Currently viewing the tag: "bug of the month"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  The great pumpkin
Geographic location of the bug:  central NJ
Date: 10/31/2018
Time: 09:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I don’t have a clue, but it’s about as big as the orb-spinning house spider, and orange for halloween! Descended on silk from a tree. Is that an egg sac, or an abdomen?
How you want your letter signed:  LH

Pumpkin Spider

Dear LH,
We don’t know if you are serious about your subject line, but this does appear to be a Pumpkin Spider, which is how the orange color variation of the Marbled Orbweaver,
Araneus marmoreus, is often called.  Though the Pumpkin Spider was already our Bug of the Month for December 2013, we feel that enough time has passed to honor it again, so your submission will be featured as our Bug of the Month for November 2018.  Like other Orbweavers, though there is a possibility that a large individual might inflict a bite, the Marbled Orbweaver is considered harmless.  The large abdomen of this female indicates she might still have to produce an egg sac or two before winter.

Pumpkin Spider

Thanks so much!
I’m interested in what type of webs it spins- the usual big bullseye?
This one was inside for a few days!

Is it possibly a seasonal color variation?
LH
Hi again LH,
Yes, they build a similar orb web.  The color variation is not seasonal, but the spiders mature and become noticeable in the fall.  The hatchling spiders that emerge in the spring are very tiny and easy to overlook.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Sweat Bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 09/28/2018
Time: 04:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m not sure if this is a sweat bee (possibly Agapostemon splendens) or some type of Flower loving or Syrphid fly.
It was roughly 1/3 inch in length, give or take a few millimeters.
I’m leaning more towards A. splendens, but to be honest, arachnids and mantises are more my forte.
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Striped Sweat Bee

Dear Bug aficionado,
This is definitely a Metallic Sweat Bee in the family Halictidae, and we believe you have the genus
Agapostemon correct as well, however, the species Agapostemon splendens is not found in the Pacific Northwest based on BugGuide data.  Members of the genus Agapostemon are known as the Striped Sweat Bees because, according to BugGuide:  “Males are easier to ID because they have strongly black-and-yellow striped abdomen.”  According to Insect Identification for the Casual Observer:  “There are over a dozen species of Agapostemon Sweat Bees. Males are easier to identity than females because of their distinct coloring. The head and thorax of males are a metallic green, but its abdomen is comprised of the black and yellow bands typically seen in the bee family. Females of many species are mostly green all over. Some species are very social and share nests, while others are more solitary in nature.
Nests are burrows dug into dirt or banks. Pollen grains are collected and placed in each egg’s cell to provide food for the expected larva. For this reason, most sightings of adults occur around in or in gardens and meadows laden with blooms. Spring and summer are peak times of year for activity.
Adults drink flower nectar and eat pollen, and are not aggressive. They will sting in self-defense, however, if they are hit or almost crushed.
Agapostemon Sweat Bees sometimes get close to, or touch parts of, the body that are perspiring. They seem to enjoy drinking the salty liquid off of our skin. Some are so small and lightweight, they are able to do so without the person even realizing it!”  We are making your submission our Bug of the Month for October 2018.

Striped Sweat Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black and yellow bug
Geographic location of the bug:  NE Oklahoma
Date: 08/31/2018
Time: 08:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bugman-
Tgaese are invading myhome. They are everywhere – walls, ceilings counter tops and even floor.  It hasn’t bitten or stung any one. . . Yet.
How you want your letter signed:  Cyndiluwho

Striped Blister Beetle

Dear Cyndiluwho,
This is a Striped Blister Beetle,
Epicauta vittata, and according to BugGuide: “Feeds on variety of plants, especially Solanaceae (e.g., potatoes, tomatoes), also soybeans, other crops. Pigweed, Amaranthus species, not a crop plant, is also fed upon extensively.” This is an outdoor species that occasionally enters homes accidentally, so we don’t know why you are finding so many indoors.  According to Featured Creatures:  “The adults are most active during the morning and late afternoon, seeking shelter from the sun at mid-day. In particularly hot, arid climates they remain inactive during the day, confining their activity to the evening hours.”  That site also notes:  “Striped blister beetle is one of the most damaging of the blister beetles to vegetable crops in areas where it occurs. This is due to its feeding preferences, which include several common crops and greater preference for foliage than some other species; its propensity to feed on fruits of solanaceous plants; its relatively large size and voracious appetite; its strong tendency to aggregate into large mating and feeding swarms; and its high degree of dispersiveness, which can result in sudden appearance of large swarms of beetles. … The damage caused by Epicauta spp. blister beetles is offset, at least during periods of relatively low beetle density, by the predatory behavior of blister beetle larvae. Epicauta spp. larvae feed on the eggs of grasshoppers, including many crop-damaging Melanoplus spp. During periods of grasshopper abundance the number of blister beetles tends to increase substantially.”  Blister Beetles should be handled with caution since some species are capable of secreting a compound, cantharidin, that is known to cause blistering in sensitive individuals.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for September 2018.

Striped Blister Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Red spotted purple butterflies
Geographic location of the bug:  Shohola Lake, PA
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 03:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These butterflies were alighting on one spot of gravel road by Shohola Lake.  It looks to be coyote scat (hair & bone fragments, pawprints seen in mud nearby).
They allowed me to approach slowly and I was lucky to get these shots.  They are truly gorgeous.
How you want your letter signed:  Paula K

Red Spotted Purple

Dear Paula,
Thanks so much for sending in your wonderful images of Red Spotted Purples “puddling” on coyote scat.  We have decided to make your submission our Bug of the Month for August 2018.  Though butterflies are generally thought of as pollinators that visit flowers, they will often visit more unsavory substances, including puddles of urine, scat, putrefying flesh, rotting fruit and mud puddles to ingest salts and minerals found there.

Red Spotted Purples

Dear Daniel,
I’m honored to have my photos chosen as Bug of the Month!  And now I know about “puddling.”
Some years back I send you photos of mating buck moths from Shohola Lake, PA.  It seems a great place to find interesting insects. And as I wrote back then, your site is a natural treasure!

Thanks for your kind words Paula.  We located your image of mating Buck Moths in our archives.  It is hard to believe that was 11 years ago and we are still going strong.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What the hell is it??
Geographic location of the bug:  Bassenthwaite Cumbria England
Date: 07/01/2018
Time: 12:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me with what the hell this is!!
How you want your letter signed:  Gail.

Giant Horse Fly

Dear Gail,
Congratulations on being chosen Bug of the Month for July 2018 with your query of this Giant Horse Fly, in the genus
Tabanus.    You are the third identification request we have received this week, and we quickly linked to a Huffington Post posting.  We cannot tell due to the camera angle if this is a male or female Giant Horse Fly.  Males in the genus have compound eyes that nearly touch one another while the eyes of the female have a space between them.  Only the female Giant Horse Fly will bite as the male does not feed on blood which is necessary for the female to lay viable eggs.  That blood generally comes from livestock including horses and cattle, but when livestock or other large mammals are not available, the opportunistic Horse Flies might bite humans, but try to remember after viewing the images on that Huffington Post article that most encounters between humans and Horse Flies do not end with bites.  The Gadfly that tormented Io in Greek mythology was most likely a Giant Horse Fly as Wikipedia confirms.  Long ago, the mythological Io was also the inspiration for the name of the lovely North American Io Moth as was consistent with the pattern set with 18th Century taxonomists like Linnaeus and Fabricius.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mantis?
Geographic location of the bug:  Corpus Christi, Texas
Date: 05/29/2018
Time: 11:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! Can you help me identify this flying bug? I THINK it only has 4 legs, so it’s not REALLY an insect, is it? It was on a friend’s porch last week.
How you want your letter signed:  B. McCray

Mantispid

Dear B. McCray,
Though it resembles a Mantis, this Mantispid is a member of an unrelated insect order, the Neuropterans that includes Lacewings and Antlions.  Both Mantids and Mantispids are predators that have adapted to using raptorial front legs for capturing prey.  We believe your individual is 
Dicromantispa interrupta based on this BugGuide image.

One quick question, tho – I know this isn’t a “praying” mantis – but I see “mantis” in the title “Mantispid” – so, are they related?
Thank you!!!
B. McCray
We repeat:  “Though it resembles a Mantis, this Mantispid is a member of an unrelated insect order, the Neuropterans that includes Lacewings and Antlions.”
Isn’t it odd, then for the word “mantis” to be part of the official word of what it is? It just seems confusing. 
But thanks!
Common names are often descriptive, and the resemblance between true Mantids and this Mantispid is being acknowledged in the name.  P.S.  Your submission is Bug of the Month for June 2018.
Oooo, that’s cool!! I just moved out into the Tecas Hill Country, wo we have a LOT of odd looking bugs I may ask you about.
Is that okay?

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination