I recently went out onto our concrete porch early this morning to find dozens and dozens of bugs that look sort of like ants but they have wings. Also, two or three of them seem to attach to each other to make a little "train." I sprayed a bunch of them with Orange Cleaner and it seemed to kill some of them. We had a new bag of cat litter sitting on the porch that we haven’t brought inside yet, and it seems that the bag is infested with these bugs now. I live in North Carolina, please help me!!!

Dear Infested,
You probably have an ant swarm, which is the winged nuptial flight of the future kings and queens. Not all ants in a nest are reproductive.Most are infertile female workers and soldiers. The new kings and queens take flight, often after a rain, and mate in the air which explains the "train" you witnessed. Then they return to earth, dig a hole (your cat litter was a soft spot that appealed to them) and the new pair set up housekeeping, forming a new colony.

Hello,
Last summer bore beetles wiped out half the pines in my yard. (1 acre.).Since the Florida drought is over and steady rains are back, and the pines are not as stressed as last year, will my remaining loblolly pines fight off the bore beetles naturally or do I have to spray with something. And if I spray is it true the beetles are only on the trunk of the tree. Last but not least, what do I spray with? Thanks from Central Florida, Roger

Like many living forms, insects reach a peak population, do major damage, and then suddenly die back to a small population which takes seasons to grow large again. The stress on the trees due to the drought combined with the population explosion of the beetles contributed to the tree loss. That population was increasing, doing hidden damage for years. The best control is to rid the area of tainted wood from the dead trees which is harboring the pest. Check with local exterminators regarding a pesticide control.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

We have been invaded and infested with small ants (sweet ants). What is the best and cheapest way to get rid of them.
Thanks,
rd

Dear RD,
You probably cannot truly get rid of them but there are many theories worth trying including Chinese chalk. Just seal up the cracks where they enter the house and keep the place spotless. They love sugar and grease.

Update:  August 21, 3016  Article on Tipsbulletin.com
We recently published an extensive article, covering 8 natural ant remedies and all important aspects of how to best get rid of ants. It is a quick read and might be a worth a link from your page.
Here’s the link – https://www.tipsbulletin.com/natural-ant-remedies-how-to-get-rid-of-ants/

Hello,
Last summer bore beetles wiped out half the pines in my yard. (1 acre.).Since the Florida drought is over and steady rains are back, and the pines are not as stressed as last year, will my remaining loblolly pines fight off the bore beetles naturally or do I have to spray with something. And if I spray is it true the beetles are only on the trunk of the tree. Last but not least, what do I spray with? Thanks from Central Florida, Roger

Like many living forms, insects reach a peak population, do major damage, and then suddenly die back to a small population which takes seasons to grow large again. The stress on the trees due to the drought combined with the population explosion of the beetles contributed to the tree loss. That population was increasing, doing hidden damage for years. The best control is to rid the area of tainted wood from the dead trees which is harboring the pest. Chec
k with local exterminators regarding a pesticide control.

Hi. Digging in the dirt where I usually plant my tomato plant, I discovered a cocoon the size of my thumb. It is brown and like I said, it is the size of my thumb. Any ideas what it may be? I put it in a jar with some of the dirt from where I was digging. I hope it will live. I can send a picture If will help you identify it.
Thanks
Michelle


Dear Michelle,
Did it have what looks like the handle on a jug? If so, it is the pupa of a Tobacco Hornworm Moth (Manduca sexta) which in its larval, caterpillar form is the dreaded Tomato Hornworm, a four inch long behemoth that devours the leaves of tomato plants, sometimes leaving them defoliated. The larva eventually buries itself in the dirt to pupate without spinning a cocoon, leaving its bare pupa to mature. The handle of the jug is actually the place where the long proboscus, a tubelike mouth that the moth uses to gather nectar from deep throated flowers. We would love a photo.

Hi Daniel. Thanks for getting back to me. I have attached a photo, but I’m afraid it’s not a very good one. It sounds like your know your bugs. My next question is, how do I get this thing to hatch? Is the moth beautiful? I would imagine that it is. I currently have it in some soil in a jar without a lid. Should I keep it out side or in the house? Let me know.
Thanks
Michelle

 

Dear Michelle,
The moth is large and mottled grey with very elongated wings. There are a series of yellow spots along the body. They are very strong fliers. While not traditionally beautiful, they are truly awesome. They are very similar to the moth used in the “Silence of the Lambs” advertisements, and you can also see a swarm of them crawling on Patsi Kensit (spelling?) in the totally awesome movie” Angels and Insects”. You are doing the right thing as far as getting the pupa to metamorphose. Do not let the soil either dry out or get too wet. Keep it out of the direct sunlight.

Thanks again for your time and the information. I hope I get to see him. I think I forgot to ask if you know how long it could take? Do you know?
Michelle

Dear Michelle,
Normally they overwinter as pupa and then metamorphose in the spring. I’m guessing your specimen has passed the necessary time underground and it should be happening soon.
Good luck.