From the monthly archives: "July 2020"

Subject:  Black fly, yellow stripe on head
Geographic location of the bug:  Westfield, MA, USA
Date: 07/11/2020
Time: 01:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We have a hybrid hydrangea that blooms through July.  Some days there are many dozens of insects enjoying the blooms.  I cannot identify this one.
How you want your letter signed:  Steveb

Featherlegged Fly

Dear Steveb,
This is one of the parasitoid Tachinid Flies in the genus
Trichopoda which are known as the Featherlegged Flies, and it is probably Trichopoda lanipes which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it preys on Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae.

Subject:  Identify red flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  North florida
Date: 07/11/2020
Time: 03:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Red flying insect with legs like a mosquito and a curved back end with what looks like pinchers and tiger like wings:  Rudy caramadre


Dear Rudy,
This unusual looking insect is commonly called a Scorpionfly, and despite its name and appearance, it is quite harmless.  Based on information posted to BugGuide, all North American Scorpionflies are in the family Panorpidae and genus

Subject:  Weird flying bug wandering aimlessly, crawls fast
Geographic location of the bug:  Northwest Michigan
Date: 07/11/2020
Time: 05:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Kinda a scary bug. Not sure if it’s a wood eater looking to destroy my house?  An earwig?  Does it bite or sting?  He kept circling me and landing near me and chasing me. Maybe he just had a missing antennae and couldn’t steer
How you want your letter signed:  C

Gold and Brown Rove Beetle

Dear C,
Few people would recognize this as a Beetle, because it does not resemble most beetles.  This is a Gold and Brown Rove Beetle,
Ontholestes cingulatus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Eggs are laid near carrion or fungi; pupate in chambers in soil nearby”  It will not harm your home.

Subject:  Long flying bug
Geographic location of the bug:  SOutheastern PA
Date: 07/11/2020
Time: 06:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What’s this scary looking critter? Not a super good flyer.
How you want your letter signed:  Jon Kern

Female Dobsonfly

Dear Jon,
We love this unusual camera angle you used to depict this female Dobsonfly.  Dobsonflies are one of our most common summer identification requests.  Male Dobsonflies are even more impressive looking.

Subject:  Prehistoric Wasp-ish Bug Creature ID
Geographic location of the bug:  Leming, TX, USA
Date: 07/08/2020
Time: 08:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman, I have seen the attached waspish creature here in the Texas Brush Country in summers past. It’s about 1.5-2 inches tall, and it looks like it’s wearing a fuzzy sweater vest. Just seems to sit there and stare at me, hence the desire to know something about my observer. Thanks a bunch in advance, Bugman.
How you want your letter signed:  Debbie LV

Robber Fly: Possibly Saropogon hypomelas

Dear Debbie,
This is one impressive predatory Robber Fly, and Texas has its share of giant Robber Flies.  We believe your individual is in the genus
Saropogon, possibly Saropogon hypomelas which is pictured on BugGuide.

Hi Daniel, WOW! I am so glad to know we have an obviously well-fed beneficial! That eats grasshoppers and grasshopper eggs! I will be sure to express appreciation instead of abject fear when next we meet.Thank you so much for your reply.

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Chester,CT
Date: 07/05/2020
Time: 11:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this beautiful moth when I was out walking last week.  I am not sure the exact name of this bug, hoping you can help!
How you want your letter signed:  Heather S.

Pandorus Sphinx

Dear Heather,
This beauty is a Pandorus Sphinx, and according to iNaturalist:  “Female adults lay translucent eggs singly on leaves of the host plant, mainly
Vitis (grapes), and Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper). Caterpillars are large, green or red with a swollen third thorax segment into which the head and first two thoractic segments can be drawn. The abdomen has a small white spot on the second segment, and big white oval spots the last five spiracles. They also have the characteristic “horn” at the end of the abdomen, until it is replaced by a button in its last instar. Larvae consume copious amounts of foliage, and when they are ready they climb down their host plant and burrow underground, where they pupate. The pupa is dark brown in color, quite slender, and has a long cremaster. There the pupa will remain for either a couple of weeks or a couple of months, depending on the generation. When the pupa is ready, it wiggles to the surface just prior to eclosion. The newly emerged adults then climb on a plant or some other surface, and pump fluid into their wings to extend them. Females emit pheromones at night, and males fly into the wind to pick up and track the pheromone plume. “