About What’s That Bug

What’s That Bug? served over 900,000 page views in July to almost 250,000 unique visitors. We generate revenue to pay for hosting, expert entomologists, and bandwidth costs when visitors click on ads on our site and when they click through affiliate links such as Amazon.com. Whats That Bug? is a labor of love, although there are definite costs to keeping it running. Please keep this in mind as you browse the site.

Daniel Marlos, aka The Bugman
Daniel Marlos, aka The Bugman (photo by Luca Loffredo)

Daniel Marlos, The Curious World of Bugs author and The Bugman on the internet sensation What’s That Bug?, cannot find any problematic pests in his vegetable garden in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Carrots and onions, seen flowering in the background, are both known to attract beneficial insects like wasps and syrphid flies.  The adult wasps and syrphid flies feed on the nectar and pollen from the flowers, and their larvae eat garden pests like caterpillars, crickets and aphids.


“What’s That Bug?” began in 1998 when my longtime collaborator Lisa Anne Auerbach asked me to write a column for a fledgling photocopied zine entitled “American Homebody” and I proposed insect identification as the subject matter. I justified the decision by stating matter-of-factly that “Everybody wants to know what’s that bug?” and that mantra has proven true through the years. I nostalgically dredged up an early childhood interest in insects as my source of inspiration and I assumed the persona of the Bugman.

When the column went online a few years later, I proceeded to respond to the web browsing readership’s letters and photographs, attempting to identify the curiosities encountered in the home, lurking on the tomato plants or spotted while on holiday in Costa Rica.

In 2002 “What’s That Bug?” became a unique website and through the years, I have tried to promote an appreciation of the natural world around us, especially a tolerance of insects and their relatives.

A network of faithful readers began to form, and soon those readers began to offer suggestions for unidentified and mystery specimens with links to other websites containing evidence of identification verification. The readership’s fascination with the mating habits of insects, the intricacies of the food chain and the appalling number of images depicting unnecessary carnage all resulted in a further subcategorization of letters within the archive, each producing a tagged component of the website.

The fragility of our planet and the interconnectivity of all life forms continue to be driving forces behind the ecology minded tone promoted at What’s That Bug?

Daniel Marlos, AKA The Bugman

53 thoughts on “About What’s That Bug”

  1. Hello, my wife and I live in Toronto, ON in a condo and for 4-5 weeks recently we’ve seen these very small (1-2 millimeter wide, 3-4 millimeters long) fairly slow moving and fairly quick to die as for every 2 live ones we’ll find 5 dead ones, usually not together. When they are alive and we kill them, there is a hard shell/crunch to them (I have many/several pictures of them up close and dead lying in a group of 8-10). Can you please advise or let me know firstly if you can help us identify these by any chance? I am not sure if your team could be of any help, but we are hoping you can give us some information! Happy Easter as well….thank you!

    Can I possibly send you pictures for your help to ID them? I’ll look some more on your website as well to find a space to upload my pic. Sincerely – Jeff & Tara

  2. We live in the country outside Montevallo, Alabama. We have these bugs that buzz around the ground in droves. They make small holes in the ground with small dirt mounds. The mounds look like single small ant mounds. I was able to see part of one it was small had the back body like a wasp and it was dark brown in color. I have been around wasp most of my life and so has my 83 year old Dad , he said he has never seen this before. Can you help?

  3. I really love your site and I’ve managed to scare myself silly when I clicked on a pic of a potato bug, aka Jeruslame cricket. I nofwhave a place to go when I need a bug/creature identified.
    Thanks a bunch 😀

  4. Dear Sir,
    Can u send me your email . So that i can send u the pic of one centipeda .which has antena on the head side, So i just want to know that is it harmfull for human beings. .. I tried to find out but no one is able to find the name .



  5. Am working on a YA novel that features a number of insects and spiders, and hope to have it out via Createspace on Amazon in about a year—that or I’ll go mad. It’s like working on a term paper that never ends! Anyway, how would I advertise on your website, and what are your rates? I have submitted two WTB entries in the past (carrion beetle with mite passengers, and triops).

  6. Thank you so much for all of your work with this site. I have a very curious child who brings me jars of bugs constantly. It’s really nice to have this to help him identify his specimens. He sits in complete silence and studies them with a magnifying glass while I read him the tid bits of information I find. Encouraging education and imagination are important to us, and his bug fascination has only flourished since finding your site. It’s very much appreciated.

  7. Like Tori (October 14), my daughter and two boys keep me busy investigating new visitors to our yard. First rule–There will be absolutely no killing of bugs at this house ( rule includes any friends that come over too). Second rule–Look it up! WTB is our FAVORITE place to look for answers! I come from a “Squish It” family, so your zero tolerance for bug deaths makes me look a little less nutty to my children as I am moving bugs off the sidewalk etc… THANK YOU! It shows that you love what you do.

    • We got a great laugh out of your comment. Anyone who would use our editorial staff as the standard by which to measure the lack of nuttiness must be something of a kook. We are so happy you find our site helpful.

      • Hi, I was in my greenhouse and noticed a bug. That was on my rosemary, I didn’t get a chance to catch a photo; Although can still picture it. It the shape of a ladybug just more dome shape – with bluish vilote shapes on its side of the wing – the top was white like opal – body was red like burgandy and had a bluish violet line in center of wings. Only going half way then stopping in middle of wings, wings (v) out ward; exsposing the reddish body. The legs where also close together in groups of 4 on each side those red to.

        Hopefully it’s enough.. I still keep an eye out with a camera!

  8. I learned about this website from another mom, on the way to a school field trip today. Great information, great website, but I am viewing this site with one eye open, one eye closed (like I view horror movies). Scorpions, spiders, and flying cockroaches completely freak me out! Is there ANY bug that you have encountered that gives you the creeps? If so how do you continue your work and end the bug phobia?

    • What an unusual question for us. Personally, we are not fond of the Argentine Ant invasions that we are frequently subjected to during the dry summer months at our Los Angeles location. Argentine Ants have a way of entering dwellings through the tiniest of openings, and if any food, including pet food, is not cleared away immediately, one can count on an army of the pesky critters discovering the feast. Many an otherwise pleasant morning has been spoiled by having to clear Argentine Ants from the kitchen sink or floor.

  9. Wow, those darn sugar ants, they are plentiful here in suburban Atlanta too! Last summer when they were very active, the only thing that worked for us was calking, spray foam sealant, and gorilla tape(millitary grade duct tape). After thorough sealing of cracks and crevices, we no longer saw them in our home.

  10. Oh, sorry no other suggestions then. I do have to say it is kind of conforting to know that the experts tend to suffer the same issues with sugar ants as the rest of us, so as I purchase more spray foam and tape for this summer, I won’t feel I am over reacting. I really thought your answer would have been some rare, strange and dangerous insect with a venous bite that could cause ebola like symptoms (that would truly be frightful), but hopefully nothing like that exist. I wish you cool breezes and an ant free environment this summer!

  11. My grandson sent a photo of a very interesting bug found in Bucerias, MX, near Puerto Vallarta. I follow several mothing, butterfly and insect sites but can’t find much coverage for Mexico. Do you have any suggestions of sites which may apply? I’ve roughly (several hours worth of searching!) narrowed it down to a Squash Bug but can’t find any images that display the amazing coloration and unusual leg parts of this particular insect.

  12. I did and was thrilled with first of all, getting an ID so quickly, and then to have the photo featured as a Bug of the Month was very special. Even more so since my grandson is travelling with his mother in Mexico for a year and is keeping up with his photography classes at Tech Voch while he’s away. He was very happy to submit the image to his teacher!

  13. Thank you for sharing your beautiful images on the web. I am writing a series of online books on Bryophyte Ecology . This is a no-budget/no profit project sponsored by the International Association of Bryologists in the hope of introducing the roles of this group in ways amateurs and professionals can understand. I am writing to ask your permission to use one or more of your beautiful images from What’s That Bug. In particular, I would like to use the images from “Frank” of Nicarchus erinaceus (7 January 2014), but I would also like your permission to use others I might find. If you can help me contact him, I would appreciate it.
    Frank will of course be given credit for the images.
    Thank you so much for your help.
    Best wishes,
    Janice Glime

    • Hi Janice,
      thanks for your kind words about our site. In the past, we have handled similar requests by asking you to post your request as a comment on the actual posting. The particular request you have is so recent, we might be able to locate Frank’s contact information. In the event that we cannot locate Frank’s information, our submission form contains the disclaimer that we may publish letters and images on our site and on authorized publications. We understand that Frank owns the copyright to the images, but if you credit Frank and indicate “courtesy of What’s That Bug?” we can provide you with the permission and provide the higher resolution images we originally received. Sadly, in most cases, we cannot actually contact a person who submits images. If you feel comfortable with that, please include your request as a comment on the correct posting.

  14. Hi Daniel,

    I found your site while surfing internet to find some photos to show to a client.

    I’m sure you may have been told before by others but just want to let you know by myself.
    This site is so much useful for pest control community. Thanks for doing this. keep up your good work.

  15. We live in UK , Thornton Hough semi rural house backs on to fields. Can you help we are finding brown beetle like bugs about 5mm and can fly. Found on carpets/ bedrooms/ bedding/wardrobes/cupboards. Can send a picture. Could you identify.

  16. Should I worry about little roaches in my bed even though I keep killing them? And how can I get rid of tem for good?

  17. I’m trying to submit a bug for identification but the page won’t submit. I click the button and all I see is a spinning circle that never stops. Any suggestions or is there an e-mail by which I can submit the photos? Thank you!

  18. Can you please send me Chris email address [Entypus unifasciatus; August 7, 2017; “dragging a large spider across my driveway. Have pics if interested]? I would like to look at his images in order to make a spider identification. Thank you very much.

  19. I hope you will be able to help in my submission “odd beetle”. I know y’all are busy but it is interesting to read about all of the bugs people have submitted! Awesome!

  20. Chris email address [Entypus unifasciatus; August 7, 2017; “dragging a large spider across my driveway. Have pics if interested]? I would like to look at his images in order to make a spider identification. Thank you very much.

  21. Hello my name is Kristyn, I am the owner of StudioKwebdesign.com I came across your website after finding two mydas flies in my yard. I would love to help support your cause by helping you with your website (I find myself looking up strange bugs more than I care to admit lol). If you ever want some fresh eyes to look at your site or need any help with updates please do not hesitate to email me. Have a great day!

  22. Hi!

    Nice to e-meet you!

    I’d love to contribute an article to the What’s That Bug blog, is that possible? I’ve created awesome content for other sites about getting rid of pests from your lawn and natural remedies to control them. I’d be honored to do the same for you!

    I’m happy to send over some ideas, what are you thinking?


  23. Dear Daniel,
    I would like permission to use your photo of the Titan stick insect, Acrophylla titan, in an article I am writing on the international trade in arthropods, to be published in the Encyclopedia of Conservation next year. If you approve, please let me know how you would like the caption to read.
    Thanks for your consideration,
    Professor Scott Elias
    University of London (retired)

    • Hi Scott,
      OF course will will allow permission to use. Please place your request as a comment to the posting with the images you want to use. Daniel can hunt for a higher resolution image for you.

  24. Hi, I found an Elephant Hawkmoth in amongst my large patch of lilies around our garden pond yesterday, July 4/23, in south Surrey, B.C. My friend ID’d this beautiful creature for me. It remained on the same plant all day, then I read that they feed from dusk to dawn. He has flown away this morning. I did take a few photos yesterday but I cannot upload them to share.


Leave a Comment