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

Subject:  What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Date: 09/01/2017
Time: 07:23 AM EDT
Hi Mr Bug Man,
Please identify for us this bug. We found many of them laying on the sidewalk one day during the monsoon season.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, Susan

Katydid

Dear Susan,
Your request has been on our back burner since we received it.  Alas, we have tried unsuccessfully several times to identify this Orthopteran, but it does look familiar to us.  It is quite distinctive looking with its gaudy camouflage markings.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck than we have had.

Update:  September 5, 2017
Thanks to Cesar Crash of Insetologia who identified this Katydid as
Parasanaa donovani, a species we had in our archives.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Insect Behaviour
Location: Southern North Carolina
August 20, 2017 5:17 am
Friends of ours down in S. North Carolina had a strange phenomenon this weekend. A long writhing, living, rope of insects in mid-air. None of us have ever seen this before and are wondering A) what these flying insects are, and B) what causes this behavior (mating maybe)?
You guys are great, thanks!!
Signature: Cheers!

Mysterious “Rope” of Insects

This is surely a strange phenomenon.  Our initial guess is that they must be Gnats or Midges, and we are going to attempt to provide a more conclusive response for you.  We wish there was more detail in the close-up image.  We can’t even tell if these flying insects have two wings or four wings.  Flies in the order Diptera, the group that includes Gnats and Midges, have one pair of wings while other insects, like swarming Flying Ants, have two sets of wings.

Gnats or Midges????

P.S.  Were they dead or alive?  They appear dead.

They were alive.  I couldn’t get the video he has up on FB, but they are definitely moving.  They are joined somehow, very odd.  Want me to see if they’ll share the video?
MC

Mysterious “Rope” of Insects

Update from Eric Eaton:  August 25, 2017
Daniel:
No idea what the insects are.  I’d have to see specimens or at least microscope images.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

Update:  August 26, 2017
Finally!  I hope these don’t get kicked back due to size.  If so, I’ll throw them up on DropBox and send you the link.
Hope this helps,
Mike Coughlin
20170819_133205000_iOS
20170819_132706000_iOS

Dear Mike,
Thanks for sending in the videos.  Normally we don’t post videos to our site so we hope we did it correctly.  We believe these are Flying Ants, which is what they appear to be in the close-up video.  The wide angle video shows many swarming insects near the “rope” of insects.  Perhaps they have gotten ensnared in the sticky strands of a spider web.

Great, glad you got them!  I looked at it more closely yesterday as well. And I agree, they do appear to be flying ants.
The odd thing is the way that they’re all lined up – you wouldn’t expect to see them as densely aligned in that configuration.
Mother Nature!
Cheers,
M Coughlin
It is our suspicion that two completely unrelated phenomena have occurred simultaneously to create the “ropes” of insects.  There was a swarm of Flying Ants and there was a silken thread, either from a Spider dropping an anchor line for a web or from a Caterpillar that was using a silken thread to decend from a tree.  That silken thread then provided a landing strip for the ants.  We might be incorrect, but that is our speculation.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: green caterpillar
Location: NE corner of WA state.
June 27, 2017 1:53 pm
I’d like to identify the caterpiller (and it resulting moth or butterfly) in the attached photos. It seems to act like a tent caterpiller but spins a strand and drops down to earth. Most strands get wrapped around each other forming a much larger strand (1/4″ dia) that reaches the ground. This site was on a forest road in NE Washington.
Thanks.
Signature: John McMillan

Caterpillar Swarm

Dear John,
Since it is green and appears to be hairless, this is most definitely NOT a Tent Caterpillar.  Our web searching for caterpillars exhibiting this behavior in Washington has not produced anything significant, however we did find this interesting article Daily Mail concerning millions of green caterpillars on a single tree.  The site states:  “Stuart Edmunds, from Shropshire Wildlife Trust, said he believed the moths could be the larvae of the aptly named ash moth: ‘It is incredibly rare, when there is a limited supply of trees like there is in this area the ash moth mothers could have decided to lay their eggs all in one place. Usually the caterpillars would be distributed over many more trees and with this many on a few trees there is a danger it could weaken the trees'”  Was the phenomena you observed limited to a single tree?  We feel certain this is a moth caterpillar.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to help us solve this mystery.

Caterpillar Swarm

Thanks, Daniel.
The site in the photos was all in one tree (which looked rather dry and somewhat bare of leaves).
However, we did see smaller versions of this in two other trees along that same patch of forest. We did not identify the trees the ash moth caterpillers were hanging from.
Maybe others will give us more firm data to add to yours.
Cheers.

Caterpillar Swarm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Square egg sacks
Location: Chico, Ca 95973
June 3, 2017 10:15 am
My buddy and I have been remodeling my mobile home and after opening up the ceiling we found small square egg sacks .when he reached his arm up in side to move something he has hundreds of bites on his arms they seem to burrow into the skin we are not sure what they are we can’t even identify them because they are so small . We have used standard house spray to no avail. Any ideas
Signature: Tony

Mysterious Rash

Dear Tony,
We do not have the necessary medical or entomological qualifications to provide a diagnosis based on this image, but that does look like a nasty rash that might need medical attention.  If this was connected to bites, we would suspect some type of mite, perhaps a species associated with rodents or birds.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is going on with these wasps
Location: near houston
April 28, 2017 9:56 am
very odd. 4 wasps on top of each other. At first ii thought it was a multiple mating, but It appears that the bugs on top are dead. What is going here? what sort of wasp is this? is this normal? i’ve never seen this before.
Signature: jay in texas

Mud Dauber Mystery

Dear Jay,
We wish you had been able to provide better quality images.  While there is enough detail to determine that these are Black and Yellow Mud Daubers,
Sceliphron caementarium, and it appears they are “attached” to one another at the head like each was biting another at the “neck”, we cannot fathom what is going on or what happened.  It is interesting that you observed the the ones on top are dead.  Does that mean the ones on the bottom were alive?  It also appears that they are on a collapsible hose, which makes sense since Mud Daubers are often found near puddles that occur when watering or near swimming pools.  You may verify our identification by comparing your individuals to this BugGuide image.  Mud Daubers are solitary Wasps, and each female makes and provisions her own nest, so this “group activity” is quite puzzling.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide a hypothesis on what is happening.

Update:  Supposed Mating Behavior
Thanks to Cesar Crash who provided comments with links to Shutterstock and BugGuide.

Eric Eaton Confirms
Daniel:
….Three males competing for a female (bottom-most individual).  The neck-grabbing is typical male mate-guarding behavior, or attempt to mate.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Glow worm?
Location: Rimrock, AZ
April 25, 2017 8:27 pm
Found this on the floor of my apartment tonight. What is it?
Signature: Laura

Bioluminescent Larva

Dear Laura,
This does not look like a typical Glowworm to us.  Glowworms or Railroad Worms are the larvae of beetles in the family Phengodidae.  This doesn’t look like a Firefly Larva from the family Lampyridae either.  It does look like a Wireworm, the larva of a Click Beetle.  There are bioluminescent Glowing Click Beetles in the genus Deilelater, but we have not been able to locate an image of the larva.  BugGuide only lists North American sightings in Texas and Florida, however, BugGuide does indicate “
D. physoderus GA-FL-AZ, Mexico.”  Though that is circumstantial, our best guess right now is that this might be the larva of a Glowing Click Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination