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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

With the website currently down and no questions to answer, we have been strolling through the canyon briskly every morning. We have been noticing several species of insects that we occasionally get letters regarding, and others that are just plain interesting. We decided to return with our digital camera and photograph some of the above. Here are some Harlequin Bugs, Murgantia histrionica. They are small stink bugs, about 1/4 inch long. They are variegated black, red, and white with a reddish or light colored + on the scutellum. These bugs are occasionally seen in the garden where they feed on cabbage, sweet alyssum and related plants of the family Brassicacaea, but in the canyon and vacant lots, they prefer wild mustard. According to Hogue: “Mating pairs are often present. The male illicits copulation by tapping the female’s antennae and body with his antennae.” Females lay several sets of 5-12 eggs that look like black and white striped barrels.

(06/26/2004) Copulating Harlequin Bugs will eventually lay eggs. The female places one or two rows of from usually 5-12 eggs neatly on twigs. The eggs look like black and white striped barrels. Here are some freshly layed eggs on anise.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Bugman,
I read through your website and still am not able to find what this creature is!!! I spent last night surfing the web, trying to find out more information, but still no luck. You’re my last resort, Bugman! My husband and I came home to find 2 of these on our garage floor. It’s by far the largest bug I’ve ever seen! It measures about 1.5 inches long (see picture). I thought it was some sort of beetle or cockroach, but apparently not. My friend did more research and thought it was the (rare?) Stag Beetle. But it doesn’t match the description. We live in Massachusetts. I’m not sure how common this bug is, or if it’s even harmful at all. I know you’re busy right now, what with summer and all, but I’d appreciate any help you can give us! Great website, by the way!
Lynn
Freaked out in Massachusetts.

D
ear Freaked Out,
It is a Stag Beetle. I know there are reddish varieties, but I have only seen black ones. Perhaps the red beetles you found are a subspecies of Pseudoleucanus capreolus. The photos are beautiful. They are not harmful, though can deliver a mild pinch with those formidable jaws on the male beetle. The grubs eat rotting wood. One of the few items in our gift shop right now is a stag beetle t-shirt.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination