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

How do I post a pic from my iPhone?
July 9, 2011 1:48 pm
Hello Mr. and Mrs. Bugman!
Love your site, and I will say that I get great great, no — EXTREME satisfaction from your responses to the Nasty Readers.  Especially the ones with grammatical and spelling delinquencies.  Heeheehee!
Anyway, I’d like to post a bug for ID, but the ‘insert image’ sections don’t allow me to actually insert an image from my iPhone.  Any trix that I’m missing?
Very best,
Martha P. Humphreys

Ed. Note: We are currently trying to resolve Martha’s technical difficulties.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Documenting Hawaii bugs
June 26, 2011
Hi love your site. Thank you so much for assisting me in identifying our bug.  My kids cheered like we won the lottery after seeing my recently snapped mystery beetle picture on line.  I must say your site has given me a whole new way of thinking about the tiny lives we share this planet with.

I’d searched bug guide and the Hawaii insect identification site for information (as well as doing other web research) before submitting the picture.  I had really taken them to use to look at while I was searching to see if I could find a match.  I admit my previous sheer terror at most bugs had me wishing most didn’t exist but I never enjoyed bug carnage–so looking at the Hawaii ID st was very hard.  Most are in some type of gel or petri dish or impaled for viewing. Seeing so many, even “enemy” bugs, displayed like that was quite distressing .   I was wondering if we could somehow help them change this by giving them better more accurate portraits (like the ones displayed on your site) to help them begin to have a much clearer, vivid catalog of information to perhaps replace the blurry impaled photos.

I know I’d appreciate it.  I’d also like better information like a listing of known feeding habits, habitat, plants that they like, are they garden-friendly, poisonous and if so how dangerous? i.e., mild, to other bug only, or severe.  That might seem like info so that one can destroy but it isn’t. For example if I knew what plants could attract “pest” bugs away from my garden or might attract beneficial insects to it, I could use that information to use simple natural methods of pest control.  Also as is the case here in Hawaii, we could help species nearing extinction like the beautiful Hawaiian Monarch butterfly, begin to flourish again–just by knowing what to plant.

I’m no expert photographer and I like my privacy but any photos I could submit to help I would definitely take a cup of bravery and try to snap for such a venture. I and I’m sure many others who live in these isles would definitely appreciate seeing more accurate Hawaii info, with a broader scope, on the web.  It could begin with you and the Hawaii insect identification site .

I know they have so many insects listed and it could take years, but the effort has to start somewhere eh? Can it begin with you?  Thank you so much for your site.

Hi Dasi,
Thanks for your suggestion.  Since our goal is to try to educate the web browsing public about the creatures that we share this planet with, we love posting photos of living specimens in their natural habitat, though we also gravitate to more unusual images that demonstrate the intersection between the natural world and the civilized world for purely aesthetic reasons.  Alas, we really haven’t the time to create a unique site dedicated to Hawaiian insects.  Many species found on Hawaii are actually non-native species that were accidentally introduced.  If you want to aggregate the Hawaiian insects found on our site, you may use our search engine and type in Hawaii or Hawaiian and you will find all the postings where those words are mentioned.  Our search engine works quite well.

I was delighted to see the Hawaii Insect site that you directed me to in your recent email.  I see that there is a site with pictorial images that don’t make me cringe. It is welcome addition to my educational sites.
I can’t believe how far a little knowledge goes.  I find myself catching spiders and releasing them now…me, an immensely terrified bugaphobe (my own word ). Seriously my kids looked at me today like “who is this woman and what did she do with our mom” when after they shrieked at a jumping spider (as we call them) I said “No killing! Catch it and put it outside,” then promptly helped them do it using an empty glass.  Heck I surprised myself.  Not so sure I can face them all but hey, small steps. Kudos for inspiring us critter-scarified folk to give our planet neighbors some thought..

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Thank you
June 13, 2011 7:17 am
Hi Bug Folks,
This morning when I went outside, we had two grapevine beetles on our screen door. I didn’t know that at the time, of course, but a quick search of What’s That Bug gave me the information I needed. I use your site several times a year, and I don’t think I’ve ever written to thank you for it.
I have three children, the oldest of whom is nine, and a brief search has rescued many a scary-looking bug from this paranoid mother. When my daughter was waking up with bites on her arms, you helped me identify the culprit (spider), and when I found small bugs on our comforter, you relieved my bedbug paranoia (carpet beetles).
When we find unknown bugs in the house, I use the site to determine how far away we take them when we show them out (just outside the door, way out in the back yard, or down the road?). I’ve even learned to tolerate the occasional house centipede.
I was a teacher/naturalist at a bird sanctuary for many years, so I’m a live-and-let-live person by nature and training, but being a mother has given me a twitchy stomping foot (That’s probably not a black widow in the corner of the bathroom, but what if it is? My babies!).
I appreciate your site and your attitude toward bugs, which helps temper those squash-and-ask-questions-later instincts.
I can tell that this site is a lot of work, and I just wanted you to know that our family appreciates it.
Kara Laughlin

Grapevine Beetle from our archives

Dear Kara,
In our seemingly impossible task of trying to respond to the numerous emails we received during our week away from the office, the subject line generally influences which emails we read first.  We never pass on the opportunity to read something that begins with a thank you and we were quite touched by your kind letter.  We are happy to hear that our mission to spread appreciation and tolerance of the lower beasts has struck a harmonious chord with so many readers.  We have dredged up a photo of a Grapevine Beetle from our archives to accompany this posting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Just wanted to say I enjoy your site
June 4, 2011 2:01 pm
Hey. I just wanted to say that I enjoy your site. I have identified a few bugs using the site and I enjoy looking at the pictures. I try not to kill bugs if I can avoid it, though I do admit that I’m not all that kind to wasps, mosquitos, and spiders in the house. If I know that a bug is harmless I usually leave it alone. I’ve got some honeybee, praying mantis, lunar moth, butterfly, and a few other random insect pictures that I could send if you would like to add them to your archive. They’re probably fairly common species, though, so you probably have pictures already.
Anyway, I really enjoy your site. You do a good job with it. Thanks for maintaining it.
Signature: L.M.

Dear L.M.
We look forward to the day you cannot identify the insect you have photographed.  At that time, send us your photo.  We are currently getting close to 100 identification requests per day and we are unable to handle them all, so many requests go unanswered.  We are postdating your fanmail email to go live on our site on June 8 because we will be gone from the office for a week.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

If you ever consider writing a children’s book…
June 6, 2011 10:03 pm
I just bought your “Curious World” book in Boston.  Love it.  I am a backyard  organic gardener, bug aficionado, and illustrator of 25 books.  And I live on Santa Monica.  I think you should write a picture book celebrating bugs and I could illustrate it.
Signature: Kathryn Hewitt

Hi Kathryn,
Thanks so much for the compliment.  The circumstances that lead to my writing The Curious World of Bugs was very atypical, and you may read about it here on the Perigee Bookmarks site.  The thought of writing a children’s book is tempting.  I just might consider it.  Perhaps we should continue this dialog offline upon my return from visiting my mother in Ohio for a week.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

speaking engagement
June 1, 2011 12:06 am
Hello Daniel:
I attended your lecture at the Payne Foundation last Saturday and really enjoyed your presentation!!! I sat in the back next to Lily Singer.
I have a horticultural garden retreat in Topanga
called The Mermaid and do evening programs sometimes featuring speakers. i am passionate about butterflies and rear different native species on the site.
Would you be available for such a speaking event?  And if so please tell me how I go about making arrangements with you, cost, etc.
The Mermaid has a wonderful history — built as a country club in 1930, later to be coma a gambling house during world war 2 and then a gay bar called the Canyon Club in the 50s and 60s.
I have lived here for 21 years and rent the place out for all sorts of things. Please see our website,
Thank you,
Bill Buerge, owner
The Mermaid, Topanga

Hi Bill,
Thanks for your kind email.  I am glad you enjoyed the presentation.  Topanga Canyon is a wonderful area and I hope that posting your letter and link will be positive publicity for your garden retreat.  With summer approaching and budget cuts at the California Community College level, LACC has decided not to offer any photography classes among its drastically scaled back summer session, so I have some free time.  I will also contact you through my personal email address so that we can discuss specifics.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination