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

Hello,
Last summer bore beetles wiped out half the pines in my yard. (1 acre.).Since the Florida drought is over and steady rains are back, and the pines are not as stressed as last year, will my remaining loblolly pines fight off the bore beetles naturally or do I have to spray with something. And if I spray is it true the beetles are only on the trunk of the tree. Last but not least, what do I spray with? Thanks from Central Florida, Roger

Like many living forms, insects reach a peak population, do major damage, and then suddenly die back to a small population which takes seasons to grow large again. The stress on the trees due to the drought combined with the population explosion of the beetles contributed to the tree loss. That population was increasing, doing hidden damage for years. The best control is to rid the area of tainted wood from the dead trees which is harboring the pest. Check with local exterminators regarding a pesticide control.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello,
Last summer bore beetles wiped out half the pines in my yard. (1 acre.).Since the Florida drought is over and steady rains are back, and the pines are not as stressed as last year, will my remaining loblolly pines fight off the bore beetles naturally or do I have to spray with something. And if I spray is it true the beetles are only on the trunk of the tree. Last but not least, what do I spray with? Thanks from Central Florida, Roger

Like many living forms, insects reach a peak population, do major damage, and then suddenly die back to a small population which takes seasons to grow large again. The stress on the trees due to the drought combined with the population explosion of the beetles contributed to the tree loss. That population was increasing, doing hidden damage for years. The best control is to rid the area of tainted wood from the dead trees which is harboring the pest. Chec
k with local exterminators regarding a pesticide control.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi. Recently my son found this beautiful bug near our house in Glendale, AZ. I’m attaching a picture. It has a bright red head, and it’s back is yellow with a black pattern dividing it into 4 parts. It’s the first and only time we’ve seen one.
Any idea?
Thanks–
Wes

Ironcross Blister Beetle

Ironcross Blister Beetle

Dear Wes,
I contacted our sources at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and he provided the following information.

Thanks for sending the beetle photo. It is in the Blister Beetle family: Meloidae. You can probably look it up on the internet…try under the genus name Lytta. Some of these beetles exude a toxic liquid which can cause blisters on the skin. I’m not sure this one does that.
Hope this helps you!
Take care. Brian Harris
Entomology Section
Natural History Museum LA Co.

A web search did not turn up a more exact identification, but there is this site which has a photo of a close relative Lytta magister http://www.solpugid.com/gallery/Gallery3.htm which also has a red head and legs. I do have some interesting background information on the genus however. A blue-green colored European relative Lytta vesicatoria, is known by the common name Spanish fly: Perhaps the most famous `aphrodisiac’ of folk lore is `Spanish Fly’ made from the dried beetle _Cantharis_ (Lytta) _vesicatoria_, which is widely found in areas of southern Europe. The active ingredient of the prepared insect is cantharidin, and the powdered product contains around 0.6 percent of the substance. Sometimes a tincture of cantharidin is made, and the fatal dose is usually reckoned at 1.5 to 3 grams of the powder, or about 200 millilitres of the tincture. I have not given up entirely on the identification. I will be making a trip to the insect museum in Riverside in the near future. Thanks again for the awesome photo which is currently on my desktop at work.
Have a great day.
Daniel

Editor’s Note: Continued research has identified this little beauty as a member of the Blister Beetle Family known as Soldier Beetles, Tegrodera erosa Lec. or Tegrodera latecincta Horn. “They are 17-30 mm. long; the head red; the prothorax dusky red; the antennae, legs, and remainder of the body shining black; and the elytra golden yellow, reticulated, and with black margins, a black median belt, and black apices. In the former specioes the black markings of the elytra are very obscure, while on the latter they are strongly pronounced. The beetles ordinarily feed upon the native sage brush, artemisia, and other plants, but frequently invade alfalfa fields and do much damage.” according to Essig in Insects and Mites of Western North America.

Update: (11/09/2008)
After doing our site migration and checking that everything migrated, we found this posting that was never correctly identified as an Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Another Iron Cross Blister Beetle
We have Hundreds maybe Thousands on the ground and
all over our house. Please help us as my 6 and 4 year olds are scared and me too!
aceman

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

We were unable to anwer this reader who should be somewhat afraid of Blister Beetles which can cause a skin reaction.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi. Recently my son found this beautiful bug near our house in Glendale, AZ. I’m attaching a picture. It has a bright red head, and it’s back is yellow with a black pattern dividing it into 4 parts. It’s the first and only time we’ve seen one.
Any idea?
Thanks–
Wes

Dear Wes,
I contacted our sources at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and he provided the following information.

Thanks for sending the beetle photo. It is in the Blister Beetle family: Meloidae. You can probably look it up on the internet…try under the genus name Lytta. Some of these beetles exude a toxic liquid which can cause blisters on the skin. I’m not sure this one does that.
Hope this helps you!
Take care. Brian Harris Entomology Section
Natural History Museum LA Co.

A web search did not turn up a more exact identification, but there is this site which has a photo of a close relative Lytta magister http://www.solpugid.com/gallery/Gallery3.htm which also has a red head and legs. I do have some interesting background information on the genus however. A blue-green colored European relative Lytta vesicatoria, is known by the common name Spanish fly: Perhaps the most famous `aphrodisiac’ of folk lore is `Spanish Fly’ made from the dried beetle _Cantharis_ (Lytta) _vesicatoria_, which is widely found in areas of southern Europe. The active ingredient of the prepared insect is cantharidin, and the powdered product contains around 0.6 percent of the substance. Sometimes a tincture of cantharidin is made, and the fatal d
ose is usually reckoned at 1.5 to 3 grams of the powder, or about 200 millilitres of the tincture. I have not given up entirely on the identification. I will be making a trip to the insect museum in Riverside in the near future. Thanks again for the awesome photo which is currently on my desktop at work.
Have a great day.
Daniel

Editor’s Note: Continued research has identified this little beauty as a member of the Blister Beetle Family known as Soldier Beetles, Tegrodera erosa Lec. or Tegrodera latecincta Horn. "They are 17-30 mm. long; the head red; the prothorax dusky red; the antennae, legs, and remainder of the body shining black; and the elytra golden yellow, reticulated, and with black margi
ns, a black median belt, and black apices. In the former specioes the black markings of the elytra are very obscure, while on the latter they are strongly pronounced. The beetles ordinarily feed upon the native sage brush, artemisia, and other plants, but frequently invade alfalfa fields and do much damage." according to Essig in Insects and Mites of Western North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Daniel,
I’m having an ongoing problem with what I’m told are grubs in my St. Augustin grass. Each summer I get these patches which turn yellow/ brown and die out, just as if I hadn’t watered them in ages, which is, of course, not the case. Apparently they eat the roots of the grass causing the tops to die. I have usually spread grub killer and that seems to take care of it. The problem is that the grub killer, called "Seven," I believe, is super toxic, indicating the need to wear socks, long pants, gloves, respirator (my addition), etc. Do you know of any similar remedy for grubs that would not be so environmentally horrendous? I have three cats who live in this grass daily and I don’t want one of them to start growing an extra head or some other such gruesome mutation. Caroline, a Manx, already has all the extra toes she can handle.
Thanks,
Kathleen (a.k.a. Toxic Avenger)

Dear Kathleen,
I can think of three possible culprits for your St. Agustine grass problem, the likliest one being the chinch bug, Blissus insularis, small gray-black insects that suck plant juices from grass blades, especially St. Agustine grass, especially in hot weather. To confirm chinch bugs, according to the Western Garden Book , push a bottomless can into the soil just where the grass is beginning to turn brown. Fill can with water, If lawn is infested, chinch bugs will float to the surface. Diazinon and chlorpyrifos are chemical controls. According to Hogue, the Southern Chinch Bug feeds on several grasses, but Saint Augustine is by far the preferred host plant. The insect’s feeding may cause considerable damage: the grass becomes dwarfed, turns yellow and then brown, and dies. Because of the tendency of the species to form aggregations, the symptoms of attack are usually visible in scattered patches. The species is not a native. It first appeared in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960’s, having come from the southeastern states. It produces two generations per year and is most abundant in midsummer. Two additional possible culprits that require the same chemical control are Sod Webworms and beetle grubs. If you see whitish to buff colored moths flying around the lawn in a zigzag pattern at night, check for their larvae. To confirm Sod Webworms, drench area of lawn with a solution of 1 tablespoon dishwashing soap diluted in 1 gallon of water. Larvae will come to surface. Treat if there are 15 or more webworms per square yard.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Mr. Bug Man,
These live in my compost pile. They seem to be good for the decomposition, because they eat the contents of the pile and excrete them in a much-broken-down-form. But: what the hell? Big as my pinkie. Jerusalem Cricket?
Thanks,
Sean Dungan



Dear Sean,
Despite the suspiciously similar appearance to the killer "graboids" from the movie Tremors, your grub is just a grub, in this case the larval form of the Green Fruit Beetle (Cotinus mutabilis). Any observant insect watcher in Southern California, Arizona or Mexico has surely seen these enormous metalic green scarabs which take flight in August and September, buzzing noisily and circling clumsily in their search for fruit, namely figs, peaches, apricots, nectarines, grapes and cactus fruit which is the wild host plant. Originally native to Arizona and New Mexico, the beetle has moved west and is now relatively common in the Los Angeles Basin. Eggs are laid in compost piles, and the grubs, which can reach 2 inches in length, are sometimes called "crawly-backs" because of their method of locomotion, which involves undulating the body and pushing against the substratum with short stout bristles on the back of the thorax. The grubs feed on decaying vegetation, and are beneficial to the compost pile.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination