what is it?
Sorry, I am new at photographing bugs – this is the best I could do. I collected these bugs from our house and then dumped them on a tile – so some are on their back and two are stuck together on the 19 – Can you identify them? Unfortunately they are all over the neighborhood. Our neighborhood is under heavy construction since many homes were burned to the ground during the So. Cal wildfires in Oct. 2003. We are back in a newly rebuilt home and have had our share of ants to deal with. But this is a new one – we ’ re hoping these are not Powder Post Beetle s . Some of our neighbors are sure these are ticks. They have been sited in neighboring towns too – that are not under heavy construction. We have a newly built two-story house and they continue to appear upstairs and downstairs by the dozens. OK, we had fire, we had terrible rains last year, but hopefully there are no locusts on th e way. All kidding aside, we are so happy to be home and hope that you can tell us that this bug isn ’ t something that can destroy our home or carpet or hurt our animals. Thanks!
Lynda Felder

Hi Lynda,
These are neither ticks nor powderpost beetles, but Burrower Bugs, Family Cydnidae. According to Borror and Delong: “They are usually found burrowing beneath stones or boards, in sand, or in the mold about the roots of grass tufts; sometimes they are found in ant nests.” This might be Cyrtomenus mirabilis, a species found in the South and Southwest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Pretty thing
Hi, These flies were briefly common in my little woodland in central Kentucky. I couldn’t find them in my book, though. I didn’t see them on your fly page, but I obviously need to narrow my search. Any thoughts?

Hi David,
We have one previous photo of a Scorpionfly on our site, but you couldn’t locate it because Scorpionflies, Family Panorphidae, are not true flies. Adults feed on dead and dying insects, nectar and rotting fruit. The shape of the male genitalia, which is large, pear-shaped, and held forward above the abdomen like a scorpion’s stinger, gives this group their common name. Your female does not make this common name evident.

don’t know what this bug is – can you help?
I took the attached pictures on Wednesday, July 20th. When I found this bug it was just sitting on something. I didn’t see it move at all. It has wings but I didn’t see it fly. In the picture, you can see someone’s thumbnail for scale reference. I live in Burlington, Vermont if that helps to identify the bug. I haven’t ever seen anything like this before. thanks

Hi Devon,
This is a Smoky Horntail, Genus Urocerus. They are found in mixed and coniferous forests mostly in the west, but a few species are found in the east. Adults drink nectar and larvae eat wood by tunneling through the sap and heartwood.

Update: Urocerus albicornus
(08/03/2007) Corrections on some ID’s
Dear Bugman,
Today I found a very eye-catching specimen of Urocerus Albicornis, the White-horned Horntail, wandering around on a Douglas Fir in extreme NW Washington State (near Ferndale) and laying eggs. I didn’t know what it was, but I captured it in a very high-tech device (empty paper soda cup courtesy of Burger King!) and brought it home, and after doing a little web-research, found out that it was the critter mentioned above. Actually, it was your website that really helped me make the leap forward finally – I wasn’t getting very far on any of the other so-called “identification” sites. So anyway, after I verified what it was, I tried to get some more information about it, but there doesn’t appear to be very much other than a very very few pictures. Almost NO information to speak of online. However, in the course of my ferreting around I finally came back to your site, and found several other pictures of this very dapper bug. But it looks like they are mis-identified, so I wanted to let you know. In response to the posting by Devon on 7/22/05, you state that it is a “Smoky Horntail,” and in response to a posting on 7/28/07 by Peter, it was ID’d as a “Wood Wasp…might be Urocerus Albicornis.” There were also several other postings that look very much like this bug, only the wings are more rust-colored – these are ID’d as Urocerus Californicus. (9/12/06 by Annie and one other, I don’t remember the date/poster though). I do have to apologize for not taking a picture of it for you guys before I released it, it was a real beauty. I’m glad I didn’t kill it though. … Also, must say, GREAT SITE!!!! Totally fascinating, to say the least. I spent WAY more time browsing around looking at all the cool bugs than the time I needed to find out about the Horntails. Two thumbs up!
Sean in Ferndale, Washington

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Aphid Wolf?
I stumbled across your website while trying to identify a bug I’ve sporadically seen since I was a kid. I never knew what they were, and after finally getting a good photograph of one I thought I’d try to identify it. Judging by one of the blurry photos on your site, I’d guess this is an Aphid Wolf, or as you say the larva of a Brown Lacewing. If I’m right, feel free to add this photo to your website. If I’m wrong, please enlighten me.

Hi Walker,
I guess even a blurry photo is better than no photo, but thanks to you, we now have a good photo of a Brown Lacewing Larva, or Aphid Wolf. They belong to the Family Hemerobiidae and the larvae sometimes carry debris around on their backs.

Please help ID this late-night bug 🙂
Hi folks! We spotted this wasp/moth tonight in our porch light and were wondering if you could help us ID it. We are in East Texas – Humble, to be exact. Thank you for any assistance you can give us!
Michael-Ann Belin & Jade Delorme
Humble, Texas

Hi Michael-Ann Belin & Jade Delorme
We just love getting new critters for our database. This is a Mydas Fly, Family Mydidae. Your species looks like Mydas clavatus. Adults are predatory and resemble wasps or robber flies. Adults eat caterpillars, other flies, bees, and true bugs. Larvae prey upon insects in the soil, especially June Beetle larvae. Though this fly appears sluggish, it is a rapid flier.

What is this insect?
While taking pictures of “butterfly weed” I noticed an odd/unusual flying insect which appeared to me to be a cross between a hummingbird and beetle. It was hard shelled and perhaps about the size of a nickel or quarter. Clear colored wings, metallic/iridescence looking colors of black, blue and green, (depending on the light source perhaps), golden colored eyes, no antennas that I could see, six legs and a very long proboscis. I’ve searched my field guides and nothing comes close. What is this insect? I live in North Central Arkansas. Thank you,
Kay Biggerstaff

Hi Kay,
We thought this might be a Bee Fly, but has never seen anything like it. So … as we always do when in doubt, we turn to Eric Eaton. Here is his excited response: “Holy moly! What a proboscis! I am pretty sure this is a small-headed fly in the family Acroceridae. They are not terribly common. Larvae are internal parasites of spiders, but usually have to crawl around looking for a host after mom deposits her eggs in spider habitat. Trapdoor spiders are often the victims. I’d love to see this posted to BugGuide, as I believe it would be a whole new family for that site. I hate to ask that, everytime you send a cool image, but that is what BugGuide is for. The more diversity there, the more helpful it is to people wondering what their mystery bug is:-) I appreciate your indulgence in forwarding such requests to the submitters. Thank you. Eric” If they are so rare, it is great to see them perpetuating the species. So Kay, if you don’t mind, I would like to submit the image to BugGuide as well.

Update (06/01/2006)
Lasia purpurata Bequaert
Wow! This fly is quite rare in collections. It is Lasia purpurata Bequaert, which has been recorded from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Norm Woodley