Currently viewing the category: "Administrative"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bug identified – Ichneumon wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  California – Yolo County
Date: 04/02/2018
Time: 10:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.” -Darwin
I recently asked about this insect I found in my laundry room. I thought it some type of crane fly at first, but the head was very different, no proboscis. Thought it pretty awesome that Darwin had mentioned it in a letter, makes me happy that he and I shared curiosity over the same insect.
How you want your letter signed:  TobyG

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear TobyG,
You are correct that this is an Ichnuemon, more specifically a Short Tailed Ichneumon in the genus
Ophion based on this BugGuide image, and not a Crane Fly.  Though most Ichneumons cannot sting humans, it is our understanding that this particular genus is capable of stinging, and we suspect that the reports we have received of stinging Crane Flies are actually Ichneumons.  We will be featuring you submission as our Bug of the Month for April 2018.

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Short Tailed Ichneumon

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  White-lined Sphinx Moth, I Believe
Geographic location of the bug:  Coryell County, Texas
Date: 03/20/2018
Time: 01:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello again! Hope you are both well!
This beautiful moth was literally at my feet when I went to check on the creeping phlox, and hahahahaha the proboscis! A built-in bendy-straw, amazing. I don’t know if it was pink from nectar or a reflection from the pink phlox, and perhaps the yellow was from carrying some pollen as well, or perhaps it was its natural color (?).
The phlox is a huge hit with the pollinators, and I’m glad we planted so much of it. It’s an early bloomer here in  centralTexas. We saw pipevine swallowtails and black swallowtails nectaring at the phlox also this month. Lovely!
A reference I found: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Hyles-lineata
Thank you and best wishes!
How you want your letter signed:  Ellen

Whitelined Sphinx

Hi Ellen,
It is so nice to hear from you after so much time.  Your images of a Whitelined Sphinx, AKA Striped Morning Sphinx, are gorgeous.  The underwings of the Whitelined Sphinx are actually pink, and not the result of any reflections.  We have fond memories of the summer phlox in Mom’s garden in Ohio back in the 1960s, and all the butterflies and diurnal moths they attracted.

Whitelined Sphinx

Thank you so much for the quick response and kind words! My poorly-written wondering was about the very-long proboscis. In several photos the proboscis actually looked pink at the flower end. I was wondering if the nectar itself is pink and showing through the membrane of the proboscis. The proboscis also seems to carry pollen in some of my photos. I apologize for the confusion, which I’ll blame either on my over-use of the pronoun “it”, the fact that I tend to ramble on too much,  or perhaps the late hour, or my amusement at the beautiful but very large and pink (!) moth.  The Sphinx makes me smile! Hopefully it will return again today.
Very best wishes to you both!
Ellen

Whitelined Sphinx

Thanks for the clarification Ellen, but alas, we don’t know the answer to your questions.  We have now included a close-up crop of your image to show the proboscis.  Part of the effect is due to the lighting.  The Whitelined Sphinx often flies at dawn and dusk, and since, according to our friend lepidopterist Julian Donahue, Sphinx Moths are relatively long lived, you might see this individual over the next few weeks, and you might even see more.  Periodically, in arid environments, the Whitelined Sphinx populations explode.  We have found as many as eight or more individuals at our screen door some mornings.

What causes the color on the proboscis???

Eight moths at once, amazing! Your memories of phlox in the garden from when you were a child, wonderful. It’s a new plant for me, in the ground just two years, and it’s really taken off this year. I saw five different species of butterflies and moths visiting the phlox yesterday, including two individuals of the White-lined Sphinx moths, just beautiful. As always, I greatly appreciate our help and information. Thank you so very much. Best wishes!

Ellen
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