Help! I have crabs! Well, at least it looks like crabs… Actually, I’m kidding. I found a tiny little crawler in my shower today and I’ve never seen one before. I’m hoping you might tell me what the heck it is. It appeared to be crab-like, more like a scorpion without a tail but it was only about a millimeter long with two longer "pincer" type arms in the front. Am I being invaded? I live in western Alberta, Canada, if that helps at all…

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I was restiching a pair of pants yesterday when out crawled a strange looking bug. It startled me and frightened me because I hadn’t ever seen anything like it before. It was no longer than say 4-6 mm. It was basically yellow, but with other colors on it. It had 2 "thingies" trailing behind it. It was rather flat and narrow and moved fairly fast considering it’s size. I killed it so I’m going by a 5-10 second memory recall. The pants are made of 100% polyester, from Guatemala. I realize that I haven’t given you much to work with , but if you can identify it I’d be appreciative.
Thanks for your time,
Mrs. Irish

It sounds like the dreaded silverfish, a household pest which will devour any and everything in the house. Sadly, and much to our embarassment here at What’s That Bug?, the silverfish is our one big failure story. As much as we tried, it seems we could never figure out a way for Miss Swanlund, former Homebody of the Month, to eradicate the pestilence from her tiny and cozy Hollywood starlet apartment, forcing her to buy a home and leave many of her prized books and possessions behind.

I live in New Hampshire and am having a problem with stink bugs. It is winter and we keep finding them in the house, on the windows, in the bathroom, etc. We seem to find one a week, where are they coming from?
Jane H.

Dear Jane H.
Stink bugs are notorious plant eaters, and they use their sucking mouthparts like a syringe to withdraw the vital fluids from their host plants. The most common species are either green or harlequin (red and black) and the green varieties are sometimes attracted to lights. These are the true stinkers in the insect world as well as being true bugs with incomplete metamorphosis. Without more information regarding the actual species I cannot conclude anything more than that perhaps the warm fall weather increased their survival rate outdoors and they entered the house for warmth, or else a houseplant, especially one that was outside this summer, has become their indoor host. Check your plants.

—Daniel Marlos

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Years ago, I came across a black centipede with yellow legs, about 6 to 8 inches long. I live in N.E. Oklahoma. I have only seen 1 or 2 since then. How common are these?

Dear Curious About Centipedes in Oklahoma,
Due to the general lack of cooperation from the chilopods, the class of invertebrates known as centipedes, there has been no formal census or headcount in recent years. Oklahoma does seem to be a breeding ground for the large centipede that you describe as there are hundreds of www links to be found, albeit, none with comprehensive information. Rock climbers in Chandler Park, Oklahoma, are warned to "Beware of poison ivy and the dreaded foot long centipedes which like to take refuge in the thousands of pockets found here. They are poisonous" and the author has personally seen one chewing on a large field mouse. I have also found information that claims they eat young rattlesnakes.

Caterpillars Second submission, once again from Hickory, NC. These caterpillars were all over town a week ago, but now they seem to either died or cocooned. Please identify and provide some background. Thanks!
Gene Annas

Hi Gene,
The website Caterpillars of Eastern Forests has a photo which identifies your caterpillar as an Orange-striped Oakworm (Anisota senatoria). The site says it is: “Charcoal black with orange-yellow stripes that fade appreciably in prepupal individuals. Head black. Second thoracic segment with long, black spinulose horns. Abdominal spines relatively small. Gregarious in early instars, then solitary. Occasionally reaches outbreak densities. One related species occurs in southern Ontario, and another in Florida and Georgia. Food: oaks and chestnuts. Caterpillar: August to October; 1 generation.” The adult moth is a pretty orange color.

Dear Daniel,
Perhaps you can help me figure out the answer to the perennial question: What’s That Bug? It’s hard to draw this bug. It was moving so fast and very erratically and it was extremely LOUD buzzing and it swerved towards me as if it were drunk! I drew it actual size–to the best of my knowledge.

Dear Bugged by Buzzing Behemoth,
To the best of my knowledge, you have had an encounter with a female Valley Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa varipuncta). These very large (1 inch) bees are so named because they bore into wood, forming tunnel-like nests for the rearing of young. Telephone poles and fences are often attacked. The Valley Carpenter Bee has earned itself a bad reputation because of its formidable size and habit of “buzzing” people. The green-eyed male is light brown with golden hairs and looks velvety. The female is a shiny black with bronze reflections on the wings. The female bees can sting, but do so very reluctantly, causing only mild pain.