Perhaps you can add this photo to your collection I have another full-back view if you would like for me to send it. I’m hoping to take a photo of a sphinx caterpillar some day. This moth visits my Ginger lilies each fall. I live in Jacksonville, NC.

Dear Peg,
Thank you for the beautiful photo of a Pink-spotted hawkmoth (Agrius cingulata [Fabricius]) . The caterpillars feed on jimson weed and sweet potato as well as related plants. Try looking for them there. Good luck.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I work in Medina Ohio and one of My Marines found this bug and we would like to know what it is?? It is about 4 inchs long thank for any help you can give.
SSgt Horton USMC

Dear SSgt Horton,
Your Marines have captured a female Ichneumon Wasp (Meharhyssa species). That long "stinger" is in fact her ovipositor, and she locates wood boring grubs inside trees with her acute hearing, and penetrates the wood with the ovipositor, depositing an egg near the living grub. The egg hatches and has a living dinner, feasting on the grub until the grub dies from the parasite. We have additional information in our Buggy Biography section as well as on the wasp page of Thank you for the great photo.

worst bug story ever
Just found your site – great work!! Read "Worst Bug Story Ever" and was wondering, did you ever identify the culprit bug? Sounds like bed bugs to me – am I close? They are reported to be real problems in the East esp. hotels and motels. Can you dish any dirt on these little devils? Thanks,

Dear Ron,
There is no true way you can identify a bug by its itch. While bedbugs, Cimex lectularius, are a possibility, we believe our victims of the worst bug story ever were plagued by some type of bird mite.
Hogue writes: "When indoors, the Common Bedbug feeds exclusively on human blood, invading the bed at night for its meals. although the bite may cause immediate pain in some individuals, the first indication of its presence is often only dark stains on the bed sheets from the bug’s excrement or the itching of bites the next day. Heavy infestations of bedbugs also are accompanied by a characteristic disagreeable musky odor that comes from the bugs’ scent glands, which are similar to those possessed by stink bugs. Some people assume that the source of infestations is dirt or old clothing, and these mistaken ideas probably stem from the bug’s ability to withstand long periods without food. Infestation always begins, of course, by introduction from other preexisting infestations. and the bug easily finds transportation on clothing, bedding, or overstuffed furniture. During the day bedbugs hide in crevices in walls and floors, behind wall decorations, and in furniture.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you identify a black & white bug that ranges in size from 4" to1". They ride together piggy-back style (smaller one on top).We live in the Central FL region. This afternoon my husband’s facewas 6" away from a pair (they were on our gate when he was attempting to close it) and they shot outa stream of liquid into his eye. He said it felt like hot pepper in his eye.Any idea what this horrible insect is? We have seen hundreds of these around our house and in other peoples yards. BTW, he rinsed his eye and it seems to be okay, but we are very interested in this nasty bug.
Thank you.
Jane Pearce

Dear Jane,
Two things. Is it possible to send a photo? Also, are you saying the insects are from 4 to 1 inches in length? that is huge, four inches. Please clarify.

Yes, I am saying the bug on bottom is usually 4" long and they eitherhave a baby on top, or perhaps "a significant other". They are black with two white lines on top. After looking at all the pictures of bugs I canfind, I would say they are in the Mantis family (but what do I know?). We called our Fl Extension Office but the bug guy had left for the day.I am sure our local guy will know what this bug is, since we have seen many around our area. If you are interested, as soon as I find out the name, I’ll let you know. Unfortunately, I can’t send you a photo at this time. I just sorta of freaked when the nasty thing spewed something out into my husband’s eye, which burned. Your website was one of the first I cameupon. What state are you in?
Thanks and will let you know what we find out locally.

Please keep us informed, and we would love to have a photo. I have never heard of mantids spewing anything. Bombadier beetles will exude a substance from the anus, but they are tiny. Certain spiders can spit venom. The position you describe is the mating position, and in many insects the male is the smaller partner. This is true of mantids. Might it be a type ofwalking stick? Try doing a web search of that. Let us know whatever you find out.
Have a nice day.

I guess the nasty bug is a "walking stick" like you suggested. Here is a picture of one that "attacked" my husband. Most of the ones in our yard have mates on top (yes, the smaller one on top is the male we have learned). We contacted our County Extension Agent and she said they consider them to be "good" bugs. We do not since they really cause a nasty burning sensation when they spray people. I also contacted Univ of FL for more info. Will keep you informed if we learn anything else about them.
Thanks. Jane

Editor’s Note: Jane continued to do research and just got the following email from the University of Florida which clarified the spraying:
Dr. Hoy forwarded your message to me. It’s the two-lined walkingstick, Anisomorpha buprestoides . In the case of the pairs, they are mating, and the smaller one on top is the male. It’s a common walkingstick in much of Florida, but you do have to be careful with them. As you already know, they will spray an acidic defensive chemical from the end of their abdomen. They often aim for the eyes, and the chemical can cause pain and temporary blindness. Pets often experience this. They feed on foliage, probably of various hardwood trees and shrubs. I’ve kept them in captivity for a while and fed them oak leaves. In the populations around the Ocala National Forest, the stripes are a much brighter shade of cream/white than in other parts of the state. If you have internet access, take a look at these websites for pictures and more info:
Lyle Buss
Insect Identification Laboratory
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida

Dear Bugman,
I was wondering if you can tell me what purpose that mosquitos serve. We all know that bees are for pollination and that ladybugs eat aphids but what purpose does the mosquito serve in the insect world. This is something I have tried researching all to no avail.

Dear Steve,
You are forcing me to get philosophical. Charles Darwin, though he is primarily known for his theory of evolutionism, also was intrigued by the complex interactions of organisms within the universe. Eliminate one species from the equation and the delicate balance could be forever overturned, setting into play the destruction of life as we know it. Now I’m not saying that if mosquitos were obliterated, everything would die, but they do serve as an important link in the food chain. Dragonflies, swallows and many fish are dependant upon the lowly pestilence known as the mosquito for their existance. Eliminate the mosquito and the swallows might no longer return to Capistrano or any other place for that matter. They serve a purpose, and just because we don’t know exactly what it is, does not lessen that purpose.

Dear WTB,
Early in the week we tore down our arbor and fence and discovered this cocoon attached to a fence post behind the foliage. We live near Modesto, CA in the central valley. We have been unable to identify what will come out of this cocoon once the insect immerges – can you help? It is approx. 1 inch long and has scales like a snake. The exterior is very "tough". It has maroon striped markings on each side with a cream color filling out the remaining exterior. My photos are a bit fuzzy – couldn’t get my digital to focus for a closer shot. Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated! My children and I are perplexed.
Thank you,
Sheri McNeilly

Hi Sheri,
I would like to do more research before giving you a definite answer, but it looks more like an egg case than a cocoon. It might be a preying mantis egg case known as an Ootheca. I will get back to you.

Thank you – as you can see, I’m not up on bug terminology. A mantis would be wonderful.