A Better Picture and A Potato Bug Question
I sent you a picture of a bug that we have been trying to identify a few days ago. I got a better picture today and thought I would pass it along. I have looked in grasshoppers, wasps, leaf hoppers, and a few other sections on your site to try to find it’s identity. I have another question for you that I have been searching for the answer to for a long time. Why do potato bugs exist? Do they have a purpose? They freak me out in a way that nothing else does. I am hoping if I can find their purpose, I can accept their existence. Thanks for your great website! I have spent lots of time here since I discovered it last week.
Laura’s Original Email
(04/25/2008) Can you tell me about this insect?
One of my hobbies is identifying bugs in my garden. This one has me stumped. I live in Sacramento, CA and I have only seen these guys cruising on our teepee made of crepe myrtle. They are reddish with yellow stripes. I have seen them range from 1/2 to 1 inch long. They first popped up about 1 month ago. I have lived in this area for 10 years and never seen them before. Can you give me any information about these guys? Thanks!
p.s. The pictures are not great. I can try to get a better one if it would be helpful. They move fast!
This response has been on our back burner since your original email. Thanks for sending a more in focus photo. We believe this is a Red Headed Ash Borer, Neoclytus acuminatus, but the map of submissions on BugGuide doesn’t show any reports in California. There are reports in Washington State and Texas. There are other closely related species found in California, but your photo does appear to be the Red Headed Ash Borer. Our quick web research has been unable to determine if there are reports of the Red Headed Ash Borer in California. Perhaps one of our readers can be more definite. The Potato Bug is part of that mysterious web of connectivity known as the Balance of Nature.