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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

Subject:  Unknown bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Michigan – Charlevoix
Date: 08/10/2018
Time: 07:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We have never seen this bug. What is it?  Seen 3 in 2 days.
How you want your letter signed:  Tracy

Green Stink Bug nymph

Dear Tracy,
We have been getting numerous requests in the past week to identify Green Stink Bug nymphs,
Chinavia hilaris.  According to BugGuide:  “extremely polyphagous: recorded from 20 plant families; adults and older nymphs prefer developing seeds and fruit. May be a pest on soybean, cotton, fruit trees (esp. peach), and many vegetables.”  Your image is really good for identification purposes and nicely illustrates scale.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large Flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Fairview Park Ohio
Date: 08/07/2018
Time: 02:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Help—what is this big flew into our school?
How you want your letter signed:  Bugman

Cicada Killer Killed at School

You are Bugman???
We really need to get on our soapbox about this identification request.  You indicate this happened at a school, but you did not indicate what kind of school.  Generally a school has students, and students are there to learn, and in our opinion, teaching the students that it is OK to kill creatures that they do not recognize is not really best practices.  Schools often teach science, and we hope this unfortunate situation with the Unnecessary Carnage of this Cicada Killer can be incorporated into your curriculum.  Cicada Killers are not aggressive wasps, and though they might sting if they are carelessly handled, we have never received a verified report with an image as proof, in the 16 years we have been responding to internet identification requests, of a Cicada Killer stinging a human, but we have received numerous examples of Cicada Killer carnage here and here and here and here and here and here and on and on, just because they are scary looking.  Cicada Killers are amazing creatures.  A female Cicada Killer stings a Cicada and paralyzes it and they drags it back to her underground nest to provide food for her brood.  For more detailed information, please refer to Cicada Mania where it states:  “I know what you are thinking: are these terrifyingly large wasps a threat to human beings? The short answer is NO. They are so focused on cicadas or other Cicada Killer Wasps, that they could care less about you. Sure, if you step on one, squeeze one in your hand, or otherwise harass the insect, it might sting you. Unlike other wasps, it will not go out of its way to harm you.” 

Hello Daniel,
Thank you for reaching back with this valuable info.
First—I didn’t know what to put on that line. Thought it was asking how we would want to receive your signature.
My apologies.
Second—I represent the summer skeleton admin staff and totally respect your response.
Alas, this poor creature was the victim of excavation connected to reconstruction of our buildings and brought to me by cleaning staff in the condition you see in the image. It was my hope to head off a mini panic by obtaining an identification. Yours is very helpful—at least if there any more Cicada Killers displaced by the bulldozers that head into the building, the staff will know these do not represent a risk to the returning children.  There has been really frightening stuff revealed from behind walls and in the ceilings—all manmade—so staff is absolutely a little jumpy.  I will admonish my colleagues and share this info with out Bio teacher. Thanks again!
Thanks for your explanation.  We imagine your administrative duties and your concern for the children and staff are a tremendous responsibility.  It just makes us so sad to see so many images of these magnificent creatures that have been killed unnecessarily just because they look scary.  Please accept our apology if we were too harsh.  Asbestos and other construction related hazards are far scarier than any Cicada Killer.

Daniel, You have a great website and perform an important service.

I am grateful for your concern for “all creatures great and small”–and even and especially those some people find scary.

I hope we can agree to have shared a so-called teachable moment.
I will tell the maintenance staff not to fear the Cicada Killers and about their nature so that, if more are turned out with this construction, they can be respected.
Going forward, I will share what transpired with our Bio and Environmental Science teachers–who are very good people.
We might have occasion to contact you again–and next time I will know to put my name in the address box, not yours.
Thank you again for being a wonderful steward of our Earth.

Our manifesto has always been to educate the web browsing public about the interconnectivity of all life on our fragile planet.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Red spotted purple butterflies
Geographic location of the bug:  Shohola Lake, PA
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 03:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These butterflies were alighting on one spot of gravel road by Shohola Lake.  It looks to be coyote scat (hair & bone fragments, pawprints seen in mud nearby).
They allowed me to approach slowly and I was lucky to get these shots.  They are truly gorgeous.
How you want your letter signed:  Paula K

Red Spotted Purple

Dear Paula,
Thanks so much for sending in your wonderful images of Red Spotted Purples “puddling” on coyote scat.  We have decided to make your submission our Bug of the Month for August 2018.  Though butterflies are generally thought of as pollinators that visit flowers, they will often visit more unsavory substances, including puddles of urine, scat, putrefying flesh, rotting fruit and mud puddles to ingest salts and minerals found there.

Red Spotted Purples

Dear Daniel,
I’m honored to have my photos chosen as Bug of the Month!  And now I know about “puddling.”
Some years back I send you photos of mating buck moths from Shohola Lake, PA.  It seems a great place to find interesting insects. And as I wrote back then, your site is a natural treasure!

Thanks for your kind words Paula.  We located your image of mating Buck Moths in our archives.  It is hard to believe that was 11 years ago and we are still going strong.

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