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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Sweat Bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 09/28/2018
Time: 04:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m not sure if this is a sweat bee (possibly Agapostemon splendens) or some type of Flower loving or Syrphid fly.
It was roughly 1/3 inch in length, give or take a few millimeters.
I’m leaning more towards A. splendens, but to be honest, arachnids and mantises are more my forte.
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Striped Sweat Bee

Dear Bug aficionado,
This is definitely a Metallic Sweat Bee in the family Halictidae, and we believe you have the genus
Agapostemon correct as well, however, the species Agapostemon splendens is not found in the Pacific Northwest based on BugGuide data.  Members of the genus Agapostemon are known as the Striped Sweat Bees because, according to BugGuide:  “Males are easier to ID because they have strongly black-and-yellow striped abdomen.”  According to Insect Identification for the Casual Observer:  “There are over a dozen species of Agapostemon Sweat Bees. Males are easier to identity than females because of their distinct coloring. The head and thorax of males are a metallic green, but its abdomen is comprised of the black and yellow bands typically seen in the bee family. Females of many species are mostly green all over. Some species are very social and share nests, while others are more solitary in nature.
Nests are burrows dug into dirt or banks. Pollen grains are collected and placed in each egg’s cell to provide food for the expected larva. For this reason, most sightings of adults occur around in or in gardens and meadows laden with blooms. Spring and summer are peak times of year for activity.
Adults drink flower nectar and eat pollen, and are not aggressive. They will sting in self-defense, however, if they are hit or almost crushed.
Agapostemon Sweat Bees sometimes get close to, or touch parts of, the body that are perspiring. They seem to enjoy drinking the salty liquid off of our skin. Some are so small and lightweight, they are able to do so without the person even realizing it!”  We are making your submission our Bug of the Month for October 2018.

Striped Sweat Bee

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.
Thanks
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