From the yearly archives: "2020"

Subject:  Young Mantids
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/02/2020
Time: 6:05 PM EDT
Last November, while in Ohio, Daniel cleared some brush from his mother’s garden, and he discovered several Mantis oothecae on twigs and other places, including this tomato cage.  Daniel moved the tomato cage with the attached ootheca closer to the house where his mother grows potted plants each year.

Probably Chinese Mantis Ootheca

Earlier in July, Daniel’ mother informed him she saw two Mantids among her petunias and the other potted plants, and when Daniel arrived late in July, they were still there, very well camouflaged and prowling among the blossoms.

Immature, probably Chinese Mantid

Immature, probably Chinese Mantis

Subject:  Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/02/2020
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has been called out of town for a family emergency, and low and behold, he has finally entered the 21st Century by purchasing his first mobile phone, and he has been calling the iPhone 11 Pro he just bought his Magic Phone.  The magic phone takes gorgeous digital images, and Daniel has been taking images of the insects found in The Rust Belt.  Here are images of a male and female (blue scales on the underwings) Eastern Tiger Swallowtails that have been visiting the butterfly bush he is planting in his childhood front yard to replace the dead shrubs that are being removed.  Daniel apologizes for ignoring the numerous identification requests that have been flooding in, but family obligations are currently taking up most of his time.  Daniel hopes to also get some images of the Spicebush Swallowtails that he has seen in the past week.

The male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is smaller and lacks the blue scales on the underwings.

The larger female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has beautiful blue scales on the underwings.

Subject:  Botfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Byron center MI
Date: 07/19/2020
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I believe this is a type of botfly?
How you want your letter signed:  Evan

Rabbit Bot Fly

Hi Evan,
You are correct that this is a Bot Fly, and thanks to this image, we believe it is
Cuterebra abdominalis which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the host is cottontail rabbits.  Your images are awesome.

Rabbit Bot Fly

Subject:  Bumble Bee mimicking hoverfly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central New York
Date: 07/16/2020
Time: 05:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!
I was startled by what I thought was a bumblebee in my bedroom, until I started to scoop it up in a glass and carry it outside, and I realized it was something like a monstrous horsefly. After some internet searching, I see it is a hover fly, but cannot seem to find this species. For scale, the wires are half an inch apart.
Thanks for any help!
How you want your letter signed:  Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me

Rodent Bot Fly

Dear Shoo Fly,
This is actually a Rodent Bot Fly.

Subject:  Mystery butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY
Date: 07/15/2020
Time: 11:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Dispatch No. 3 from the Albany Pine Bush, with a real stumper (to me at least). Since you were so delighted with my Karner Blue butterflies a couple months ago, you’ll be happy to hear the second generation is now on the wing and the place is lousy with them. Everywhere you look, there is that flutter of blue (and sometimes they even hold still for us photographers!)
But Karner blues are old hat–this year I’ve been collecting hairstreaks. In addition to the Gray Hairstreak, which I’ve seen before, I’ve seen several Banded Hairstreaks and Coral Hairstreaks, new to me this year! Which leads me to my mystery: I stooped to photograph a butterfly a good distance away on a bush, and realized that although it looks like a hairstreak (and is about the same size), its markings don’t match anything in my field guide. (Naturally it disappeared before I could get any closer; the weird and rare ones never let me get a good photo, though as a rule I have found that hairstreaks are pretty patient about having a camera shoved in their face.)
For context, this was in an open area, gently sloping up from the trail, full of spotted knapweed, New Jersey tea (both very popular), and various other low grasses and bushes. There were a few other hairstreaks in the area, and a ton of Karner blues.
Any idea who my mystery hairstreak(?) was?
P.S. I’d be glad to send you photos of my other finds, if you’d like!
How you want your letter signed:  Susan B.

Possibly Eastern Tailed Blue

Hi Susan,
Have you entertained the possibility that this might be an Eastern Tailed Blue which is pictured on BugGuide.  That is our best guess at this time.

Subject:  Bee??
Geographic location of the bug:  Sw washington
Date: 07/10/2020
Time: 01:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What the heck is this?
How you want your letter signed:  Rochelle

Clearwing Moth

Dear Rochelle,
This is not a Bee, but your mistake is understandable.  This is actually a Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae, and many members of the family are very effective Wasp mimics.  We believe this might be an American Hornet Moth which is pictured on BugGuide, and the long ovipositor indicates this is a female.