Mantid ID needed
Sent some pictures of this mantis before, but they were of poor quaility. This one’s much better. Mantis was found indoors in VA in early Dec 04, but we had recently returned from FL so it may have hitched a ride. Very small, just under an inch in length. Any ideas? Is it indigenous to VA? To North America?

Your lovely photograph is not of a Preying Mantis, but an unrelated species of Mantidfly. Mantidflies or Mantispids, belong to the Order Neuroptera which includes Dobsonflies and Lacewings. They are in the Family Mantispidae. We are only familiar with brown species so we checked with Eric Eaton who wrote back: “Yes, this is a mantispid, but I’m not sure of the genus and species. Mantispa was split recently, and so this particular species may fall under another genus now.” They are common in the South. Hope that helps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

We are being invaded by these bugs which are about and inch long. I have lived in Tucson Arizona all my life and have never seen these.
Can you help?

Hi Meredith,
Even though your Cranefly looks like a giant mosquito, it is harmless. Craneflies often enter homes because they are attracted to lights. They will neither damage you nor your home.

Matt’s moth
I’m a member of our local 4-H entomology club. Recently, while in Yucatan, Mexico, we captured this moth. Our leader says it’s probably in the hawk moth family but key out came to a dead-end there. He suggested we contact you to solve this mystery. Could you please help us identify this insect? (attaching didg. photo; windows asked if we wanted the photo made smaller so it would be sent quicker and be easier for our recipient to view. We chose to shrink it. Did we do the right thing?) Thank you,
Matt Watson & dad.
Yuma, AZ

Hi Matt and Dad,
Your moth is one of the Hawk or Sphinx Moths, Family Sphingidae. More specifically it is the Ficus Sphinx, Pachylia ficus. It is a large moth that is very common in Central and South America where it’s amazingly large and beautiful caterpillar feeds on the leaves of Ficus Trees. Check out the caterpillar on our caterpillar page. The species is occasionally found in Texas and Florida.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

bug definition
I have these Spiders in my Garage. Last year my wife flipped out and killed one that was between 1/2" and 3/4". All the ones that we have seen since have bee half that size. We live in the pacific Northwest. If it helps any, these spiders are very aware. I had one on the hood of my car while I was waxing it. I tried to sneak up on it. As I got about 4 feet away it turned towards and me and reared up it’s head as if it had no fear of me whatsoever and wanted me to know it.

You have a species of Jumping Spider from the Family Salticidae. They are small, often colorful, do not build webs but stalk their prey, and are harmless to humans. They have excellent eyesight and have very rapid movements.

Dear Sir
We have a dairy and we specialize in hard and soft cheese (France and Italian Style. For the last few weeks we see a development of brown layer with small particles on some of our cheeses. This layer seems to deteriorate the cheese (small holes). Under a microscope it seems like kind of insect (pictures attached). We will appreciate if you could help and advise to identified the insect, it’s origin and ways to disinfect. Thank you in advance
Best regards
Michal Lidor

Hi Mike,
You have some species of Culture Mite, possibly of the genuses Acarus or Tyrophagus. We have been unable to locate any specific information except that they infest foods. Sorry, I can’t tell you how to disinfect without destroying the integrity of the cheese.

Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Culture mites (2/14/05). You’re right that this is a species of Acarus, most likely Acarus siro. This is the most common "cheese mite" infesting cheese produced in traditional operations. As a historical note, this species was the first mite named by Linnaeus!

Help!! Bug invasion
I don’t know what kind of bug has invaded my home!! I saw a dead one of these in my basement a few weeks ago.. We just found another one in the upstairs bathroom yesterday.. so my husband sprayed the basment with a household bug spray and I found this one late that night on the wall in my livingroom…. it tried to hide behind my picture frame. Do I have a serious problem here???

Hi Michelle,
The seriousness of the problem is relative. What you do have is an immature cockroach.