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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Luna moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Orange TX
Date: 04/04/2019
Time: 11:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve never encountered a Luna moth, so I was so excited to see it in the backyard. It’s amazing! When they fly it almost looks like they have tiny legs.
How you want your letter signed:  Stacy

Male Luna Moth

Dear Stacy,
Thanks so much for submitting the first Luna Moth report we received this year.  We always enjoy posting the first Luna Moth sighting each year.  April is quite late for a first submission since we often have January or February sightings reported for Texas and Florida, while sightings from Maine and Canada don’t usually happen until late May or June.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Flying large bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Phoenix az
Date: 04/02/2019
Time: 10:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this?
How you want your letter signed:  Honi

Whitelined Sphinx

Dear Honi,
This is a Whitelined Sphinx Moth, and they are currently flying in Southern California since there are three resting on the front door of the WTB? offices.  Significant rainfall in the southwest this winter resulted in “super blooms” in many desert areas, and the increase in vegetation also resulted in more food for caterpillars and moths.  We have yet to receive any reports of large numbers of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars this year, though we suspect we will receive such reports before long.  Some years the Whitelined Sphinx Moths are quite plentiful, and we suspect this will be one of those years.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large ( not huge ) brown moth, two spots
Geographic location of the bug:  Clearwater Florida. West central fla
Date: 03/30/2019
Time: 02:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Large is relative, I suppose.  This was about 1.25 inches long. Doesn’t sound big but it’s a lot larger than any other moth I have seen around here. Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Pk

Male Io Moth

Dear Pk,
This is a male Io Moth, one of the smaller of the Giant Silkmoths that are native to North America.  Like many members of the family Saturniidae, Io Moths have large eyespots on the underwings that enable them to frighten predators.  Here is a BugGuide image of an Io Moth with markings similar to your individual.

Thanks!   I wondered if there was more to the wings than it was showing.  Now that you have explained “Underwings” I will be a better moth identifier.  Might even try to intentionally startle a moth to see those eyes.   Thanks a lot!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  identify bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Santa Maria California
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 03:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I just found this bug on my front porch and wanted to find out what it is.  I just moved to California from back East and have never seen a bug like this before!
How you want your letter signed:  LCS

Potato Bug

Dear LCS,
Welcome to California.  This is arguably the most iconic California insect, the Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean Orthopteran that is driven to the surface by rains.  Your images are awesome.

Potato Bug

Thank you so much!  I have gotten attached to the little guy and would like to keep him but my kids think it’s weird!  So I had better put him back outside!  Have never had a “bug pet” before!!  Thanks again,  LCS

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