta Canada
Date: 10/24/2019
Time: 03:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this walking along our window (inside)
How you want your letter signed:  Tracey

Ichneumon

Dear Tracey,
Those antennae lead us to believe that this is some species of Ichneumon, a family of parasitoid Wasps whose larvae feed on the internal organs of host-specific Arachnids and immature insects including Caterpillars, Beetle grubs and larvae of wood boring Wasps.  This is an enormous family with according to BugGuide:  “~5,000 described spp. in almost 500 genera in the Nearctic Region, possibly 3,000 more undescribed.”  We doubt it is your species because it is not reported as far north or west, but your individual does resemble 
Limonethe maurator which is pictured on BugGuide.

Subject:  Friend or Foe?
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California Foothills
Date: 10/23/2019
Time: 12:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hopefully this is an easy one. I am asking you to help identify these little guys. I do not want to miss identity a bug who is helping our cherry tomato plant. These showed up after the plant was established for several months.
Thank you for your time!
How you want your letter signed:  New guy

Immature Large Milkweed Bugs

Dear New guy,
These sure look to us like immature Large Milkweed Bugs and we do not believe they will harm your tomato plants.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Is there any milkweed growing nearby?  They are also sometimes found in association with oleander.