Dear WTB,
Early in the week we tore down our arbor and fence and discovered this cocoon attached to a fence post behind the foliage. We live near Modesto, CA in the central valley. We have been unable to identify what will come out of this cocoon once the insect immerges – can you help? It is approx. 1 inch long and has scales like a snake. The exterior is very "tough". It has maroon striped markings on each side with a cream color filling out the remaining exterior. My photos are a bit fuzzy – couldn’t get my digital to focus for a closer shot. Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated! My children and I are perplexed.
Thank you,
Sheri McNeilly

Hi Sheri,
I would like to do more research before giving you a definite answer, but it looks more like an egg case than a cocoon. It might be a preying mantis egg case known as an Ootheca. I will get back to you.

Thank you – as you can see, I’m not up on bug terminology. A mantis would be wonderful.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

(10/3/2003) Dear Bugman,
Two weeks ago (Mid September), while in the countryside near the central Italian western coast, this friend flew onto our set and settled in. He moved slowly and wasn’t at all intimidated by our presence, poking or prodding. What is the name of this creature; it looks somehow familiar to me, although this was my first trip to Italy.
Thanks again!
Tomás Arceo

Mediterranean Flathead Woodborer

Mediterranean Flathead Woodborer

Dear Tomás,
I thought your beetle looked like a member of the Metallic Wood Boring Beetle family, Buprestidae, but I am not really familiar with European species. I did a google search on Buprestidae Italy and found the following picture with the scientific name Capnodis tenebrionis.
I did a new google search and found this amazing site that needs to be translated: Your beetle goes by the common name Mediterranean Flathead Woodborer. The adults feed on the leaves of apricot trees, almond trees and other stone fruits. The larvae bore into the roots and cause great damage.
Thank you for the great photos.

Ed Note: January 13, 2009
We keep finding wonderful postings that got lost in our site migration last September and this is one.

ED. NOTE Correction:  December 31, 2010
We just received a comment from mardikavana identifying this Metallic Borer Beetle as
Capnodis cariosa, a different species in the genus we originally identified in 2003.

Great website! I found a glow worm in my driveway tonight, and only figured out what it was through your page. I had only heard of them in my childhood memories. What a thrill!
D. Scott

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

(10/15/2003)
Great website! I found a glow worm in my driveway tonight, and only figured out what it was through your page. I had only heard of them in my childhood memories. What a thrill!
D. Scott

Red, White and Blue Insect
I wrote to you about a month ago about a red , white and blue insect. I finally have a couple of pictures. Hopefully these will help you identify these insecects. Still very curious in Birmingham, Alabama.
Thank you,
Lyn

note: Here is Lyn’s original letter, lost in the bowels of our mailbox.

(8/16/2003) Red white and Blue
I have just spent a week at our beach house in Santa Rosa, Florida. ( the Gulf of Mexico area or Destin, Florida). In all of my 45 years there I have never seen a more beautiful flying insect. Its colors are red, white and blue . The closest insect that I can compare it to in size is a wasp or hornet. As we were so overwhelmed by its beauty, we didn’t even think whether or not it would sting us. Fortunately, it did not. I got very close to it to take a picture and it just stayed as if it were posing. How ironical ………………….that today we would find a red,white and blue flier ! Can you help identify this beautiful creature ? Also, at the beginning of the evening sky, we would have hundreds (maybe an exageration ) of tiny green frogs on our sliding glass doors.How precious they were ! I’ve never seen them there either ! I wonder if this years abundance of rain has anything to do with this ??
Thanks for your help,
Puzzled Lyn,
Birmingham, Alabama

Dear Lyn,
I cannot tell you the exact species, but it is a moth that mimics a wasp. Of the two families of moths known as Wasp Moths, your specimen appears to belong to the subfamily Ctenuchinae which are small day-flying moths most of which are tropical and very colorful. They are sometimes seen flying in great numbers. These moths not only mimic wasps in appearance, but sometimes in behavior as well. Needless to say, this mimicry is a self preservation technique since many predators avoid wasps due to their sting. The other family of Wasp Moths is Sesiidae, and includes clearwing moths, many of which are agricultural pests like the Peach Tree Borer. The moths have no sting. Your photos are great.

Thanks so much for your help. What an" interesting " field you have ! Again, thank you. If your ever in my neck of the woods……………….look me up. Please see my web site"
fountainsetc.com
We ship all over the country.
Take care,
Evelyn

Editor’s Note: The moth has now been correctly identified as the Polka Dot Wasp Moth, Syntomeida epilais jucundissima, whose destructive caterpillars are known as the Oleander Caterpillars (see above letter).

I have been trying to find out information regarding the habits of crickets and hope that you could answer a couple of questions for me. When do crickets lay their eggs? (time of year, time of day)How many do they lay? How long does a cricket live? Do they "Mate" for life? I thank you in advance for any help on this.
Renee Greenman

Hi Renee,
I will try to answer all your questions. I’m guessing you mean Field Crickets, Acheta (or Gryllus) assimilis, though there are many types of crickets which have different habits and habitats. Field Crickets are black and over a half an inch in length. They are nocturnal. They lay their eggs in the fall and the female buries them in the ground with her ovipositor. Several hundred eggs are laid singly in the ground. A cricket that lives an entire year is long lived, and a female needs only mate once to lay eggs, but one could hardly consider them to be monogomous.


(11/15/2003) Ugly Basement Bug
Hi bugman … we have been having a problem with a large hopping bug. They are in our basement (they are not crickets). They’re large (about and inch long) with a softish type brownish colored shell body and long legs (about 1-1/2" long). Legs are brown with beige striped. They’re very quick and hop away – very hard to kill and some have been immune (it seems) to the only spray we had in house (hornet spray). They are VERY VERY UGLY. Sorry we cannot supply a photo. Help!
Thanks,
Louiseann

Dear Louiseann,
I’m guessing Camel Crickets which have a very high arched back. Here is an image. They are fond of dark places and often take up residence in basements. They are relatively harmless.

Dear Daniel….. you are right on…. our bug is definitely the Camel Cricket….and now you mentioned "dark" , they do tend to be found at night. When we go downstairs in evening and turn light on, we’ll spot one or two. Thanks so much – I feel very relieved – they looked so prehistoric! You are really knowledgeable. Appreciate your efforts and thanks for getting back to me.
Louiseann