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

Subject:  Black killer wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Illinois
Date: 08/16/2018
Time: 04:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These two were battling it out, but the wasp won in the end. I thought it may have been a cicada killer, but this one was all black, maybe a little Blueish.
How you want your letter signed:  Karin

Great Black Wasp and Katydid Prey

Dear Karin,
We are thrilled to be able to post your wonderful images of a female Great Black Wasp and her Katydid prey.  The wasp has stung and paralyzed the Katydid and she it trying to get it back to her underground burrow.  She is probably climbing the table to give her some height so she can take off and glide toward her nest.  According to BugGuide:  “Provision nests (in burrow in soft earth) with Katydids or grasshoppers. ”  Also commonly called Katydid Hunters, these solitary wasp are not aggressive toward humans.

Great Black Wasp and Katydid prey

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Shield backed katydid?
Geographic location of the bug:  Newton County Georgia
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 10:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just checking my ID.
How you want your letter signed:  Rosmarie

Two Female Katydids:  Lesser Meadow Katydid (left) and Bush Katydid (right)

Dear Rosmarie,
Your image depicts two different immature female Katydids that have not yet grown wings and their respective ovipositors are quite different in appearance.  The individual on the left appears to be an immature female Lesser Meadow Katydid in the genus
Conocephalus, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide, there are “18 species” that are rather similar looking and “Females oviposit in grass-stems. One generation per year.”  We believe your other Katydid on the right is an immature female Bush Katydid in the genus Scudderia based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “8 spp. in our area” and “Most species probably favor foliage of broad-leaved woody deciduous plants, but probably will feed on a variety of other plants. Often (especially nymphs) seen feeding on flowers of assorted, often herbaceous plants.”  Both of your individuals are in the subfamily Phaneropterinae, so they are not Shield-Backed Katydids in the subfamily Tettigoniinae.     

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 04:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw a lot of these bugs while hiking a 14,000+ elevation mountain. They seemed to only be above treeline. The photo was taken in August.
How you want your letter signed:  Jennifer

Mormon Cricket

Dear Jennifer,
This is the third posting we have made this week of a Mormon Cricket sighting.  The first was a male that was part of a swarm in Nevada and the second a solitary female in Idaho.  The ovipositor indicates your individual is also a female.  According to BugGuide:  “Though flightless, this species can form migratory swarms or ‘bands’ that travel on foot, eating almost anything (both plant and sometimes small animal) in their paths, and have been significantly destructive to rangeland and crops at times. Swarming occurs primarily in the Wyoming Basin, Colorado Plateaus, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau. In the Sierras, Rockies, and other higher mountain areas, and on the northern Great Plains, individuals average smaller, are usually non-migratory, and coloring is commonly of lighter colors (often tan or green). Individuals in bands are most commonly of a deep brown, often nearly black color.”  Can you estimate the numbers?

Thank you! There seemed to be a lot! Just about every few steps I took, there were two to three hopping across or resting on the trail. We heard what sounded like crickets, and by the sounds, there were hundreds!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this a cricket or what???
Geographic location of the bug:  South Central Idaho (Ketchum/Sun Valley)
Your letter to the bugman:  Out for a hike on Proctor Mtn. and stepped over this big guy/gal. Never seen anything like this before…must’ve been about 3” long…
How you want your letter signed:  Jo

Female Mormon Cricket

Dear Jo,
This is a female Mormon Cricket and a few days ago we published a nice image of a male Mormon Cricket, part of a migratory swarm in Nevada.  Here is a BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Though flightless, this species can form migratory swarms or ‘bands’ that travel on foot, eating almost anything (both plant and sometimes small animal) in their paths, and have been significantly destructive to rangeland and crops at times. Swarming occurs primarily in the Wyoming Basin, Colorado Plateaus, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau. In the Sierras, Rockies, and other higher mountain areas, and on the northern Great Plains, individuals average smaller, are usually non-migratory, and coloring is commonly of lighter colors (often tan or green). Individuals in bands are most commonly of a deep brown, often nearly black color.”  BugGuide also has this historical reference:  “Common name refers to invasion of agricultural lands farmed by Mormon settlers in the Great Salt Lake Basin in the 19th century, especially an outbreak in 1848 (Hartley, 2011).”  Mormon Crickets are actually flightless Shield-Backed Katydids rather than true Crickets.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this a Katydid?  And did it bite me?
Geographic location of the bug:  Winterset, Iowa
Date: 08/08/2018
Time: 12:57 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this insect in my pants (it must have crawled up the inside) after feeling a sharp stab like a needle on my leg.  I was out in the tall grass and it must have crawled up my leg.  I believe it’s a female Katydid but what caused the sharp pain?  Did it bite me or stab me?
How you want your letter signed:  Farmer Outstanding in her Field

Common Conehead

Dear Farmer Outstanding in her Field,
Generally when we think of bites, we think of breaking of the skin, and when we think of stabs, our mind conjures up the loss of blood.  Eric Eaton told us once that if it has a mouth, it can bite, but most insects don’t have a bite that will break the skin, and the bite feels more like a pinch.  This is indeed a Katydid, more specifically a Common Conehead in the genus
Neoconocephalus, and BugGuide does indicate “May bite when handled.”  The ovipositor is an indication this is a female and she uses her ovipositor to lay eggs, so it is rather stiff, and the pressure against the skin could feel like a pinch, but we doubt it will break the skin.  We suspect the pain you felt was short-lived and you didn’t lose any blood, so between the two choices, the evidence points to a bite.  The Round-tipped Conehead, Neoconocephalus retusus, which is pictured on BugGuide is one possibility for the species, and BugGuide indicates the habitat is “Dry to fairly wet grassy or weedy open areas-roadsides, old fields, edges of marshes.”  The Sword-bearing Conehead, Neoconocephalus ensiger, also pictured on BugGuide, is another possibility.  There are additional species found in your area, and we don’t think we will be able to provide you with an exact species, so we hope the genus and the general name Common Conehead will suffice.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Weird bug migration
Geographic location of the bug:  Toiyabe national forest
Date: 08/07/2018
Time: 12:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was driving my big rig through Nevada when i saw hundreds of these guys all over the road and dirt. I’m curious as to what they’re doing? Are they actually migrating?
How you want your letter signed:  Curious trucker

Mormon Cricket

Dear Curious trucker,
This is a Mormon Cricket, a species found in the western states and there are periodic population explosions.  According to KTVN.com in an updated July 2, 2018 post:  “Mormon crickets are back for another summer, creating nuisances for some Nevadans. The Nevada Department of Agriculture says the Mormon cricket population is not expected to be too high, this year, but they are seeing infestations in northern Pershing County and southern Humboldt County, in rural areas around Winnemucca. … Mormon crickets can travel about a mile each day. They do not fly but they do climb. They do not bite, carry disease or pose a threat to animals that eat them. They do present some public safety issues on roads though.  ‘They’re cannibalistic, so if one gets squished, the others come and eat it and they get squished,’ Jeff Knight, State Entomologist for the NDA said. ‘There’s been reports that that alone can make the roads slick but if that happens and then we have a thunder shower, then the roads can get really slick from the dead crickets.’ … ‘They develop in high numbers, usually in the foothills and in the mountain areas, and then they move down in large numbers, often into the valley floor,’ Knight said.  Knight says the largest infestations usually happen about once every 10 years.”

Mormon Crickets crossing the road.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination