I live in Southern California and encountered the most hideous insect I have ever seen.
Here’s a description:
Black with white covering entire body.
Length: 2-3″
Antennae: very long 2″minimum
It resembled a skeleton.
Had 4-6 legs.
Body seemed very hard.
Please advise
—Peter DiVincenzo

Dear Peter,
My original guess would have been a Eucalyptus Tree Borer (Phoracantha semipunctata) but the black and white coloring suggests a relative, the Banded Alder Borer (Rosalia funebris) instead. This is a very attractive beetle with black and white striped antennae which are longer than the body. It feeds on alder, ash and other hardwood trees, occasionally boring into the wood of laurel, live oak and eucalyptus as well. Adults are sometimes attracted to the fumes of fresh paint.

Try these sites for a photo and more information.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/97/6.19.97/
beetle.html

http://www.uvm.edu/albeetle/bandedalderborer.html

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Please look at the attached picture. I live in VA and these are in my house. I used to think these were silverfish because the smaller ones don’t have such large legs/antennae…but I really have no idea what they are.
Thanks for your time!
Mike
What’s That Bug? is cleaning house, posting images that slipped through the cracks, and we though you would enjoy Mike’s photo of a house centipede.

I think they are called house cenitpedes. And from what I read on the net, they can "?bite/sting?" people. But they are normally very shy and fast.

Dear Liana,
House centipedes do not get four inches long, but often things are not the size they appear. Also, your initial letter from Alex said they were not house centipedes, so I never even suggested that possibility since I thought he was certain your creatures were not house centipedes. House centipedes have about 15 pairs of legs, and the final pair are elongated. They are not harmful, and are actually beneficial as they devour unwanted insects.

HHHHHHEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPP!!!!
I’ve grown tomatoes for years, and recently moved. When I go out to my garden, EVERYTIME a tomato starts to turn red, something eats a hole in it. I thought it was worms, but I have sprayed for them twice, with no results. Today when I went out, one of the tomatoes had split at the top (due to the weather), and there were little bugs with wings inside them, they had red heads. Is that what keeps eating my red tomatoes?? Please help me, I’m loosing my mind. Whatever it is, it only eats a hole the size of a half dollar, then moves on to the next, and doesn’t seem to be bothering anything else in my garden. Thank you soooo very much, hopefully you have an answer for me.
Kristi

Hi Kristi,
I suspect birds. I have mockingbirds that frequently nibble my ripe tomatoes. Also squirrels. I have taken to draping the plants with tulle, or netting, when the tomatoes begin to ripen. Tomato bugs, or tomato horn worms, occasionally nibble the tomatoes, but usually the green ones. They also defoliate the plants, and you should be able to find them because of their droppings. Good luck.

OMG,,,,,,, i never thought of that!! We do have mocking birds living next door. We watch them attack the neighborhood cats. Funny that the tomato’s usually only have holes toward the bottom of the plant. Maybe because the birds are short?? What can i cover them with so they can’t get through? I’m afraid they can get their beady little beaks through the netting??? Thank you soooooo much for your advice. You have no idea how much this helps me!!

Hi Kristi,
Some garden shops sell a black or green netting that is more durable than tulle. I got it at Home Depot. I haven’t had a problem with the tulle. The netting at the garden shop has a stronger weave with larger holes, and it can be reused from year to year. Remember, everyone loves tomatoes, even birds and small mammals. The position of the holes probably has something to do with where the birds perch while eating.

You are awesome,,, Thank you so very much for taking time out of your busy day to help others. I think that is wonderful!!! May God bless you richly. 🙂

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello Mr. Bug Guy!
Never seen anything like it before and we have no idea how it got into the house and onto the second floor landing. That’s as far from any open window as it gets in our place and not close to the ground, either. (Although we do have two cats and a kitten.) It was casually walking, slowly, along the carpet. Actually, it looked kinda sick. It wasn’t moving particularly fast or anything. We scooped it into a jar and within hours, there was barely a flicker of movement left. (Still Flickering, though, as I write this.) It’s not quite 3 cm from nose to tail. It’s coloring was much like a watermelon, the kind with a lot of contrast between the stripes. It had these two, strange paddles out front, looking a lot like shoehorns. Any idea what this bug might be? Is it local or some kind of import? I’m in San Jose, CA, at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay.
Thanks!
John

While cleaning out the old email account, we discovered these amazing photos sent in by John of a Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata. They are native and the adults eat pine needles while the grubs are considered pests of peach trees.

Hello Mr. Bug Guy!
Never seen anything like it before and we have no idea how it got into the house and onto the second floor landing. That’s as far from any open window as it gets in our place and not close to the ground, either. (Although we do have two cats and a kitten.) It was casually walking, slowly, along the carpet. Actually, it looked kinda sick. It wasn’t moving particularly fast or anything. We scooped it into a jar and within hours, there was barely a flicker of movement left. (Still Flickering, though, as I write this.) It’s not quite 3 cm from nose to tail. It’s coloring was much like a watermelon, the kind with a lot of contrast between the stripes. It had these two, strange paddles out front, looking a lot like shoehorns. Any idea what this bug might be? Is it local or some kind of import? I’m in San Jose, CA, at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay.
Thanks!
John


While cleaning out the old email account, we discovered these amazing photos sent in by John of a Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata. They are native and the adults eat pine needles while the grubs are considered pests of peach trees.

What is the tiny fly type bug that comes in through the window screens and hangs out on the window glass or ceiling. They almost look like a small fruit fly but they are not. They hang out in the grass as if you water your lawn or walk through it they disperse. Just tons coming in the garage screen door. I’ve been swatting them for almost a week now. Live in NY state and it has been dry and hot. Thanks

Dear R.
Any number of gnats are small enough to enter through the openings of window screens. The Black Gnat (family Sciaridae) is tiny, about 1/16 inch, and often flits in one’s face while watching television or gets caught in fresh paint, or causes despair when they appear in bowls of breakfast cereal. The larva live in decaying plant material, often being numerous around compost piles, and they are also known to infest the roots and stems of various herbaceous plants. Since you haven’t complained of itchy bites, you can be thankful that you aren’t being plagued by nasty no-see-ums, so count yourself lucky that you just get benign gnats.