Currently viewing the tag: "WTB? Mt. Washington"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Subject:  What are these Assassin Bug nymphs doing?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 04:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  That’s definitive, but what are they doing rolling around those sacks, and some of the sacks have been hung up?
Thanks for identifying.
How do you want your letter signed:  Mel Frank

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs with “Pod”

Ed. Note:  We met recently with noted author Mel Frank (see Amazon) and we correctly identified what he thought were Assassin Bug nymphs found on Cannabis as Leaf Footed Bug nymphs, probably in the genus Leptoglossus, based on BugGuide images as well as images from our own archives, and he wrote back wondering about this unusual activity.

“Pods” hung by immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi again Mel,
As we stated earlier, these Leaf Footed Bug nymphs are phytophagous, meaning they feed on plants.  Like other members of the True Bug suborder Heteroptera, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids, and members of this genus are frequently found on plants like tomatoes, pomegranate and citrus, and they damage fruit.  BugGuide notes:  “some are extremely polyphagous” indicating that they will feed from many types of plants.  Some typically plant feeding True Bugs are known to feed on dead and dying insects, including members of their own species, but that is opportunistic behavior and not true predatory behavior.  What you witnessed and observed over time, the nymphs “rolling around those sacks” and then hanging them up, sounds like the behavior of a predator storing food the way spiders wrap up prey with silk.  We wonder, perhaps, if while feeding by sucking the fluids from your
Cannabis, these Leaf Footed Bugs ingested cannabinoids resulting in altered “mindbending” behavior similar to experiments on a Spider’s ability to spin a web after exposure to drugs (see Priceonomics).  We have not clue at this time exactly what is in that sack these nymphs were rolling around, or why they were rolling them around and hanging them up.  It is a mystery.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he knows anything about this type of behavior in Leaf Footed Bugs from the family Coreidae.  We can’t help but be reminded of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the aliens using pods to generate simulacra of humans. 

Update April 25, 2018:  Eric Eaton provides information.
So the plant they are on is marijuana?  In any event, yes, these are Leptoglossus nymphs, which typically feed on seeds or seed pods, and that is what the “sacs” are.  I’m a bit perplexed by the “webbing” around them.  The nymphs may be maneuvering the seeds to find a good place to pierce them so they can suck out the juicy contents.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

The mystery is the sacs. The only plant nearby was the pomegranate tree with lots of pomegranates. Also, some of the sacs have been hung.
Thanks for clearing this up.

Pomegranate is one of the primary host plants for Leaf Footed Bugs in the Los Angeles area.  You frequently find numerous individuals feeding on a single pomegranate.  The “sacs” look somewhat like unripe pomegranate seeds.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Giant Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 011:20 AM EDT
This morning from the window, Daniel noticed this Giant Swallowtail land in the meadow out front.  Daniel has learned through the years to get a shot quickly before fine tuning adjustments and camera angle, and sure enough, as he moved closer for a better angle, this beauty flew off.  If memory serves us correctly, Giant Swallowtails, which are native to the eastern United States, first appeared in Los Angeles around 1998.  Cultivation of citrus trees and the adaptation of citrus trees as an acceptable food for the caterpillars have led to this significant range expansion.

Giant Swallowtail


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mating Lady Beetles
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  3/29/2018
Late in the afternoon, after work, Daniel decided to do some weeding in the garden.  The annual wildflowers, including fiesta flowers, lupines and California poppies are blooming and other wildflower seeds are sprouted.  Around dusk (slow shutter speed resulted in blurry image), Daniel noticed what he believes are Convergent Lady Beetles mating.  It is very exciting to see a native Lady Beetle in the garden as opposed to the invasive Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles that are displacing native species in many places in North America.  The Natural History of Orange County has some excellent images of Convergent Lady Beetles, and BugGuide states they feed on:  “Aphids, also whiteflies and other soft bodied insects.”

Mating Convergent Lady Beetles

We got trolled on Facebook by Toni Merida:  How can anyone who knows that much about gardening not know what a ladybug is?

The answer to Toni’s question is that while our editorial staff knew that these were Lady Beetles, we were uncertain of the species and we wanted to substantiate the species since we tend to see invasive Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles in our garden, and that larger, more aggressive species is contributing to the decline of many native species of Lady Beetles.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Honey Bees gather pollen from California Black Walnuts
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 03/18/2018
While working in the garden Sunday, Daniel noticed a Honey Bee flying around the catkins of an endangered California Black Walnut.  He thought this was unusual since the male flowers have no nectar.  Upon doing some research, Daniel learned on several sites, including Bee Spoke Info and Beeginner Beekeeper, that Honey Bees gather pollen from such trees as alder, hazel and willow, but no mention of black walnuts.

Honey Bees gather pollen from Walnut Trees



What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Hatchling California Mantis
Geographic Location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date:  Monday, January 22, 2018
Time:  4:30 PM PST
This past Monday, while taking an unrelated photo of a model using a 4×5 camera and film, Daniel spotted a hatchling California Mantis on the patio roof.  It was scuttling along quite quickly and without a digital camera handy, the sighting went unrecorded.  The proximity of this sighting to the body of the female California Mantis that died without laying eggs has only fueled Daniel’s unrealistic hope that some eggs might hatch, protected by the body of their dead mother.  Though that is a remote fantasy, this is nonetheless an extremely early sighting for a Mantis hatchling in Southern California as we don’t normally see hatchlings until April, but this has been a warm and dry Southern California winter thusfar.  Lacking an image of the hatchling, we are posting a scanned photo from a 4×5 negative of the final resting place (an empty aquarium) of our female California Mantis that died after an unknown trauma caused her egg-filled abdomen to burst.  Meanwhile we will search for more hatchlings in the coming weeks.

Dead female California Mantis (filled with eggs)

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Eggbound California Mantid
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  November 11, 2017
We have been posting images of the female California Mantis that lived on our porch light for much of the early autumn season, including the 25,000th Posting on our site.  She continued to thrive on the insects attracted to the porch light, and three weeks later we posted an image of her devouring a mature Bush Katydid.  Two weeks later, we arrived home and she was not on the light, but she was perched below on the top of the broom handle, but something was clearly wrong.  Her abdomen had burst and we saw what we at first thought might be larvae of a parasite, but we later presumed were her unlaid eggs, but what caused this trauma?  Perhaps she fell from the light and burst open when she hit the ground.  We suspected she would soon die, and we put her on a camelia in the garden.  When we checked on her progress later in the evening, we found her bent double, licking her wound.

Wounded Female California Mantis

The next morning the Argentine Ants had discovered her and were crawling on her legs.  We knew she would lose that encounter, so we moved her to a potted willow where she lived a few more days and eventually vanished, only to be discovered clinging to the side of the house, dead, her eggs never laid.  We put her body in a protected location and we wonder if though unlaid, perhaps her eggs might hatch next spring, protected from the elements by her body instead of a frothy ootheca.

Injured Female California Mantis

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination