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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.
Sincerely,
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,
Melissa

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…
Dawn

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi folks,
An FYI note.
Just discovered your site while shearching for info on “Bess Bugs” (i.e. beetles of family Passalidae). I noted two inquiries about mystery beetles on 10/15/03 and 11/1/03 that you identified as members of Passalidae. According to my copy of “A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America”, the two beetles pictured are actually members of family Lucanidae, specifically, they appear to be similar to Ceruchus piceus. However, I realize that my book (given to me when I was about 8 for Christmas), may be out of date, and perhaps some reclassification has occurred. However, my personal experience with these particular beetles is that they don’t live in rotted wood, and tend to be predators in forest undergrowth, as opposed to the more common Passalidae, which I spent my childhood evicting from various logs. Their elytra do look more like bess bugs however.
Anyway, back to my actual work (protein crystallography, not sure where I went wrong).
Thanks,
D. Coleman

Dear D. Coleman,
Thank you for your editorial check. We just researched our misidentification in the book you cited by Dillon & Dillon and have come to the same conclusion that you did. Our edition states that they breed in decaying logs of beech, oak and other trees. Though we pride ourselves on copious research, we do make mistakes and want to thank you for bringing this error to our attention. We do not want to misinform our curious and often frightened readers.

Thanks for your response to my “Bess Bug” inquiry. I’d also like to complement you on an excellent site, and will use it in my continuing efforts to teach my wife not leave the county over every creature I find.
-David

I’m in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and this bug has been living in my apartment with me for quite some time. it seems quite content to just chill out on my rather large ivy plant, in the window. it’s moved about 6 inches in total in the last few weeks. i know it’s alive because it will move if i breath on it. here are some links to the photos I’ve taken of it. Is this a stink bug?

Dear Adrian,
You have a Coreid Bug or Leaf Footed Bug, so named because of the large rear legs on many species. More specifically, it is a Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis. They are plant feeders and are usually not noticed until they seek shelter in the home in the autumn so they can hibernate. They are plant eaters and are related to stink bugs, hence the foul odor they emit. There is no way to prevent them from seeking shelter, but they will not breed indoors. They just want to hibernate.

Hi folks,
An FYI note.
Just discovered your site while shearching for info on “Bess Bugs” (i.e. beetles of family Passalidae). I noted two inquiries about mystery beetles on 10/15/03 and 11/1/03 that you identified as members of Passalidae. According to my copy of “A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America”, the two beetles pictured are actually members of family Lucanidae, specifically, they appear to be similar to Ceruchus piceus. However, I realize that my book (given to me when I was about 8 for Christmas), may be out of date, and perhaps some reclassification has occurred. However, my personal experience with these particular beetles is that they don’t live in rotted wood, and tend to be predators in forest undergrowth, as opposed to the more common Passalidae, which I spent my childhood evicting from various logs. Their elytra do look more like bess bugs however.
Anyway, back to
my actual work (protein crystallography, not sure where I went wrong).
Thanks,
D. Coleman

Dear D. Coleman,
Thank you for your editorial check. We just researched our misidentification in the book you cited by Dillon & Dillon and have come to the same conclusion that you did. Our edition states that they breed in decaying logs of beech, oak and other trees. Though we pride ourselves on copious research, we do make mistakes and want to thank you for bringing this error to our attention. We do not want to misinform our curious and often frightened readers.

Thanks for your response to my “Bess Bug” inquiry. I’d also like to complement you on an excellent site, and will use it in my continuing efforts to teach my wife not leave the county over every creature I find.
-David