Currently viewing the tag: "Invasive Exotics"

Subject:  Large shy cicada-like insect with pretty spots
Geographic location of the bug:  Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Date: 09/07/2021
Time: 03:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was waiting at a bus stop when suddenly this large-ish (1.25″ approx) flew in front of me and landed on a wall. While it was flying I could see its (second set of wings? thorax?) was bright red with white spots, which you can get a peek of in the third picture.
After it landed, I kept trying to get pictures, but it was shy and kept crawling away, and then my bus came so that was that.
It had bright orange eyes and a head/body shape that made me think it was a cicada, but its outer wings are opaque and covered in spots and stripes, and I thought cicadas all had clear wings. It crawled and moved a bit like a cicada too. Something in the same family?
Thanks for any help!
How you want your letter signed:  Jarrett

Spotted Lanternfly

Dear Jarrett,
According to BugGuide, the invasive Spotted Lanternfly was first reported in North America in 2014, but as early as 2010 we reported it as an invasive species from China introduced to South Korea and at that time White Cicada was a common name more popularly used than it is now.  Thuogh it is not a true Cicada, the Spotted Lanternfly is in the same insect order as Cicadas, True Bugs and Treehoppers. 

Subject:  Bug from Israel
Geographic location of the bug:  Kfar Saba, IL
Date: 08/29/2021
Time: 03:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks in advance

Mango Stem Borer

The Mango Stem Borer was likely to have been introduced to Israel from Sri Lanka in the 1950’s.  It uses figs, mangos and Papayas as host trees.

Subject:  Moth in NJ
Geographic location of the bug:  Central New Jersey, USA
Date: 08/17/2021
Time: 10:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi WtB,
I’ve been hanging out with this moth recently, but have not been able to identify it after looking through lists of moths native to the area, hoping you can help me out.
Location: New Jersey, USA
Season:   Summer (early August)
Thank you so much for your work!!
How you want your letter signed:  Friend of Moth

Spotted Lanternfly

Dear Friend of Moth,
Alas, this is not a Moth.  It is a Spotted Lanternfly, a recently introduced invasive species from Asia.

Subject:  Is this Japanese Beetle going to eat my medical marijuana?
Geographic location of the bug:  Ohio
Date: 07/28/2021
Time: 12:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
The Japanese Beetles were terrible this year.  They ate all the leaves off my neighbor’s ornamental plum tree.  They decimated the roses, and at times they seem to want to eat everything in sight.  They ate my friend’s hawthorn.  I keep finding one or two when I inspect the medical marijuana I just started growing this year, but they don’t seem to be eating the plants.  I have tried to research Japanese Beetles and marijuana and I was thrilled with your section on Insects and Cannabis called What’s on my Woody Plant?
So I expect my girls to start producing buds soon.  Do I need to fear the Japanese Beetles eating my marijuana?
How you want your letter signed:  Paranoid Pot Grower

Japanese Beetle on medical Marijuana

Dear Paranoid Pot Grower,
Time may be on your side, especially since the Japanese Beetles you are finding do not appear to be eating the leaves on your plants.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on roots of many plants. adults feed on more than 350 different species of plants, but are especially fond of roses, grapes, smartweed, soybeans, corn silks, flowers of all kinds, and overripe fruit.”   Your buds are flowers, so they might be attractive to the beetles if there is no other preferred food to be eaten.  BugGuide also states Japanese Beetles are active “mostly: June-Sept” and we suspect your harvest will be after late September, so you shouldn’t have to worry about loosing your entire crop.  According to Holy Moly Seeds, Japanese Beetles eat:  “Mainly roses, grapes, cannabis, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, grapes, hops, cherries, plums, pears, peaches, berries, corn, peas, and many more. They feed on the foliage of the plant, eating the material in between veins.”  According to Medical Marijuana (Cannabis sativa x indica)
:  “Japanese beetles will eat the entire leaf. Just like home gardens a population of Japanese beetles can kill a whole plant by destroying its leaves so badly it cannot photosynthesize enough to support itself” but you do not seem to be experiencing that.  Medical Marijuana Cannabis Pests says nothing about leaves and buds, but it does state:  “The most serious root pests are flea beetle grubs (Psylliodes attenuata) and white root grubs — Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) and chafers (Melolontha hippocastani and M. melolontha).”  Please give us an update if you do find the Japanese Beetles are eating your buds.

Subject:  Green Worm?
Geographic location of the bug:  Spokane, WA
Date: 08/14/2021
Time: 02:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  found this little guy hiding in the lower crevice underneath my sliding door to the backyard. small enough to fit under the door entirely. i couldn’t see any legs and it seems to only move by flexing its body like a worm. thicker (and greener) than a worm, however. reacted a little to simply blowing in it but it didn’t react when i tapped it with a toothpick (not the sharp sides, i don’t wanna hurt it). no bigger than my index finger in length
How you want your letter signed:  Connor S.

One Eyed Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Connor,
This is not a Worm.  It is a Caterpillar, more specifically a Hornworm, a caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae.  Now comes the interesting part.  It sure looks like the caterpillar of a Lime Hawkmoth,
Mimas tiliae, but that is a European species that is pictured on Wildlife Insight.  12 years ago we posted a sighting of a Lime Hawkmoth in Pennsylvania and through that posting we learned that Lime Hawkmoths have already been reported in eastern Canada.  Doug Yanega, an entomologist at UC Riverside informed us:  “The Lime Hawkmoth is already known from eastern canada so Pennsylvania is just the first time it has been sighted across the US border. Probably introduced carelessly or intentionally from someone who has imported and was rearing Sphinx Moths from overseas.”  According to iNaturalist:  ” the lime hawk-moth, is a moth of the family Sphingidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic region and the Near East, and has also been identified in eastern Canada and in northern Spain (Europe).”  Twelve years have passed since that posting and it is entirely possible that the Lime Hawkmoth has either expanded its North American range across the continent or that it hitched across the country with tourists.  We might be wrong in our identification.  Perhaps Dr. Bostjan Dvorak or another specialist in the family Sphingidae will either confirm or correct our tentative identification.  If we are correct, this might be a first sighting in Washington as we are unable to locate any information on its presence there.

Update:  August 22, 2021
Thanks to a comment from Bostjan Dvorak, we have been informed that this is a One Eyed Sphinx Caterpillar, not a Lime Hawkmoth Caterpillar.

Subject:  What is This
Geographic location of the bug:  Newark, NJ
Date: 08/11/2021
Time: 09:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve been here all my life and can’t imagine what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  Northern non bug lover

Spotted Lanternfly

Dear Northern non bug lover,
This is an invasive Spotted Lanternfly, not a species to love.  The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia and according to BugGuide:  “earliest NA record: PA 2014” and since then it has been reported in five states in addition to Pennsylvania.  Your New Jersey sighting is not the first, and there are also sightings in New York, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.  Indications are that it will continue to spread.  Though it has not yet been reported there, the Missouri Department of Conservation states:  “The spotted lanternfly feeds on over 70 plant species, many of which are native to Missouri. SLF feeding activity can weaken plants, resulting in decline or even death. This invasive pest has the potential to damage Missouri native plants and forests.

As they feed on tree-of-heaven, spotted lanternflies may acquire chemicals from the plant that make them distasteful or toxic to predators.
In its native regions on the other side of the world — southern China, Taiwan, and Vietnam — the spotted lanternfly’s numbers are kept in check by predators and diseases.”