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.

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.

Subject:  Unknown hymenopteran
Geographic location of the bug:  south eastern PA
Date: 07/10/2018
Time: 04:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. I am the plant protection intern at Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania and our arborist saw this insect fly out of a diseased Juniper. Can you please help me to ID it? I am sorry that he removed the insect’s head. I took this video because it is still moving.
Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Jenny

Braconid, we believe

Hi Jenny,
Because of the coloration, what appears to be a long ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen, and the written description that it emerged from a diseased juniper, we believe this is a Braconid, a parasitoid Hymenopteran in the family Braconidae, which is well represented on BugGuide.  We have an old posting of Braconids swarming on a grape trunk in California, and at that time, Eric Eaton noted “so few braconids are parasitic on wood borers.”  We also have this UK sighting in our archives that we believe to be in the genus
Atanycolus.  That genus is represented on BugGuide where it states:  “Parasites of woodboring beetle larvae, especially metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae).”  Since your juniper is diseased, it is probably infested with wood boring beetle larvae, the natural prey for parasitoid Braconids in the genus Atanycolus, so your arborist seems to have decapitated a beneficial predator and part of the solution, and not the cause of the problem for the tree, which is why we will be tagging the posting as Unnecessary Carnage.  If the tree does have a bad infestation of borer grubs, you might see additional Braconids emerge.  The female Braconid uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the bark of an infested tree or other woody plant, and the hatched larvae feed on the larvae of the beetles.  Adults emerge after pupation, so it is an understandable mistake to believe the Braconid is a harmful insect when it emerges from the tree.  We hope the information we provided will score you a few extra intern points.  

Great. Thank you so much for the very detailed response. It was sad to see that a good insect was decapitated, although it was an honest mistake. I was not there when it happened 🙁 I realized that my post still said video, even though I sent a picture. I was unable to upload the video file to the site because it was too large, but I have attached it here. It is very unsettling, especially when the poor wasp’s wings move.
Jenny

Braconid Wasp

Thanks Jenny,
We were able to get a better still from the video to illustrate the posting.

Subject:  what’s this bug?????
Geographic location of the bug:  Baja Mexico, East Cape
Date: 03/21/2018
Time: 03:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw 2 of these strange bugs.  They were in dark corners, on concrete surfaces, long antenna (2) and front crap/scorpion like legs as well as spider legs. The picture is after I sprayed the spider and moved it.  It’s a little curled up here.  Sorry for the shadows.
How you want your letter signed:  Kathleen

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Kathleen,
This was a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion, a shy nocturnal predator that will help keep your residence free of unwanted pests like Cockroaches.  We try to educate the web browsing public about the marvelous creatures that crawl about, so we created an Unnecessary Carnage tag long ago to draw attention to creatures that have been needless dispatched because they looked scary.

Daniel,
Thank you for your response.  I felt so bad ending this bug’s life, but until I was sure of what it was, I was rather scared.  I needed that a day before in the dark corner I found it as there was a huge cockroach that came from that spot.
Hmmmm… we learn as we go.  I will share the information with my neighbors so they know to just move the intimidating whipscorpion and not harm it.
Thank you!!!
Kathleen

Thanks for the update Kathleen,
We should probably clarify that though they are not venomous, Tailless Whipscorpions are predators and they do have rather powerful mandibles, meaning they might bite if carelessly handled, but they are shy and not aggressive around people, so provided you don’t try to pick one up, they pose no threat to you.

Subject:  Strange tiny insect with pincers
Geographic location of the bug:  Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Date: 01/27/2018
Time: 05:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I just found this insect on my wall inside of my apartment. Have never see anything like it before.  It has 3 tiny legs on each side of the body plus the larger pincer on each side. Before killing it, the pincers were resting foreword, not pulled in like in the picture I took.  Any thoughts or ideas would be great!  Thank You so much.
How you want your letter signed:  My name is Lindsay… not sure what else to put there.

Pseudoscorpion

Dear Lindsay,
This is a harmless, predatory Pseudoscorpion that will help keep your home free of small unwanted creatures.  Pseudoscorpions seem to have adapted quite well to living with humans.  That is a conclusion we have reached after receiving 100s of identification requests of Pseudoscorpions found in homes.  We rarely, or possibly even never, receive images of Pseudoscorpions in natural environments.  Furthermore, most of our sightings are from colder climates, with the vast majority occurring in Canada.  Though you were unaware of its identity at the time of the killing, we hope in the future you will be more tolerant of Pseudoscorpions found in your home, so we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

Hi Daniel,
I really appreciate the speedy reply. Now that I know the insect is harmless I will definitely be tolerant of them, in the event I see another one.  I actually hate killing anything, including insects ( I actually put stink bugs outside instead of killing them, lol)
Thanks again
Lindsay

Subject:  What’s these bugs?
Geographic location of the bug:  Fort Bragg, NC
Date: 12/05/2017
Time: 01:55 PM EDT
These 2 bugs look like giant stink bugs but I know they’re not because when I killed them I smelled them and they like apples. I know that sounds crazy, I was even amazed by it but that’s what they smelled like to me!  I saw one of these last week but I was unable to get any good pictures of it. Today I got great shots of both of them and  I still have their bodies. Please help me identify what type of bugs they are because it’s driving me nuts. Thank you, I will await your response!  Have a nice day Gail Barnes!!
How you want your letter signed:  However you would like to.

Big Legged Bugs

Dear Gail,
These are Big Legged Bugs in the genus
Acanthocephala, and we are intrigued by your observation that they smell like apples.

Subject:  Fukushima deep sea mutated creature in Orangevale California
Geographic location of the bug:  Orangevale California
Date: 11/27/2017
Time: 06:15 AM EDT
I just need to know if this is a mutated sea creature or something from another dimension coming to steal my soul it looks like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens
How you want your letter signed:  Don’t want to die buy some weird bug I don’t know what it is

House Centipede Carnage

While the humor in your request is amusing, you lived to write about your encounter with this harmless House Centipede and it did not.  Images of House Centipedes that have fallen victim to Unnecessary Carnage are quite common on our site because they seem so frightening to many folks.  House Centipedes are impressive creatures that are very agile on their 15 pairs of legs.  They are nocturnal hunters that will help keep the home free of Cockroaches and other unwanted critters.