Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Cape Cod, MA
July 16, 2016 3:14 pm
Just curious what this is. I’ve found a few of them this summer on the trumpet vines growing on my pergola.
Signature: Rick

Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar

Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Rick,
Had you not included the host plant trumpet vines, we might have had more difficulty identifying what we believe to be a Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar,
Paratrea plegeja.  Our usual “go to” site for Sphinx Moth identifications, Sphingidae of the Americas, does not have images of the caterpillar.  Then we searched for the family and trumpet vine and we found the Maryland Insect site with a single image of the Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar.  There are also images on BugGuide, but the caudal horn is blue and the one in your image looks black.  BugGuide lists the species as “uncommon” and lists the larval food plants as:  “Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans), Yellow Trumpetbush (Tecoma stans), passionflower (Passiflora spp.), and lilac (Syringa spp.).”   We have written to Bill Oehlke who runs Sphingidae of the Americas for confirmation and we hope you don’t mind if he posts your image to his site as well.  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Southern California
July 16, 2016 8:10 pm
These bugs are common in my house. They look like little crustaceans and they can jump and are tough. What is this bug??
Signature: From Arianna Kenig

Terrestrial Amphipod, possibly

Jumping Bristletail

Dear Arianna,
This one has us a bit stumped.  We are pretty sure it is not a Silverfish, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Furthermore, Silverfish do not jump and they are not tough.  They practically disintegrate when smashed.  This looks more like a Crustacean, and it appears to be a Terrestrial Amphipod, but it does not appear to be a Lawn Shrimp or House Hopper, a usual suspect.  Perhaps one of our readers will have a better idea.  How close are you to the shore?  Where in Southern California are you located?

Correction:  Thanks to Juliet who quickly directed us to Jumping Bristletails on Wikipedia.  We found this matching image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “short lateral styli (rudimentary appendages) on abdominal segments 2-9; able to jump up to 10 cm by snapping abdomen against ground.”  It was those lateral styli that led us to question if this might be a crustacean.

Subject: Corsair or masked assassin?
Location: Vermont
July 16, 2016 9:23 pm
In Vermont…on my pillow…next to my face…please help me identify!
Signature: Rachael

Probably Masked Hunter

Probably Masked Hunter

Dear Rachael,
In our opinion, this looks more like an adult Masked Hunter than a Black Corsair.  If you compare your individual to this image of a Black Corsair on BugGuide, you see that the latter is a heavier bodied insect with more substantial sucking mouthparts and fleshy pads on the front legs.  The Masked Hunters on BugGuide have more slender legs like your individual.  Additionally, immature lint covered Masked Hunters are frequently found indoors, while Black Corsairs tend to be outdoor insects, though BugGuide indicates they are attracted to lights.  Though neither species is dangerous to humans, they do bite relatively readily if carelessly handled. 

Thank you so much for such a speedy response!  Your site is amazing.
Although now I feel paranoid about bed bugs as it seems the Masked Hunters seek those out…!
My very best,
Rachael

Yes, but they feed on other insects as well, and they will kill any Bed Bugs they find.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this
Location: Muskegon heights Michigan
July 17, 2016 5:59 am
I found this bug in my driveway… i thought maybe a june bug but it looks a little different. .
Signature: Natalie Jager

Grapevine Beetle

Grapevine Beetle

Dear Natalie,
The reason you thought this Grapevine Beetle resembled a June Bug is that both are in the Scarab Beetle family Scarabaeidae.  The Grapevine Beetle was our featured Bug of the Month last month.

Subject: Iridescent Wasp?
Location: Cabot, VT
July 17, 2016 8:03 am
I just found this beautiful wasp-like flying bug, dead in my upstairs window (July). I live in central Vermont, in an old farm house surrounded by cow pastures and woods. We have a small second floor attic space, and I’ve seen both evidence of old wasp nests on the ceiling in there, and live wasps flying out of there. I haven’t seen one like this alive, though. I’ve never seen anything like it, even though I’ve lived in a number of New England farm houses throughout my life. I love your website, and I’m so excited to finally have a bug to send to you!
Signature: Lara

Blue Mud Wasp

Blue Mud Wasp

Dear Lara,
This looks to us like a Blue Mud Wasp,
Chalybion californicum, a species described on BugGuide as:  “A large, active, blue-black wasp with irridescent blue wings. Frequents flowers for nectar and buildings for nest sites.”  BugGuide also states:  “Females construct mud nests in sheltered areas, often under the eaves of buildings, and provision them with spiders. Sometimes refurbishes the nests of other mud-daubers, such as Sceliphron.”

Subject: Giant Wood Wasp??? Or not
Location: Northern Ontario
July 16, 2016 11:44 am
Real curious about the attached bug.
Found it flying they an open wooded area.
Was thinking it might be a Giant Wood Wasp but the long (5-6″)tail made us think otherwise.
Signature: Regards, Teshaun

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Dear Teshaun,
This is a Giant Ichnuemon, Megarhyssa atrata, commonly called a Stump Stabber, and anyone who has ever watched a female Stump Stabber laying eggs might be fooled into thinking it is a Wood Wasp.  Wood Wasps, including the Pigeon Horntail, oviposit or lay eggs on dead and dying trees and the larvae are wood borers.  The Stump Stabber is a parasitoid whose larvae feed on the larvae of Pigeon Horntails.