The wild anise was growing nicely in the canyon, and we have noticed the adult Anise Swallowtails flying about, so we decided to look to see if we could find any caterpillars. We found three on one plant, barely 1/4 inch long, and assume they are Papilio zelicaon. We have never seen specimens this small and are unable to locate any photos to see if we are correct. We will keep an eye on them and hopefully document their growth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  “Dirt” Burnell, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
We found this beautiful Sweat Bee busily gathering honey and pollen from a wild artichoke in the canyon today. These are solitary bees with metallic green bodies. They nest in a tubular burrow dug in the ground, often in clay banks. They are members of the genus Augochlorella.

ed. Note: (09/06/2004) Eric just wrote in: “The metallic sweat bee is probably an Agapostemon sp. rather than whatever the current name on it is, but they are hard to separate without the specimen in hand.”

(06/07/2004) Are we really a USA Today Hot Site?

Saw your web site – Hot Site from USA Today.
Just shot this last weekend.. The bees were going crazy over this bush in my yard.. Didn’t mind me one bit. It was amazing to me to see how much this bee had stuck to it.
Cheers,
John

Thanks for the Honey Bee photo John.

We later spotted these Large Milkweed Bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, on their host plant. There were only two, and one was more colorful and cooperative, posing for these photos. They are members of the Family Lygaeidae which includes Chinch Bugs. These beautiful bugs do not damage cultivated plants, but they occasionally aggregate and hibernate in great numbers like Box Elder Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

With the website currently down and no questions to answer, we have been strolling through the canyon briskly every morning. We have been noticing several species of insects that we occasionally get letters regarding, and others that are just plain interesting. We decided to return with our digital camera and photograph some of the above. Here are some Harlequin Bugs, Murgantia histrionica. They are small stink bugs, about 1/4 inch long. They are variegated black, red, and white with a reddish or light colored + on the scutellum. These bugs are occasionally seen in the garden where they feed on cabbage, sweet alyssum and related plants of the family Brassicacaea, but in the canyon and vacant lots, they prefer wild mustard. According to Hogue: “Mating pairs are often present. The male illicits copulation by tapping the female’s antennae and body with his antennae.” Females lay several sets of 5-12 eggs that look like black and white striped barrels.

(06/26/2004) Copulating Harlequin Bugs will eventually lay eggs. The female places one or two rows of from usually 5-12 eggs neatly on twigs. The eggs look like black and white striped barrels. Here are some freshly layed eggs on anise.

Found spiders (as opposed to lost ones…)
I spotted these two spiders on a particularly warm night here in Central Florida. Good night for spiders…bad night for bugs. Are either poisonous? The golden orb weaver is the largest I’ve seen in a LONG time around here (2-3 inches) and is quite alarming when not expected.

The other I have not been able to identify, but is also quite large…about 2 inches and very bulky. Attached are photos of the argiope and a front and back of the brown.
Love the site!
Thanks!
Leslie Lormann

Hi Leslie,
Thanks for sending the awesome photos. Your female Argiope aurantia exhibits a color variation we don’t see often in Los Angeles. She is still young and will fill with eggs, or else she may be very old, haveing already procreated. The bite of the Argiope can be painful, but is not serious. Your brown spider is a member of the genue Araneus, I believe, though we usually see them with striped legs.

While watering the garden, we couldn’t help but to be amazed by this backyard drama. A Marine Blue butterfly, Leptotes marina, was startled into flight because of our hose. It flew directly into the web of a baby orb weaver, probably a Jeweled Araneas who strung a web in the lemon tree, and was quickly ensnared and sucked dry.