Asps and Wasps, easily confused
I haven’t had my question answered but have seen questions from Sept answered. Do I need a pic? If so, I don’t have one. My question again is below.
We have some bugs in our garage that I would like to know more about. We call them “asps” although I’m not sure this is the accurate name. Our garage is detached from our home not heated/cooled and dark most of the time. We noticed that sometimes they attach themselves to the siding on our house in something sort of like a cocoon. They are small, about 3/4 of an inch, look to be kinda “furry”, gray to brown in color. If you get stung by one it hurts like hell. I was stung on the inside of my forearm and felt pain all the way to my armpit. A call to poison control said the sting affects your lymph nodes and that was the pain I was feeling in my armpit area. The burning is awful and it took me a good 4-6 weeks to get rid of the itch. We think our dog may have been stung by one on the nose and boy did she suffer. Her snout was so swollen her eyes were almost shut and she had a nasty area on her nose at the point of contact.
We’d also like to know if there is anything we can do to get rid of them.
V. Hernandez
San Antonio, TX

Dear Velma,
I doubt that you were stung by an asp, which is in actuality the deadly snake that Cleopatra used to commit suicide rather than to submit to Caesar. Wasps, however, are a different story and actually fit your description. Some species of solitary wasps make a mud nest in protected areas like under the eaves or inside of a garage. They sting, and sensitive people could posibly be affected as long as you state. We are not doctors, so we can’t tell you much about your lymph nodes, and we have no extermination advice, that being a job for your local experts. Sorry for the delay in answering your letter. We truly have been swamped with letters. Thank you for your patience.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I’ve just found your website and I maybe you can help me with the identification of this particular tree- or leafhopper (picture attached). This photo is to be included in the Encyclopedia, and the editor needs the species name . If you know it, please send a message ASAP – I would be MOST GRATEFUL!!!
Best regards,
Wawrzyniec Podrzucki
P.S. Thepicture was taken in Pennsylvania.

Hi there Wawrzyniec Podrzucki,
I’m guessing Thelia bimaculata, a female. Here is a website with images.Good luck on getting in that encyclopedia. Your photograph is beautiful.
Treehoppers belong to the Family Membracidae. They are called Treehoppers because most of the species live on trees and low bushes, hopping vigorously when disturbed. All of the species suck plant juices. Many of the young secrete honeydew like aphids.
Great thanks for answering so promptly. In the meantime I’ve also run the picture through yet another entomological site, and it seems that you are
correct. And you are wellcome to my website for a little more of good quality insect photos.
Thanks again,
Wawrzyniec Podrzucki

Update (01/06/2006)
Here is an excerpt from a letter by Julieta Brambila:
” I printed two images for Mark Rothschild, expert in Membracidae, and he gave me this information: Campylenchia latipes (SAy) is the identification for the message from 10/17/2003, from Wawrzyniec Podrzucki, of a membracid from Pennsylvannia. This image is filed in the section of What’s that bug: aphids, scale insects, leafhoppers, and tree hoppers.”

(01/28/2006) Possible Explanation:
Horsehair worms lead Jerusalem crickets to water?
I read the account of the pond full of drowned ‘potato bugs’ and can offer a possible explanation — There is a group of ‘worms’ (Phylum Nematomorpha: Class Gorgonioidea – unless the systematics has been reworked since I was in school) that parasitize Jerusalem crickets, among other insects and crustaceans. The adults are free-living in freshwater, do not feed, and lay their eggs in the water. The hatched young parasitize an arthropod (and sometimes leeches). They go through multiple molts in the host’s body and do not emerge until they’re nearly adults. They emerge, according to my book, when the host is near water. More than once, I’ve seen a drowned Jerusalem cricket in a puddle of water with the very active horsehair worm that had just emerged. I recall my prof saying that the gordioid worms actually may be able to ‘force’ the Jerusalem crickets to enter pools deep enough to drown them (the Jerusalem cricket, that is), if there were no other water source available, but no one had figured out how that worked. The description of the pile of drowned Jerusalem crickets in the backyard pond your correspondent described is truly impressive — maybe they had a thriving population of horsehair worms in the garden! Your site is truly wonderful —

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

Mr. Bugman,
I have consulted your website and now know that my home is harboringAmerican Cockroaches. These bugs absolutely disgust my daughter and I. Welive in northeast Oklahoma and we’ve occupied our home for two years. Wejust started noticing them at the beginning of summer (around the end ofMay). I haven’t seen an abundance of them but what I have seen isdisturbing. I’ve spotted one coming from under the washer, one in mydaughter’s bathroom (not that I’ll ever tell her) and two coming out fromunder the kitchen sink. I’ve also noticed them prowling around outside myhouse in larger numbers (around screens and such). Will these things dieoff when winter really kicks in or should I consider extermination? I usedabout half a can of RAID trying to kill one of them and that is verydiscouraging. Will it actually be worth my money to get an exterminatorfor these things? I will have to move out and leave all my belongingsbehind if I can’t get rid of them any other way! Where did theabominations come from to begin with and how did they get in my house?They fly for crying out loud! Please give me some much needed advise.
Thank you.
Grossed out in Tulsa

Dear Grossed Out,
Regarding the origin of the "abominations", I think it is best to quote Sutherland who writes "If the test of nobility is antiquity of family, then the cockroach that hides behind the kitchen sink is the true aristocrat. He does not date back merely to the three brothers that came over is 1640 or to William the Conquerer. Wherever there have been great epoch-making movements of people he has been with them heart and soul, without possessing any particular religious convictions or political ambitions. It is not so much that he approves of their motives as that he likes what they have to eat. Since ever a ship turned a foamy furrow in the sea he has been a passenger, not a paying one certainly, but still a passenger. But man himself is but a creature of the last twenty minutes or so compared with the cockroach, for, from its crevice by the citchen sink, it can point its antennae to the coal in the hod and say: ‘When that was being made my family was already well-established’."
I’m sure that is no consolation, but roaches are well evolved and will most surely outlive man on this planet. I think extermination is overkill, not to mention that it just produces stronger more resistant bugs. Their numbers will decrease in the winter, but you can be assured that somewhere they will survive the cold and return the following summer. For now, squash the ones you see.

Hi Bugman,
I live in a very cold winter climate, where usually seeing bugs this time of year is unusual..I have found several bugs in my home, since about October or so, that are beetle-like with strange red stripes on the back. It appears to have wings, as when I kill them, the wings come up from the body. You can’t really see the wings like on other bugs, though, unless you are looking for them. Can you help? I had a ghastly thought at first that it could be a cockroach, but, I am pretty confident it is not. Being they are alive now, they must be coming from somewhere inside my home. In the event you can identify from my flimsy description, could you also clue me in on what to do to get rid of them and where to look for them?
Thank you,

Dear Melissa,
I believe you have Box Elder Bugs which sometimes hibernate, aggregating in huge numbers, inside homes. They are seeking protection and could be somewhere in the basement or some dark closet, probably somewhere near the point of entry. They may have come in through a crack or a window when it was just beginning to get cooler. Sorry I don’t have any extermination advice. Try checking with your local exterminator. Here is a photo sent in by Tom last year.

Democrat Bug!
I’ve been hearing about a "politician bug". My searches brought up every devious politician in history and I couldn’t find anything out about a "real" bug. I write musical plays and just completed one that translates the world of butterflies into a clown environment. My next musical will be about lovebugs, placing the lovebugs in a southern town where the bugs are a gang who shows up twice a year and is intimated by the people living there, even though they’re supposed to be the pests. The idea of writing a musical portraying bugs as politicians intrigues me, with all the characteristics and instincts of this bug, perhaps set in the White House, and especially since this bug is nicknamed after politicians. Have you heard of this?
Dawn Labuy-brockett

Hi Dawn,
I was intrigued with your latest message, and couldn’t believe the Asian Longhorned Beetle would go by such a common name. Here is a site which attributes the name Democrat Bug to the Box Elder Bug. No information on the origin of the name though.

Thanks so much for the help! I got thrown off with a site named a picture of an Asian Longhorned Beetle "Democrat". It was indeed the boxelder I was looking for. I had a feeling at the beginning that boxelder was the bug, but I got misled. You are right!!! The bugman rules!
It’s been a pleasure…