Currently viewing the tag: "Bug Humanitarian Award"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black Swallowtail Baby Mama to Baby Prelude to Black Swallowtail Metamorphosis
Location:  Centreville, VA
August 5, 2010 3:53 pm
Hi – I have been raising Black Swallowtails and Monarchs in my garden for a couple of years now. This year I was lucky enough to see the eggs being laid.

Black Swallowtail Oviposits

I did an egg check everynight so I know for a fact the time line. These were laid on July 31 and hatched the morning of Aug 5. Just so exciting to me!
Bev Basham

Black Swallowtail Eggs

Hi Bev,
This is wonderful documentation for our readership.  We generally hear about Black Swallowtail Caterpillars feeding on carrot greens or parsley, but it appears the food plant in your garden is something different.  Might it be Queen Anne’s Lace?  Can you please provide us with the identity of the food plant in the event others want to try to support the generation of Black Swallowtails in the home garden?

Newly Hatched Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

I think I sent the worst of two pictures of the butterfly laying eggs. This is a better shot. The plant is Bronze Fennel. I have a butterfly garden at my son’s school and the Fennel we planted there is a different version and it is taking over the world, it’s over 10 ft tall and throws seeds everywhere so we are replacing it next year with this version which seems to be shorter. I’m so glad you liked the shots. I have a pretty good macro on my camera and really enjoy getting the close up pictures of insects. There is so much more to them than we see with our eyes.

Maybe I did send the right one the first time, once it was gone I had no way of checking. I just got in from checking on the little cats and they have at least doubled in size. The first day they hatched we had a horrendous thunder storm here with high winds and I thought they got washed away but they were holding on tight. Now if I can just keep the earwigs away.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

A house centipede, saved from drowning!
Dear Bugman,
I bring you good news and interesting story. Most evenings, my 2 daughters share a bath prior to bedtime. This evening my wife yelled at me to come to the bathroom during the bath as there was a ‘bug’ in the bath. I immediately thought house centipede. This was confirmed when at the bottom of the tub the centipede lay. My wife was upset and my daughter scared as I took it from the tub and brought it in the kitchen. It was limp and not moving, bad sign. I put it on a paper-towel and blew dried it. It ‘twitched’. I let it be for a bit longer, at times fanning it a bit, hoping that perhaps a bit more life would return. It was belly up and I decided to stroke it. It attached to me, most certainly a reaction to my touch. I wasn’t optimistic yet and decided to take a few pictures. As I finished taking the shots, I stroked the top of it. It starts to walk, slowly away! I capture it again for a few seconds, wishing to give it a good place to hide. I put it close to my kitchen door and gave it a nudge. He ran to the corner! I took a few more pictures of it in his hiding place. Let me know if you want to see the photos. Due to things that I have read on your website, I took extra ordinary measures to help this little guy out.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for sending us your exciting rescue account and also for supplying the requested photo.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Lesson Learned in Florida
Last spring, I tried in vain to keep eight, young, butterfly plants alive in my modest flower garden. “How wonderful it would be to attract beautiful butterflies”, I thought. To my dismay, fat, yellow, aphids appeared by the dozens on each little plant. They were herded by fire ants from a nearby nest. For weeks, I squished aphids, always marveling at the protectiveness of the ants and sheer numbers of aphids they managed. While walking in the cattle pasture one day, I saw an entire plant covered with aphids. I was horrified that the source of these bugs was a weed that had appeared in our pastures in record abundance, presumably due to a long drought experienced here in northern Florida. Since we raise natural beef cattle, I picked many of these weeds by hand out of our pastures, but to my dismay, as I picked them, their seed pods were already releasing fluffy seeds for next year. This spring, the population of these plants was even higher than last year! So, I began picking these plants early this year, well before they could complete their seed pods. I didn’t get far before I noticed a caterpillar on one of the plants. It was a monarch! (See pictures below). I looked at my hands and noticed the milky substance from the few plants I had already picked. How ironic that I waged a (thankfully) unsuccessful war against what turned out to be a milkweed native to Florida because I wanted to save a few measly butterfly plants! How completely human of me. Little did I know that I had several hundred or more plants in the pastures that were the perfect diet for the very creature I was seeking to attract. I have learned my lesson and sworn off meddling with milkweeds or anything else unless I know for certain that it is a threat to native wildlife.

Hi Alicia,
Thank you for writing one of the best letters we have received in a long time. We are excited to post your photo of a Monarch Caterpillar.

Glad you enjoyed it! I’m researching when these caterpillars will complete their pupa stage and emerge as butterflies. We plan to rotate the cattle in our other pastures until then to keep the monarchs safe. We already made changes in our livestock management to accommodate two other threatened species: gopher tortoises and Sherman fox squirrels. Gratefully,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tarantula identification, please
First of all, you have a great website! The attached photograph is of a small tarantula that my friend fished out of her swimming pool here in southern California (Thousand Oaks in Ventura county). She thought is was probably dead (drowned) and as she was removing it, a tarantula hawk wasp appeared and began dive-bombing her and “fighting” her for it. When she brought it to me, we found it was alive, but seemed paralyzed. We theorized that either the wasp had already stung it and accidently dropped it in the pool on the way back to the nest or it was “brain damaged” from a near drowning (or both). Just for fun, we kept it and “nursed” it back to health over several months. Initially, we had to hold it on its back, pry its fangs back, and put a prey insect or worm in place, then let go and let the fangs reflexively spring back into place trapping the food item. Eventually, we just had to place the insect against the fangs and the spider was able to voluntarily grab it on its own with its fangs. With time, the spider regained its mobility and after several months was able to walk around its cage and catch a cricket on its own, but only if one crawled by it. It still seems rather slow moving (compared to the Mexican red knee tarantula we have) and its not a voracious eater, but its still alive after about 8 or 9 months. It has not molted yet and it is rather small so I don’t know if its a female or an immature male. It basically is just all black in coloration. Can you identify its genus and/or species? Thanks! Sincerely,
Tom Cole

Hi Tom,
This is one of the most touching letters we have ever received. What a lucky California Ebony Tarantula, Aphonopelma eutylenum. We are basing that identification on a nearly identical specimen posted to BugGuide, also rescued from a swimming pool.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

red legged purse spider in Texas
Hi There!
My daughter pulled this spider out of our pool last summer. We had never seen anything like it before. I was leaning to relating it to tarantulas and my other daughter was leaning toward trapdoor types. It has taken us months to identify it. Sadly it did not live. Our question if you have time to respond is… Are they still on the endangered species list? We live in The Woodlands Texas just north of Houston. The area is very wooded and much has remained natural.
Denise Dailey

Hi Denise,
To the best of our knowledge, the Red Legged Purseweb Spider, Sphodros rufipes, is still considered endangered. At any rate, despite its fierce appearance, it is harmless and should not be killed. This is truly a gorgeous and unforgettable species. Thanks so much for sending us your photo of the unfortunate drowning tragedy. Male Mygalomorphs, including Tarantulas, Trapdoor Spiders and Purseweb Spiders, often drown in swimming pools. The males are mobile and wander in search of mates, resulting in their demise when they encounter swimming pools.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Beetle takes on Hot Wheels car!
We were vacationing in Ruidoso, NM when I came across this lovely fellow being poked and abused by local children in the parking lot of the grocery store. I shooed away the little hoodlums and snatched him up in a grocery bag and brought him home to show to my son. Needless to say, the ENTIRE family was seriously impressed by the sheer size of this bug! We observed him for a couple of days and released him into the woods. I am thinking he is either a rhino beetle or a Hercules beetle, maybe unicorn? We named him “Rodan” as he seemed big enough to take on Godzilla! What a cool bug! Thanks

Hi Trina,
This is a Grant’s Hercules Beetle, Dynastes granti. We find your photo with the HotWheels car terribly amusing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination