Subject:  Unknown Mantis at work
Geographic location of the bug:  Johnson city, tx
Date: 09/26/2019
Time: 12:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey! I found what I believe to be two green European Mantids at my place of work a couple weeks ago but this morning I found this dark colored mantis hunting a fly. I’m not sure if it’s just a color variant of the same species or something different? I also will attach pics of my self identified Eurpean Mantids because I’m not 100% on my ID. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa Keys

Female Carolina Mantis

Dear Lisa,
We agree with your identification of the European Mantid which can be distinguished from Chinese Mantids which have striped faces as indicated in this BugGuide image.  Your image of a female European Mantis does not show the distinguishing black spot or black spot with a white bull’s eye where the foreleg meets the body on the ventral surface as indicated on BugGuide.  The darker Mantid in question is a female Carolina Mantis, a smaller native species.  Both European Mantids and Chinese Mantids can be purchased as ootheca or egg cases for gardeners who want to control insects without spraying, which is a noble idea, however, both species are much larger than native Mantids that they will prey upon.  We do not endorse introducing non-native Mantids to the garden as we promote the preservation of native species.  Here is a BugGuide image of a Carolina Mantid.

Female European Mantis

Interesting! I thought it might be a Carolina mantis but she was so big, around 3-3.5 inches, that it threw me off a bit. I currently keep these guys as work pets since I knew the first was a non native species at least. I’m sure keeping one or two doesnt have much effect on their population if they are already in the area but I have always enjoyed keeping and caring for mantids even when I was younger. Thanks for your help!

Subject:  Is this a spider wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Conyers GA
Date: 09/24/2019
Time: 04:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just wondering what type of bug this is. It was dragging a very large spider as it went along.
How you want your letter signed:  Belinda

Spider Wasp and prey

Hi Belinda,
This is definitely a Spider Wasp.  Based on this BugGuide image, it appears to be
Entypus unifasciatus. The prey appears to be a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes, and according to BugGuide:  “Females dig a burrow that ends in a terminal chamber off of the side of a mammal burrow or large crack in the ground. The serrations on the hind tibiae are used to aid the movement of soil out of the burrow entrance. The position in which the egg is laid is unknown. Larvae feed on one large spider and, as in all Pompilids that have one generation per year, overwinter as pupae.”  Most images of this Spider Wasp are with prey that are Wolf Spiders like this BugGuide image, but Fishing Spiders surely constitute “one large spider.”  Perhaps an expert in Spider Wasps will be able to provide comments regarding the prey.

Subject:  Bug Beetle or what is it
Geographic location of the bug:  New England and eastern Canada
Date: 09/25/2019
Time: 08:31 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We have found several of these in the material on the headboard (bed) in our Motor Home.  We have been in the New England States and the Maritime Provinces in Canada for the past 3 months.
How you want your letter signed:  RT

Bed Bug

Dear RT,
We take no pleasure in being the bearers of bad news.  This is a Bed Bug.

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Louisa, Virginia
Date: 09/22/2019
Time: 02:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What caterpillar is this and what plant is it’s host?
How you want your letter signed:  Sharon

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear Sharon,
We believe this is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Violets & Pansy (
Viola), Flax (Linum), Passion Vine (Passiflora), Damiana (Turnera), Moonseed (Menispermum), Mayapple (Podophyllum), Stonecrop (Sedum), Purslane (Portulaca) and others. Adults are fond of flowers, and especially seem to like Thistles and yellow Composites. They also frequently visit damp ground.”

Subject:  Yellowjacket or Cricket?
Geographic location of the bug:  New Jersey
Date: 09/22/2019
Time: 08:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug landed on me and later seemed to “fly” away like a grasshopper. It wasn’t behaving like a wasp and it’s head and body shape don’t look wasplike. What is it???
How you want your letter signed:  Libby

Locust Borer

Dear Libby,
This Locust Borer is actually a beetle that is a very effective Yellowjacket mimic.  Locust Borers are often found on Goldenrod.

Subject:  Odd Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Mass
Date: 09/23/2019
Time: 06:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  No one I’ve asked remembers ever seeing a bug like this before, even the horticulturally inclined. Seen on Sept 10th
How you want your letter signed:  Curiouser and curiouser

Immature Sycamore Assassin Bug

Dear Curiouser and curiouser,
This is an immature Sycamore Assassin Bug, a beneficial predator in the garden.