WHAT KIND OF BUGS ARE THESE??? THEY ARE BLACK WITH TWO RED STRIPES ON THE WINGS AND THEY LOOK LIKE A FIREFLY. WE WERE TOLD THAT THEY ARE A TYPE OF BEETLE, BUT ARE UNABLE TO FIND THEM IN ANY BOOK. THEY ARE COMING FROM A ROTTING ELM TREE. THERE IS ALSO WATER DAMAGE TO THE HOUSE IF THIS HELPS IDENTIFY THEM.

Dear Stat,
Without more concrete information regarding size and orientation of the stripes, vertical versus horizontal, it would be difficult to identify your bug. Wood boring beetles are often of the longhorn variety, and though they are not true beetles, the box elder bug (Leptocoris trivittatus) might be your culprit, but they eat leaves, not rotting wood. Rove beetles look like fireflies, but their wings are hidden. They might lurk around rotting wood, searching for soft succulent prey. Can you send a photo?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I am new to growing tomatoes, and am currently having mixed results. I live in the DFW area and planted the young plants about 4 weeks ago (middle of April). They have been growing well, but there is a slight mystery. One of the plants (an heirloom variety) has leaves that are looking scrunched up. Almost as if they have been lightly squashed in hand. Another plant is having trouble keeping its flowers. Flowers show in nice little yellow clumps, and then all of a sudden they are broken off – almost like they are cut or bitten through leaving a kind of stumpy growth. I would love to know what is doing that and what to do about it.
Thanks in advance
Christopher Bird
PS Please don’t publicize the email address, I have been spam free for 3 years! Thanks

Dear Christopher,
Heirloom varieties often have potato type leaves. This is no indication that the plants are unhealthy. Blossoms will not set fruit until the nighttime temperatures are warm. Don’t fret.

Another photo just for fun.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi,
I live in Southern California… East of Riverside. I found a bug in my garage that I’ve never seen before… and have no idea what it is. It is about 1 1/2 long, yellowish-tan in color (except for the abdomen which is darker). On a larger scale it has a head like an ant. Each of its feet are like a combination of around six spikes with an extra claw appendage growing out of the middle of the spikes. It has no wings.
It almost looks like a huge relative of an ant or termite.
Any ideas.
Thanks,
Scott

Dear Scott,
It sounds like it could be a wind scorpion or solpugid. We often get photos of them from our readers especially those in drier climates. Check out the newly revamped Whats That Bug? website at www.whatsthatbug.com and simply click on wind scorpion. Let us know if that is your critter. Here is a photo recently sent in but the letter is lost.

These little things are ratherr shiny, jump great lengths compared to their size. The one in the picture is about 1/4 inch long – I’ve seen them up to about 1/2 inch. We had the house fumigated for termites 8 weeks ago; these were among the earliest re-entrant critters. Can you identify this thing?
Thanks, … Al

Dear Al,
You have a Jumping Bristletail, Family Meinertellidae. They are related to silverfish and are found in leaf litter and in old stone walls. Some species invade houses. Most species are nocturnal, abhor light and are secretive in their habits.

Dear Bug Man,
I received the following letter and thought it might make an interesting addition to your American Homebody column, “What’s That Bug?” It’s from my cousin Kaya Adams, who is currently residing in Kigali, Rwanda, acquainting herself with the local insect population.

Dear Lisa Anne,
I feel compelled to share my own critter tale in response to your disturbing mite write of July 4th Homebody. As you know, I too was a victim of tiny visitors a little over a year ago, while travelling to and from England. About two weeks after returning from a friend’s wedding in SC, I developed itchy little bumps in the webs between my fingers. Friends advised me this was probably eczema from the hard water in Britain, but moisturizers and hand creams did nothing. The over-the-counter pharmacist at Boots prescribed Cortisone, thinking it could be an allergic reaction. Instead of clearing up, it spread. Itching was bad enough during the day — wreaking havoc on my concentration at work — but it was utterly intolerable at night, when I would peel off every chafing layer and lie in bed trying to let mind overcome matter. After two weeks, I went to the doctor, who immediately told me I had been infested with scabies!

What, you might ask (as I did), are scabies? They are little burrowing parasites which cling to fabric fibers before puncturing your skin and crawling inside. They then lay their eggs into your bloodstream, enabling them to travel all through your body. The itching is worse at night in correspondence to their most active life cycle. The original animals eventually die and get sloughed off with your dead skin, but until they do, their bodies are visible as tiny grey dots in each bump. The bump is actually your body’s reaction to this foreign inhabitant. The only way to cure scabies is to coat your body