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RE: Identification Request – Is this bug safe to let go?

Your submitted question:  What is this bug? Is it safe to let go, or is it an invasive species?

Our Immediate Automated Response
On Wednesday, July 17, 2019 What’s That Bug? wrote:  Thank you for submitting your identification request.

Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

That bug laid eggs in the jar that I put it in. Why bother having a websight like this, if you can’t do the work? I needed to know if this beetle will kill the trees around my house, and you ended up being completely useless! So, I’ll just let it die in that jar! It’s death, and all those eggs, are on your head!

Ed. Note:  We searched through all submitted requests since July 16, and we could not locate any requests from, nor could we find any requests with the subject line “Is this bug safe to let go?”   We are well aware that our tiny editorial staff does not have the resources to respond to the hundreds of identification request we receive each week.  We offer a free service on the internet and we do not punch in a timeclock.  We are also gainfully employed and we do community activism, especially in matters of land use, so some days we cannot even devote ten minutes to responding, and most posts take approximately ten minutes to compose.  We feel missk1963 is rude and demanding, but we acknowledge that she is welcome to her opinion that we are “completely useless.”  Because of her rudeness, we are awarding missk1963 with our 14th Nasty Reader Award.  We are also amazed at how the results of her own actions, the death of a living creature and its offspring, is being blamed on a third party, a childish justification to the lack of accountability that missk1963 has likely used in the past to make up for her own inadequacies and shortcomings.

UPDATE:  July 21, 2019
It took me a bit longer, but I found that bug. It was most definitely a dangerous bud. It was a root borer beetle, and would have eventually killed the already, gypsy moth caterpillar damaged trees around my house. Sorry that you think I was rude, but I was actually trying not to kill that bug, if it was safe to let go. The trees in my area have been decimated by many invasive, and dangerous insects, so I needed to be careful. I believe ALL of nature is to be respected, but I will not allow the trees to be destoyed further. I sent the original email last evening, and felt I needed information quickly. Especially if the bug was safe to let go.

Thank you for letting us know.  Responding to our automated response system does not allow us to track original submissions, which we tried to do upon reading your obviously desperate communique.  As we stated, we could not locate a previous submission from you that included the image.  We are happy to learn you were able to eventually identify your Root Borer, which we suspect was likely a female Broad Necked Root Borer, but without knowing your location, that might not be correct.

Subject:  Black Horse Fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Quakertown, PA
Date: 07/09/2019
Time: 08:53 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  In case you need another photo… these flies are big. After I saw it was a horse fly, I went back outside and killed it. (Horse farm 0.5mi up the street…)
How you want your letter signed:  JonKernPA

Black Horse Fly

Dear JonKernPA,
Thanks so much for submitting your image of a female Black Horse Fly.  Female Horse Flies can be identified because of the space between their eyes.  Male Horse Flies lack the space.  Female Horse Flies are the blood-suckers.  Males are harmless.

Subject:  Carting off a big prize
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwest Ohio
Date: 06/20/2019
Time: 01:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was gardening when I noticed a little spider being dragged through the grass.   I thought at first that an ant was bringing it home, but maybe not.  It was making all sorts of enthusiastic abdominal movements I assumed were pheromone deposits.   Definitely had wings and a more fly-like face.   Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Kitsa

Spider Wasp and Crab Spider

Dear Kitsa,
The predator in your images is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and the prey is a Crab Spider, probably a Flower Spider,
Misumena vatia.  The Spider Wasp will not be eating the Crab Spider.  Rather, the Spider Wasp will place the paralyzed Crab Spider in an underground burrow so that the larval Spider Wasp will have a fresh source of food.  The pattern on the wings of the Spider Wasp are rather distinctive, and it appears that it might be Dipogon calipterus which is pictured on BugGuide.

Spider Wasp and Crab Spider

Subject:  Bug identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida
Date: 06/11/2019
Time: 05:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy was crawling around on my patio table, was wondering what it might be!
How you want your letter signed:  Tina

Milkweed Assassin Bug

Dear Tina,
This is a beneficial, predatory Milkweed Assassin Bug, and like other Assassin Bugs, it should be handled with caution as it might bite if provoked.  The bite is reported to be painful, but is not considered dangerous.

Subject:  What kind of bug is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Yuba city California
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 12:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I want to know what kind of big this is and if it’s good for my plants or not
How you want your letter signed:  Carol

Assassin Bug Nymph

Dear Carol,
This is a beneficial, predatory, immature Assassin Bug, probably in the genus
Zelus, and it will patrol your Cannabis plant for plant eating insects.  Exercise caution as Assassin Bugs in the genus Zelus may bite if carelessly handled and the bite is reported to be quite painful, but not dangerous, unlike Kissing Bugs, another group of Assassin Bugs, that are known to spread Chagas Disease, especially in the tropics.

Subject:  What is this fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central NJ (Linden area)
Date: 06/14/2019
Your letter to the bugman:  What in the world is this bug? They’ve been eating all the leaves of my zinnias!
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks – Ruthie

Long Legged Fly

Dear Ruthie,
You are mistaken about this Long Legged Fly from the family Dolichopodidae eating the leaves on your Zinnias.  If leaves are being chewed, we would suspect a host of creatures, including Caterpillars, Orthopterans like Grasshoppers or Katydids, Beetles or Slugs.  Flies do not have mouths that are capable of chewing.  Long Legged Flies are beneficial predators.  According to BugGuide:  “Mouthparts are for piercing (with a short proboscis). Adults and larvae prey on small insects.”

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much. I’m fairly sure it isn’t slugs but otherwise I’m stumped. Is there a gentle or natural way I can keep bugs away? I don’t want to kill them, just keep them from killing my plants.

Sorry Ruthie,
We have no recommendations for a panacea for deterring insects.