Subject:  Flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Shirley, NY
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 12:48 AM EDT
Can you identify this bug I found on my flowers?
How you want your letter signed:  Diane L

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Dear Diane,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the genus
Ammophila.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults visit flowers. Larva feed on caterpillars and sawflies provisioned by the adult female.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Cordes-Sur-Ciel, Southern France
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 01:21 AM EDT
Hi Mr Bugman,
I saw this on my patio yesterday, I’ve never seen anything like it. A friend tells me it is a Wolf spider, carrying her babies, is this correct?
Thank you
How you want your letter signed:  Curly

Wolf Spider with Spiderlings

Dear Curly,
Your friend is correct.  This is a female Wolf Spider with her brood of spiderlings.

Subject:  Short wasp? Weird bee? Sawfly? Just what is this guy?
Geographic location of the bug:  La Jolla, California
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 06:10 PM EDT
Hello there. I was wondering if you could identify this insect? I am terribly afraid of bees and wasps, so when I took a glance at it after stepping out of my mother’s car (about 6 meters away), I was in a hurry to get away from it. Upon closer inspection, my mother insisted it looked more like a moth than a bee (I have to disagree, but the wings do have peculiar patterns that bees, wasps, and the like usually don’t have, so I guess I could see it.)
It certainly did not fly like a butterfly- it hovered much like a bee or wasp would when it would fly, which is why I thought it was one until I saw the pictures she took.
This fellow was attracted to some yellow flowers we have right outside of our house, (the kind of flower is featured in one picture of the bug) if that means anything at all. Yet again, bees and butterflies also tend to hang out there, so I guess that’s nothing really important, although it lets you know this guy’s a pollinator.
Anyways, if you could help me identify this bug I would so much appreciate it. I’ve tried looking everywhere to find his species and have had no luck.
Thank you kindly.
How you want your letter signed:  T.H.

Bee Fly

Dear T.H.,
Mistaking this Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae for a bee is quite understandable.  It is quite a beautiful Bee Fly and we suspect it is the same species that visited the offices of What’s That Bug? this weekend in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles, but alas, we were unable to get an image of it before it flew away.  We have identified it as
Poecilanthrax arethusa thanks to the Natural History of Orange County site.  Unfortunately, other than providing a range, BugGuide does not have any species specific information on this gorgeous, and perfectly harmless, Bee Fly, but the genus page does credit D. Yeates with the revelation “Endoparasitoids of Noctuidae pupae.”  We followed the provided link to ResearchGate where it states:  “The recorded host range of Bombyliidae spans seven insect Orders and the Araneae; almost half of all records are from bees and wasps (Hymenoptera). No Bombyliidae have evolved structures to inject eggs directly into the host as is the case in many hymenopterous parasitoids. Bombyliid larvae usually exhibit hypermetamorphosis, and contact their host while it is in the larval stage. Bee fly larvae consume the host when it is in a quiescent stage such as the mature larva, prepupa or pupa.”  The indicated hosts, the pupae of moths in the family Noctuidae, generally pupate underground.  INaturalist has numerous Southern California sightings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Spiny caterpillar for ID
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Virginia, USA
Date: 09/18/2017
Time: 12:59 PM EDT
Early autumn in Virginia — mid-September
Found this caterpillar on an Eastern Bluestar (Amsonia) plant in my garden
About 1.5 inches long
How you want your letter signed: VirginiaGardenGal

Long Winged Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Dear Virginia Garden Gal,
We suspected this to be a Dagger Moth Caterpillar from the genus
Acronicta, a large and diverse genus with several spiny caterpillars.  We eventually identified your caterpillar as that of a Long Winged Dagger Moth, Acronicta illustris, thanks to this and other BugGuide images.  It appears as though this caterpillar might be capable of stinging.

Long Winged Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Subject:  What is THIS?
Geographic location of the bug:  Buenos Aires
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 08:58 AM EDT
I want to know what is this and if its dangerous . Its almost 15cm long
How you want your letter signed:  Natalia


Dear Natalia,
This is a predatory Giant Water Bug, commonly called a Toe-Biter in North America.  Though it is not considered dangerous, the common name Toe-Biter is a reference to the number of waders who have accidentally stepped on a Giant Water Bug in the shallows and the painful bite that resulted.

Subject:  who is THIS?
Geographic location of the bug:  solvang California
Date: 09/18/2017
Time: 04:34 PM EDT
this bug invaded our high school girlfriends weekend reunion in cali & caused lots of screaming & near-wetting-of pants
How you want your letter signed —
queenie & lulu

Potato Bug

Dear Queenie & Lulu,
Just out of curiosity, was the high school that inspired the girlfriends’ weekend reunion from elsewhere?  The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is a real Southern California icon, and most children who grow up in the southland know about them.  Based on your images, it appears that it headed to the pool.  That might be a sign it has been parasitized by a Horsehair Worm or Gordian Worm, an internal parasite that causes the Potato Bug to seek water, at which point the long, hairlike worm burst out, killing the Potato Bug.  Seeing that might have caused some actual “wetting of pants.”