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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black and yellow bug
Geographic location of the bug:  NE Oklahoma
Date: 08/31/2018
Time: 08:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bugman-
Tgaese are invading myhome. They are everywhere – walls, ceilings counter tops and even floor.  It hasn’t bitten or stung any one. . . Yet.
How you want your letter signed:  Cyndiluwho

Striped Blister Beetle

Dear Cyndiluwho,
This is a Striped Blister Beetle,
Epicauta vittata, and according to BugGuide: “Feeds on variety of plants, especially Solanaceae (e.g., potatoes, tomatoes), also soybeans, other crops. Pigweed, Amaranthus species, not a crop plant, is also fed upon extensively.” This is an outdoor species that occasionally enters homes accidentally, so we don’t know why you are finding so many indoors.  According to Featured Creatures:  “The adults are most active during the morning and late afternoon, seeking shelter from the sun at mid-day. In particularly hot, arid climates they remain inactive during the day, confining their activity to the evening hours.”  That site also notes:  “Striped blister beetle is one of the most damaging of the blister beetles to vegetable crops in areas where it occurs. This is due to its feeding preferences, which include several common crops and greater preference for foliage than some other species; its propensity to feed on fruits of solanaceous plants; its relatively large size and voracious appetite; its strong tendency to aggregate into large mating and feeding swarms; and its high degree of dispersiveness, which can result in sudden appearance of large swarms of beetles. … The damage caused by Epicauta spp. blister beetles is offset, at least during periods of relatively low beetle density, by the predatory behavior of blister beetle larvae. Epicauta spp. larvae feed on the eggs of grasshoppers, including many crop-damaging Melanoplus spp. During periods of grasshopper abundance the number of blister beetles tends to increase substantially.”  Blister Beetles should be handled with caution since some species are capable of secreting a compound, cantharidin, that is known to cause blistering in sensitive individuals.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for September 2018.

Striped Blister Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s This Bug on my Super Lemon Haze hybrid?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 08:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I was out inspecting my garden this morning and discovered a new bug on my Super Lemon Haze hybrid.  Is this a friend or foe?  I am especially concerned as my plants are beginning to bud.
How you want your letter signed: Constant Gardener

Red Shouldered Stink Bug on Woody Plant

Dear Constant Gardener,
This is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and most members of the family feed on plants by piercing the surface and sucking fluids with a proboscis, while others are predatory and beneficial in the garden.  We quickly identified your individual as
Thyanta pallidovirens thanks to this BugGuide image, but unfortunately, BugGuide does not provide many specifics on the species or its feeding habits.  Encyclopedia of Life calls this species the Red Shouldered Stink Bug.  The University of California Integrated Pest Management System recognizes it as a pest of tomatoes and other crops, so our opinion is “foe.”

Stink Bug, Thyanta pallidovirens, on Woody Plant

Facebook Comment from Jason Stowe:
It seems the easiest way to get a question answered or a bug identified is to take it on a pot plant.

Rebuttal from Our Editorial Staff:
Over the years, we have created tags related to specific plants that have ecosystems associated with them, including Milkweed Meadow, Goldenrod Meadow and Tomato Bugs as well as the recently added What’s on my Woody Plant?, the latter focusing on insects found by home
Cannabis growers.  What’s That Bug? currently has 26,186 unique postings and only 33 are archived on the tag that targets Cannabis growers.  That represents .126% of our postings.  That said, Jason Stowe is exaggerating.  By comparison there are 973 postings currently archived on WTB? Down Under representing 3.72% of our postings, so, in fact, a far easier way to get something identified is to move to Australia.  Also, for the record, what we really hate identifying are victims of Unnecessary Carnage, yet we have identified 263 of them, and that is only the submissions we have posted and tagged, and does not take into consideration replies we have made but not posted.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed Note: We knew that we were getting close to our 25,000th posting for a few months now, and we decided to check today, but we were caught by surprise to find out we were at 24,999.  We decided to make this one special, a little different from our usual identification requests, so we decided to post the images Daniel just shot of a pair of California Mantids at the porch light, and perhaps to wax philosophically about what we hope we are accomplishing by publishing our humble site, now beginning its 16th year as a unique website.

Female California Mantis on the porch light

For years we have been running images, generally late in the season, of California Mantids attracted to the porch light to catch insects.  Male Mantids that can fly are much more common than are flightless females that have a more difficult time reaching the light, so this female was something of an anomaly.  Later in the day, she was joined by a male California Mantis who was probably attracted by her pheromones.  We thought we would take this opportunity with this significant milestone of 25,000 postings to expound a bit on our philosophy of a healthy ecosystem in the garden.  Mature predators like these Mantids catch larger insects, and adult Mantids are much more visible in the garden, but the real significance of having predators is the number of smaller insects they consume while growing.  Young Mantids, barely a centimeter in length hatch in the spring, and they perform an incalculable benefit with the large numbers of tiny insects they eat while growing.  Having a healthy population of predators in your garden throughout the year will help control many insect pests without the use of pesticides.

A pair of California Mantids

Though we have numerous identification request awaiting our attention, we have decided to take the rest of the day off and let our 25,000th posting stand alone today.  We will return tomorrow and we will try to catch up on unanswered mail.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

January 12, 2017
From Our Facebook Fans Regarding Angry Reader #12

Jeff Lanterman
January 12 at 10:56am
Did he think that was funny? Sometimes I don’t understand people.

Sean Gaukroger
January 12 at 12:59pm
Huh? Today’s Sphinx moth brought to you by the letter “F”?

Lisa Phillips
January 12 at 2:54pm
Thank you for the identification & sorry this person is rude. I myself look forward to your posts. Keep up your fascinating work 🐛

Heather Christensen
January 12 at 3:49pm
We love your posts! I have not yet submitted any critters needing identification, but my son and I always keep our eye out. This guy is a clown, and definitely deserves the coveted “Nasty Reader” title. Keep up the great work, we love you guys. 🐌🐛🐜🐝🐞🕷🦂

An angry reader gives us the finger

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Gentle Readers,
The editorial staff from What’s That Bug? will be away from the office for the holidays.  We will not be responding to any identification requests until 2017, but we have postdated submissions to go live to our site daily in our absence.  Enjoy the holidays.

Update:  January 2, 2017
We have returned and we are trying to catch up on all the emails that arrived while we were away.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Update:  June 17, 2016
We’re Back.

Subject:  We’re posting this image of a dead Ten Lined June Beetle being devoured by Argentine Ants and leaving town
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California

June 8, 2016 1:08 AM
Upon leaving the house this afternoon, we moved the garbage to the curb and discovered this dead Ten Lined June Beetle under the recycle bin.  We placed it on the fence so we could take an image upon returning.  Since it was dark, we needed to use the flash.  The beetle is being devoured by invasive Argentine Ants.  This is only the second Ten Lined June Beetle we have found in Mount Washington, and it is just shy of a year ago that we had the first Ten Lined June Beetle visit our office.  This is most likely our last posting prior to taking a week long holiday, during which time we will not be answering any identification requests.  We have postdated numerous submissions to go live during our absence.  We will return in mid-June, so kindly hold your requests until after June 17.

Ten Lined June Beetle devoured by Argentine Ants

Ten Lined June Beetle devoured by Argentine Ants

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination