Currently viewing the tag: "unnecessary carnage"
Insects are prone to unnecessary slaughter, be it from an overzealous homemaker who doesn't want to see bugs, or from a strapping he-man who is a closet arachnophobe, or from a youngster who likes to torture. At any rate, we get a goodly amount of photos of poor arthropods whose lives ended prematurely. In an effort to educate, we present Unnecessary Carnage. This page is not intended for the squeemish.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Beetle identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Perth- western australia
Date: 09/01/2018
Time: 02:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Bug was found in lawn when removing african beetles.
Is over 6mm in length.
Wondering what the beetle is and if it is destructive to plants or harmful to pets
How you want your letter signed:  Regards, Daniel Jones

Devil’s Coach Horse

Dear Daniel,
Because of its red head, this is an amazing looking Rove Beetle in the family Staphylinidae, and we identified it as
Creophilus erythrocephalus, commonly called a Devil’s Coach Horse, thanks to images on Wild South Australia.  According to Museums Victoria:  “Devil’s Coach Horses eat maggots (fly larvae) and are usually found living in rotting animal carcasses.”  While that might seem unsavory, we would consider them beneficial as they help to control Fly populations.  The species is also pictured on Atlas of Living Australia.  The common name Devil’s Coach Horse is also used with a European species of Rove Beetle that has naturalized in North America.  This Devil’s Coach Horse does not look like it died of natural causes, so we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

Devil’s Coach Horse

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  New Orleans
Date: 08/15/2018
Time: 06:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this guy in my apartment, tried to get him to an open window but got spooked when he flew at me. I looked up other wasps in the area but none of them seemed quite right.
How you want your letter signed:  Hbb

Great Golden Digger Wasp Carnage

Dear Hbb,
The Great Golden Digger Wasp is not an aggressive species, and what you mistook for aggression was likely it desperately trying to get back outside.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is this bug!?
Geographic location of the bug:  Glen mills, pa
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 10:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What it this bug?
How you want your letter signed:  Katie

Hanging Thief Carnage

Dear Katie,
This magnificent predator is a Hanging Thief, a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, and they are not aggressive towards humans, but we suspect a bite might occur if a person tried to catch one with bare hands.  The Hanging Thief captures large flying insects, often on the wing, and then the Hanging Thief hangs from one leg to feed.   The prey are frequently Wasps as images here and here in our archives illustrate.  In our opinion, your image documents what we consider to be Unnecessary Carnage, and we hope any future encounters you have with a Hanging Thief will end differently now that you have learned a bit about this amazing creature. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Insects
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida
Date: 08/09/2018
Time: 08:52 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found a flying bug in Trenton Florida has wing’s eye lashes Orange and black with a big stinger
How you want your letter signed:  Melissa

Male Glowworm

Dear Melissa,
This is a male Glowworm, and unlike Fireflies that have bioluminescent adults, it is generally only the larval Glowworms that give off light.  What you have described as “eye lashes” are actually antennae, and there is no stinger.  Glowworms are entirely harmless to humans.  We try to promote tolerance of the lower beasts, and it appears this Glowworm met an untimely death, so we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

Male Glowworm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Please identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Tracy, California
Date: 08/09/2018
Time: 02:16 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Could you please identify this insect. I found a few (~5) in my house over a few days this summer at night around my lights. They are 1/4-3/8 inch long
How you want your letter signed:  Sfigurac


Dear Sfigurac,
This is a benign Webspinner, and sometimes winged males are attracted to lights in great numbers.

Thank you very much for the quick response.
Your information has been very informative and helpful.
Your website seems like an excellent resource which I definitely share with others.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large Flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Fairview Park Ohio
Date: 08/07/2018
Time: 02:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Help—what is this big flew into our school?
How you want your letter signed:  Bugman

Cicada Killer Killed at School

You are Bugman???
We really need to get on our soapbox about this identification request.  You indicate this happened at a school, but you did not indicate what kind of school.  Generally a school has students, and students are there to learn, and in our opinion, teaching the students that it is OK to kill creatures that they do not recognize is not really best practices.  Schools often teach science, and we hope this unfortunate situation with the Unnecessary Carnage of this Cicada Killer can be incorporated into your curriculum.  Cicada Killers are not aggressive wasps, and though they might sting if they are carelessly handled, we have never received a verified report with an image as proof, in the 16 years we have been responding to internet identification requests, of a Cicada Killer stinging a human, but we have received numerous examples of Cicada Killer carnage here and here and here and here and here and here and on and on, just because they are scary looking.  Cicada Killers are amazing creatures.  A female Cicada Killer stings a Cicada and paralyzes it and they drags it back to her underground nest to provide food for her brood.  For more detailed information, please refer to Cicada Mania where it states:  “I know what you are thinking: are these terrifyingly large wasps a threat to human beings? The short answer is NO. They are so focused on cicadas or other Cicada Killer Wasps, that they could care less about you. Sure, if you step on one, squeeze one in your hand, or otherwise harass the insect, it might sting you. Unlike other wasps, it will not go out of its way to harm you.” 

Hello Daniel,
Thank you for reaching back with this valuable info.
First—I didn’t know what to put on that line. Thought it was asking how we would want to receive your signature.
My apologies.
Second—I represent the summer skeleton admin staff and totally respect your response.
Alas, this poor creature was the victim of excavation connected to reconstruction of our buildings and brought to me by cleaning staff in the condition you see in the image. It was my hope to head off a mini panic by obtaining an identification. Yours is very helpful—at least if there any more Cicada Killers displaced by the bulldozers that head into the building, the staff will know these do not represent a risk to the returning children.  There has been really frightening stuff revealed from behind walls and in the ceilings—all manmade—so staff is absolutely a little jumpy.  I will admonish my colleagues and share this info with out Bio teacher. Thanks again!

Thanks for your explanation.  We imagine your administrative duties and your concern for the children and staff are a tremendous responsibility.  It just makes us so sad to see so many images of these magnificent creatures that have been killed unnecessarily just because they look scary.  Please accept our apology if we were too harsh.  Asbestos and other construction related hazards are far scarier than any Cicada Killer.


Daniel, You have a great website and perform an important service.

I am grateful for your concern for “all creatures great and small”–and even and especially those some people find scary.

I hope we can agree to have shared a so-called teachable moment.
I will tell the maintenance staff not to fear the Cicada Killers and about their nature so that, if more are turned out with this construction, they can be respected.
Going forward, I will share what transpired with our Bio and Environmental Science teachers–who are very good people.
We might have occasion to contact you again–and next time I will know to put my name in the address box, not yours.

Thank you again for being a wonderful steward of our Earth.

Our manifesto has always been to educate the web browsing public about the interconnectivity of all life on our fragile planet.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination