Here is a letter we just love, and the original exchange can be found on the Hellgrammite page.


Hello Bug Person,
i saw your site and thought maybe you could help me and my roommate out. We have creatures . That’s what we call them, because they are unlike anything we’ve ever seen. In the last three places we’ve lived, we have seen the Creatures in our basement.
They are similar to centipedes in that they are long, have many legs, and are creepy. But that’s where the similarities end. Centipedes are flattened with legs that look like this ^ with one joint, but these Creatures have 2 joints, like spider legs. They don’t have as many as a centipede but definitely more than 8. The legs are generally the same size too, not different lengths like a house centipede. they don’t have the front "fangs" like a centipede but a mandible similar to a spider’s – no antenae-no little butt feelers. And they come in 3 different colors. I’ve seen very large ones (4-5 inches), black with
white spots; others were just as big but dark brown; and just the other day, in our new duplex, we found a little one maybe 2-3 inches long and light brown. They are very fast and i even hit one with a book, cutting off its lower half, and the rest of it got away. Yeah, these things are evil. Nobody knows what these things are. We’ve had hunters, floridians, Arizonians, and other self-proclaimed bug experts, but we always get the same thing: a hideous blank stare and lonely nights in our basement. Can you tell me what the creatures are?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear What’s That Bug,
I was walking through the woods yesterday evening when I ran across several of these creatures. We live in the southeastern U.S….these were found near dusk in a drizzle in a forest. I have always heard of them being called ‘cherry bugs’ due to the scent that they emit when startled or feel threatened…they are between 1.5 and 2.5 inches in length, black, with yellow spots down not only the sides, but also down the center of the back as well. All markings are symmetrical. They look *very* similar to a picture I saw of a yellow-spotted millipede…the difference being the extra row of yellow spots down the center of the back….plus, the yellow-spots are from Oregon…and we are in Tennessee. I am curious to know what exactly these are, they are interesting creatures, and I’d like to know a bit more about them. Also, any care advice would be appreciated as well.
Thank you! –
Christina Loder

Dear Christina,
Unfortunately, if you enclosed a photograph, it did not arrive. Based on your description, and your latitude and longitude, I would guess that you have stumbled upon some caterpillars, more specifically, the larvae of some local swallowtail (Papilio sp.) My guess would be the larvae of the black swallowtail butterfly, which feeds on parsley and related plants including Queen Anne’s Lace which grows in uncultivated meadows. The caterpillars are green, black and yellow, and have two orange horns which are hidden near the head. When the caterpillar is threatened, the horns emerge, along with a musty smell that I would not really liken to the scent of cherries. Try this: http://www.ivyhall.district96.k12.il.us/4th/kkhp/
1insects/BSC.html

If you keep them in captivity, you can feed them carrot tops. They will form a crysalid and a butterfly will eventually emerge.

Late in the afternoon on Labor Day, while preparing for Diorama Club, I noticed a very large, very shiny female Valley Carpenter Bee buzzing loudly and crawling around on a dead branch of my carob tree. I also noticed a perfectly round hole in her proximity. Issuing from the hole was additional buzzing. In the spring, a female VCB had been seen in the vicinity. At that time the honeysuckle was in full bloom along the street, and female VCB’s were often found lapping up nectar. Could it be that I was witnessing the emergence of her brood from the tunnel she had dug for them? I hoped if I watched long enough, I would get to see one of the males. The sexual dimorphism that occurs in the VCB is quite extreme, and a Casual Observer

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

We have been trying unsuccessfully all summer to photograph the swallowtails in our yard at the What’s That Bug? headquarters. They fly lazily above the plants, landing for brief moments whenever we don’t have our camera. The minute we get the camera, they refuse to land. One morning in August, we finally photographed this Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zeliacaon, feeding from a zinnia.

These bugs are all over my workshop/shed. They have red eyes and fly. There are literally thousands of them. They mass in giant clumps. What are they, I’ve never seen them before.
Thanks.

Dear Sir,
You have an infestation of Box Elder Bugs (Leptocoris trivittatus). Check out our website www.whatsthatbug.com for more information. We have additional information on the massing bugs which we have listed under ladybugs because a recent question involved both species.

Amazing. I have searched the web for a few days, identify a bug sites, all kinds of crazy stuff. Nothing. No where. I email you and you instantly know what it is. I attached the pictures of the one specimin I photographed closely. I googled up a bunch of photos. But the photos I have seen of live ones and what not, if there are no very close relatives, that is it.
You said they are European imports. So they are already across the United States? They are in Salt Lake City anyway. A little more reading on them, they say they raise up like a scorpion when scared, release a stinky smell from their abdomen (true) does not sting but can give a painful bite. We are not gardeners, we live in brand new apartments, and we are finding them in our house. Should something be done? Or should we just scoop them up and let them outside? Thanks again on identifying it, with such a vague description really. Best site 🙂
google.com search identify a font.
The site, identifies fonts, asks one question at a time, and identifies the font, to 2 or three fonts out of like 10,000 fonts. A bug site like that, would be amazing. I’m not much of a bug expert, but if you wanted any design help for such a site, let me know.