While watering the garden, we couldn’t help but to be amazed by this backyard drama. A Marine Blue butterfly, Leptotes marina, was startled into flight because of our hose. It flew directly into the web of a baby orb weaver, probably a Jeweled Araneas who strung a web in the lemon tree, and was quickly ensnared and sucked dry.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

These photos were received by me via e-mail to alert people to the danger of its bite. You may not be able to show the reaction on your website but you could alert everyone to be extremely cautious.
Jill Allford living in southwestern Missouri.

Thank you Jill,
We recently received the identical photos from another reader. The Brown Recluse bite causes the tissue around the bite to die leaving a horrible scar. We will build a new page devoted specifically to bites thanks to your letter.

Hi WTB Guy!
I live on long island, and we have hundreds of these bugs swarming outside our house each night. A few of them often find their way in and spend the night buzzing around the lights. We have a large cedar tree near our front door, and I’m wondering if they are related to that tree?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Adam,
You have some type of Leafhopper, Family Cicadellidae. These are Homopterans, related to cicadas, aphids and treehoppers. They have sucking mouthparts and many species carry viral diseases that they spread to their host plants, but not to people. Sorry, I can’t identify your exact species.

Update (01/22/2006)
The following 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: Ophiderma sp. (probably O. definita or O. pubescens) is the identification for another membracid. He wrote: “They are found on oaks (Quercus sp.), not cedars”. This image is from a message from 06/10/2004 by Adam, from Long Island. The image has a penny to compare the sizes. The writer wars wondering if the insects had anything to do with the cedar near his front door.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

On Wednesday, June 9, 2004, I found an eastern Hercules beetle resting on the gas pump near my home in Statesville, NC. I know that he is male because he has the most beautiful set of horns. He was quite docile whenever I found him; he may have been hungry or thirsty, I’m guessing. Anyway, I am keeping him in a ventilated clear box about 10″ by 18″ with a layer of a mixture of compost and mulch. I put a forked stick in there for him to climb on and a tiny, shallow bowl of water which I change every day. He burrows under the compost from time to time. He seems to like peeled apples and he has now become much more active. I’ve noticed that he is eating a bit of a fresh apple slice every day. He tries to rear up on his hind legs whenever I stroke his back. Unbenowance to me, I didn’t know that he is more properly called a Hercules beetle, rather than an eastern rhinoceros beetle. I had already named him Hercules! From what I’ve read, the Japanese rhinocerous beetles are sold as pets and can live to be three years old or so. What is your opinion of my keeping him as a pet? I enjoy watching him, but I certainly don’t want to shorten his lifespan by keeping him captive. If it’s okay to keep him, am I properly caring for him?
My grandchildren love “Nana’s critters”, as they call the numerous dead bumblebees, dragonflies, and other insects I’ve accumulated. This is the first time I’ve tried to keep a live insect. Any advice you can give me will be appreciated.
Diane Patrum

Dear Diane,
We have no experience keeping Hercules beetles alive, but they can be raised easily in captivity. Captive raised specimens are usually much larger than wild beetles. It sounds like you are doing everything correctly, and I see no reason why you shouldn’t keep your beetle as a pet if he is bringing you pleasure. You might want to try a google search with the word captivity as well as Hercules Beetle to find additional information. We would love to have you send in a photo if you are able. Have a nice day.

This is an email forwarded to me by my aunt who found this interesting species of wasp in her backyard…Any ideas???
I know you will think I’m being weirder than usual, but I happen to find all animals (even insects) very fascinating even the freaky ones!!
I was outside this am playing and cleaning up my Danes, then started cleaning the pool. I found this bug dead in one of the baskets. Talk about freaky!!!!!!!!!! Has anyone ever seen this or know what family of insects it is from? Its back-end is striped like a yellow jacket, but its huge!! It measures 3.5 cm from the tip of its tail to its mouth, and it has 2 different sets of wings, the back wings are clear with dark brown veins and are 2.5 cm long, and its front wings are dark brown/red and are 2 cm long but are shaped differently than its back. its long feelers/antennas are almost 3 cm long. and it has HUGE jaws (I think they are called mandibles) but science was a LONG time ago for me. It also appears to have a stinger out its back-end! WOE
~~~~ Debbie”

Hi Rachel and Debbie,
You found a Prionus which is a member of the Long Horned Borer Beetle family. These are among the largest beetles in California as well as other parts of the U.S. The grubs bore into the roots of Oaks, Madrone, Cottonwoods and some Fruit Trees. They will also feed on Eucalyptus. Adults emerge in summer and are often attracted to lights, which might explain its drowned presence in the pool.

Ed. Note: We just recieved this information.
(08/09/2005) identificationsHello – I was recently shown your site, and it is excellent. My specialization is longhorned beetles, and in cruising around I notice a number of incomplete or uncertain IDs for this family. I don’t know if you are interested in receiving this sort of input, but if you are, I offer the following additions to your identifications.
The beetle pictured is Prionus (Neopolyarthron) imbricornis (or much less likely, P. (N.) debilis; that level of detail is lacking in the photo), but with that many antennal segments, cannot be either of the two Californian Prionus (Prionus) species. Cheers.
Frank Hovore

Spiders, in general, freak me out. Your page makes me squirm and squint. I could use some help identifying a spider I found in abundance in my garage. The brown spider was with a dozen of his buddies… and dozens of eggs. They took over some shelves we had in our garage. I’m an over-protective new parent. Should this spider concern me? I also attached a spider that almost made my hair turn white. My wife and I came across it hiking in BVI. Is that thing poisonous?

Hi Scott,
The brown spider in your home is Theridion tepidariorum, the most common of all house spiders. They spin a tangled maze of threads in the corners of neglected rooms. They are sedentary, spin webs to catch prey and to place their egg sacs. Off all the spiders that inhabit our dwellings, this is the most familiar, so it is sometimes called the Domestic Spider. It is exceedingly variable in color and markings. The female is larger. They are harmless.
The frightening spider from BVI (where is that?) is a silk spider called Nephila clavipes. They build enormous strong webs. They occur in the tropics and the American South. Your photo is the female which is about 100 times the size of the diminutive male. They may bite, but are relatively harmless. They are sometimes called Banana Spiders, but that is a common name used on Giant Crab Spiders as well.

Correction:  May 21, 2014
Just a few weeks shy of the tenth anniversary of this posting, we received a comment from Kalandria correcting our identification and indicating that the Cobweb Spider is
Steatoda triangulosa which we verified on BugGuide.