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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Washington State
Date: 09/20/2017
Time: 06:14 PM EDT
I found this in Kitsap County, a mile or two from salt water, walking along a boardwalk in a wetland surrounded mostly by grasses, red alders, poplars, willows, and a few conifers (Douglas fir, western red cedar, Sitka spruce, western hemlock), so I can’t associate it with any particular plant. There were also a few wild roses and snowberries around. I only found one caterpillar. Any idea what it might be?
How you want your letter signed:  gardenjim

Fingered Dagger Caterpillar

Dear gardenjim,
After a considerable internet search, we finally identified this Fingered Dagger Caterpillar,
Acronicta dactylina.  Fingered Dagger is a curious name, and BugGuide indicates:  “from the Latin ‘dactylus’ (a finger); the origin of the common name but it is not clear how that name applies to this species.”  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on alder, birch, poplar, hawthorn, willow”, and you mentioned three of food plants listed in the vicinity of the sighting.  BugGuide also states “uncommon, but widely distributed” and this BugGuide posting may indicate its range is expanding into areas that had previously been too cold, causing us to speculate “Global Warming?” 

Hi Daniel. Thanks for your diligent research on this!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  California trapdoor spider.
Location:  Hoodsport Washington State
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 04:46 PM EDT
I found this very large fellow above my bed during the night. Caught him in my hat box and put him out in my woodsey rain forest today. So silly question, will there be more? And is he a agrressive bitter?
Signature:  dena williams

Male California Trapdoor Spider (from our archives)

Dear dena,
We do not believe you encountered a California Trapdoor Spider as BugGuide data only indicates a range within California.  We suspect you might have encountered 
Antrodiaetus another member of the same family that we found pictured on BugGuide, and that is reported from Washington by a BugGuide contributor.  Trapdoor Spiders are not aggressive, though we suspect the female may attack to protect her brood.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Grasshopper?
Geographic location of the bug:  Cape May Zoo, NJ
Date: 09/05/2017
Time: 07:13 AM EDT
Found him out side an enclosure. Never seen anything like him with his coloring. Just curious if you could enlighten me.
How you want your letter signed:  Squishy

Handsome Meadow Katydid

Dear Squishy,
This pretty guy is a Handsome Meadow Katydid,
Orchelimum pulchellum, and we identified it thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Identification Note white face with brownish to reddish mottling on edges, brown legs, diffuse turquoise stripe on upper sides back along wings. Eyes usually blue–fairly distinctive.”  Those distinctive blue eyes are clearly visible in your image.  This is the first example of a Handsome Meadow Katydid we have received in the fifteen years we have been editing the What’s That Bug? website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Insect Behaviour
Location: Southern North Carolina
August 20, 2017 5:17 am
Friends of ours down in S. North Carolina had a strange phenomenon this weekend. A long writhing, living, rope of insects in mid-air. None of us have ever seen this before and are wondering A) what these flying insects are, and B) what causes this behavior (mating maybe)?
You guys are great, thanks!!
Signature: Cheers!

Mysterious “Rope” of Insects

This is surely a strange phenomenon.  Our initial guess is that they must be Gnats or Midges, and we are going to attempt to provide a more conclusive response for you.  We wish there was more detail in the close-up image.  We can’t even tell if these flying insects have two wings or four wings.  Flies in the order Diptera, the group that includes Gnats and Midges, have one pair of wings while other insects, like swarming Flying Ants, have two sets of wings.

Gnats or Midges????

P.S.  Were they dead or alive?  They appear dead.

They were alive.  I couldn’t get the video he has up on FB, but they are definitely moving.  They are joined somehow, very odd.  Want me to see if they’ll share the video?

Mysterious “Rope” of Insects

Update from Eric Eaton:  August 25, 2017
No idea what the insects are.  I’d have to see specimens or at least microscope images.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Update:  August 26, 2017
Finally!  I hope these don’t get kicked back due to size.  If so, I’ll throw them up on DropBox and send you the link.
Hope this helps,
Mike Coughlin

Dear Mike,
Thanks for sending in the videos.  Normally we don’t post videos to our site so we hope we did it correctly.  We believe these are Flying Ants, which is what they appear to be in the close-up video.  The wide angle video shows many swarming insects near the “rope” of insects.  Perhaps they have gotten ensnared in the sticky strands of a spider web.

Great, glad you got them!  I looked at it more closely yesterday as well. And I agree, they do appear to be flying ants.
The odd thing is the way that they’re all lined up – you wouldn’t expect to see them as densely aligned in that configuration.
Mother Nature!
M Coughlin
It is our suspicion that two completely unrelated phenomena have occurred simultaneously to create the “ropes” of insects.  There was a swarm of Flying Ants and there was a silken thread, either from a Spider dropping an anchor line for a web or from a Caterpillar that was using a silken thread to decend from a tree.  That silken thread then provided a landing strip for the ants.  We might be incorrect, but that is our speculation.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Ohio
July 12, 2017 6:54 pm
I first noticed this bug when it was on my phone screen. The next day the same thing happened. I sprayed the entire couch that I was sitting on with 91% alcohol and laid white paper because they are hard to see other wise. I eventually find one and photographed it
Signature: Cc

Dime and Black Speck

Dear Cc,
This is not a bug.  It is a dime, unless you mean the unidentifiable black speck next to the dime.  There is not enough detail for us to identify the black speck.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: My wife got stung
Location: Houston texas
April 6, 2017 9:12 pm
My wife went outside at night to get the clothes from the dryer and she said she heard a buzzing sound and felt a bug land on her chest, she didn’t get to see it but when she tried to shew it away it stung her and made a pretty good hole on her chest and it swelled up about a half inch in diameter. Please help
Signature: A. Gonzalez

Unknown Stinging Thing

Dear A. Gonzalez,
We cannot make out any insect details in the image you supplied.  We did not get your email until this morning.  If your wife is still being affected by the symptoms of the sting, you should seek professional medical assistance.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination