Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming
August 1, 2011 12:12 pm
Please identify. Many of these healthy looking critters are in our greenhouse munching away on the remaining tomatoes!
Signature: Beth

Tomato Hornworm

Hi Beth,
We only know of two Sphinx Caterpillars, commonly called Hornworms, that feed upon tomato, and they are both green, so we were very surprised to learn that the Tomato Hornworm,
Manduca quinquemaculata, also has a dark form.  Your individual is considerably darker than the example posted on the Sphingidae of the Americas website, the best place to identify Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae.  We are going to copy the webmaster at Sphingidae of the Americas, Bill Oehlke, because he may be interested in posting your very dark Tomato Hornworm.

Bill Oehlke responds
Hi Daniel,
The dark form is actually quite common. There are a couple of links on quinquemaculatus file where sources have sent green and dark forms feeding in same location, some of them are very dark.
Thanks for thinking of me. The Laramie County sighting confirms/documents a suspected presence in that county.
Bill Oehlke

Hello Dan,
Thanks for doing the work! I am intrigued!  We have not used any pesticide in the greenhouse and only had a limited amount of tomatoes.
Thanks for passing this on – my husband and I are teachers, Paul a middle grades science teacher and I teach second grade so this will start the year with interest for the kids.
With appreciation,
Beth Crips

gardening blog update:  August 18, 2011
We allow Tomato Hornworms and Tobacco Hornworms to feed on our tomato plants.  There are usually no more than two caterpillars per plant.  We love the adult moths, though we have only seen one.  The pupa we tried to raise in a terrarium emerged and its wings did not enlarge.  It might benefit this species for the female to stay by the food source and attract the male.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Killington ”Bluejacket”
Location: Killington, Vermont
August 1, 2011 2:00 pm
What’s this ”bluejacket” (instead of a Yellowjacket)? I’ve seen it twice on Killington Mountain, Killington, Vermont – once 8/16/09 (photo enclosed)& once 7/29/2011. The recent sighting was at about 2500 feet above sea level, on the ”Header” ski trail under the Ramshead Express Quad. This trail faces approximately southeast, I think. The hour was approximately 3 pm EDT, & the area where I saw the insect was fully sunlit & very hot – ~ 80 degrees F. Both times the insect appears to have been feeding on what I think isLiatris Borealis (Northern Blazing Star). Not a great picture, but I hope you can help!
Signature: Peggy Richardson

Flower Fly

Hi Peggy,
This is a Flower Fly or Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae.  We have tried in the past to identify a blue Flower Fly to no avail.  We will continue to research its species identity. 

We found this newly posted image on BugGuide of
Didea alneti from Canada that matches your Flower Fly quite nicely.

Yes, it certainly looks similar.  This is great, thanks.  I’ve been poking around looking for pix & info. & I don’t yet find any other sightings in Vermont.  The link you sent me was reporting from Alberta, Canada.  I found reports from the UK, from Austria/Tyrol, & Sweden. Here’s a Danish site with a great photo gallery of this species: <- This site lists the distribution as “Alaska to Labrador, s. to Colorado & N.S.” so it’s exciting to think I may be the 1st to report it in VT.  Not surprising that it would be up on a mountain.

Spider eating bee
Location: Vancouver Island BC Canada
August 1, 2011 3:34 pm
My friend in Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, BC Canada took this picture this morning on his daisies. A voracious little white spider that is enormously successful capturing and killing other insects. What is this spider’s name?
Signature: Sharon J

Crab Spider Eats Bee

Hi Sharon,
The scientific name for your spider is
Misumena vatia, and it has several common names, including Crab Spider because of its general shape, and Flower Spider because of its habit of waiting on flowers for pollinating insects.  Crab Spiders are able to change color to match their surroundings, and your white Crab Spider blends perfectly with the white petals of the blossom.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

love your site
August 1, 2011 5:56 pm
I just happened on your site while researching Cicada Killers. That was two hours ago. This is the best site I have found in ages. So thorough. Thank you.
Signature: Jerri

Hi Jerri,
Thanks for the compliment, and we also hope you left our site with a favorable impression of the much maligned Cicada Killer.

Indeed I did. I researched the Cicada Kille because my sister (who is allergic to bees) saw them at the Dunes National Park in Indiana and was terrified of the stinging appearance. Thank you for helping me to put her mind at ease. By the way she lives in Northwest Indiana and this is the first time she has seen them. Again Thanks.
Jerri Simon

Red and black cricket-like insect
Location: Central Ohio
August 1, 2011 4:15 pm
I have been seeing these little guys hanging around on my lilac bush. They look like crickets, but I haven’t been able to identify them. Perhaps it’s a katydid nymph of some kind?
Signature: Morgan in Hilliard, Ohio

Red Headed Bush Cricket

Hi Morgan,
The Red Headed Bush Cricket, 
Phyllopalpus pulchellus, reminds you of a Cricket because it is a true Cricket in the family Gryllidae.  According to BugGuide, it is also called a Handsome Trig.

Sweet Lord what is this Winged Terror Thou Hast Spawned?!
Location: Juneau Alaska
August 1, 2011 8:03 pm
Hello Bugman. Attached you will find the best picture I was able to get of this beast. It was huge. A little bigger than my thumb (I am tall adult male, to give you scale). I was walkinga along the beach and this thing landed on my waist. After jumping around I was able to get it off by flicking it with a stick. It hung out on the ground for a bit then took off into the sunset. I have never seen anything like that before up here. WTF is it?
Signature: Scared Alaskan

Elm Sawfly

Dear Scared Alaskan,
You really know how to grab our attention with a catchy subject line.  This is an Elm Sawfly, the largest Sawfly in North America.  Sawflies are non-stinging relatives of Bees and Wasps, and because of the family resemblance, it is understandable that you were startled, but the Elm Sawfly is perfectly harmless.  The larvae resemble caterpillars.  More photos and information can be accessed on BugGuide.