Small kitchen spiders with a death wish
Your site is terrific! I have spent a lot of time trying to get a good shot of our latest guests in our kitchen in Annandale , Virginia to send in for identification. They are much more active at night but also move around in the daytime. My original email to you came back because the file was too big and then your site was down for a while. Naturally, left to my own vivid imagination, I decided these are of the brown recluse variety. Imagine the scene when several of these guys committed hari kari into boiling water as I started a batch of macaroni for lunch at my daughter’s birthday party. Apparently they were living in the hood above the stove prior to the steam bath. They’ve moved on to the cabinets but not before one drowned in my cup of decaf; didn’t notice him until I swallowed the last drop. Really! Of course, with my growing belief that my friends are brown recluses, it took a while to determine whether my tongue was numb from the dead spider in the coffee cup or just because of bad decaf. I’m pretty sure brown recluses aren’t living in Northern Virginia but my skin is crawling anyway. Tell me I’m being melodramatic (please!)
wondering in VA ,

Hi Katie,
Your letter is so entertaining. You do not have Brown Recluses. I believe you have a spider from the genus Chiracanthium, known as the Cream House Spider. According to Hogue: It was introduced from Europe and “often enters homes, where it builds a sack-like web in corners and crevices (even in household appliances). … When disturbed they draw the fore pair of legs back and in, forming a cage around the body. As they walk, these spiders often wave the fore legs about or thrust them forward as if testing the path. These spiders have relatively strong long fangs and have been known to bite humans, causing a wound that is painful and slow to heal.”

Thanks so much for the quick reply! I’m relieved to finally have a name for these guys that doesn’t contain “recluse” — although the painful bite, slow healing part makes me a little nervous. By the way, thanks to your great and informative site, one very large, ugly, creepy, crawly house centipede received a free ride to the great outdoors this morning rather than a one-way garbage can trip. — becoming enlightened one bug at a time,
your Annandale fan, Katie

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Orange Bug – now BIG black bug
I had emailed a few weeks ago about some small orangish bugs with black dots along it’s tail end — you had suggested they might be asassin bugs…..NOW – – I just got back from vacation and found these bad boys on my tomato plants….no more of the small orange ones….I think they grew up…and they fly now…. > I watched them a bit this morning and they seem to be "secreting" some clear fluids from their tails….. Do I kill these things or leave them?
Robyn McRae

Hi Robyn,
You have Leaf-Footed Bugs, Leptoglossus phyllopus, from the Coreid Bug group. It is a widespread and conspicuous minor pest of many kinds of crops including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and ornamentals. This includes tomatoes. Here is a page with more information.

weird bug
Hi – I’ve seen another interesting bug. It was crawling across my porch. it’s not the first time I’ve seen its kind, and have always wondered what it is. Thanks!!

Hi Michelle,
The wonders of metamorphosis never cease to amaze. Most everyone can identify a Ladybug, more accurately a Ladybird Beetle, but few people recognize the larval form. That is what you have photographed. They have ravenous appetites and devour huge quantities of Aphids. The Larval Ladybird Beetles are often found in tall grass and they are very mobile.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

ID, plant bug?
Hi, Daniel.
You were so helpful with the last mystery bug, I wonder if you could help me with this one. Finding it on my cukes and celery. About 1/4″ long. Any ideas?

Hi Amanda,
I’m afraid we can’t be much more accurate than you have already been. It is a True Bug, and possibly a member of the Plant Bug family Miridae. This is a large family of soft bodied insects, most less than 3/8 inch long. They use their beaklike mouthparts to suck plant juices. They are often injurious to crops.

Good enough. I’ll keep feeding them to the chickens. Thanks again.

Can you please help me identify this bug in my lawn. It looks like a flying beetle and I need to know if it is going to cause problems. Please let me know if you cannot see the pictures.

Hi Shaki,
You have a species of Spittle Bug which we identified on Bug Guide as Prosapia bicincta. The nymphs are often found sucking the juices from plants while under the protection of a mass of frothy bubbles exuded from the anus. Another common name is Frog Hopper. They are injurious.

Costa Rican bug
Hi Bugman
Congratulations for your excellent website! Don’t know if you can also help me with some Central American bug… There is a bug in Costa Rica whose droppings are extremely acid, causing severe skin irritations: the spot first turns red, then blue the next day and then all the skin far around the spot gets full of blisters and after a week or so, peels off. They call it "chinche" here. I happened to make a picture of such a guy months before I made my own bad experiences with it. Do you have any idea what class of bug it is, or where could I find information?
Kind regards

Hi Pia,
Your bug is a True Bug from the Family Coreidae, The Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs. They are plant pests. In California we have a Western Leaf-footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus which is called the Chincha, which means “bug” in Spanish. There are also bugs known as Chinch Bugs in the Family Lygaeidae, the Seed Bugs. Hope that helps, though we can’t give you an exact species name.