From the monthly archives: "January 2005"

mystery bug
Good day Bugman! I have been searching everywhere for someone who has the knowledge to help me out! I am currently living in Taiwan, and have recently moved into a new apartment. My landlord told us that this apartment had been vacant for about 10 months before we moved in. Well, I started seeing these strange spots on the walls, and realized that they moved imerceptibly! Taking a closer look at what I initially thought was cobwebs (because they like to move up and down the wall in the corners where 2 walls meet), I discovered they are in fact alive! When I squish them, they are as thin as paper, and there is no crunch or resistance of any kind. The black protrusion you see coming from the bottom can protrude from the top or the bottom, but not simultaneously. It has no big range of motion, and has a very tentative hold on the surface it is against. This one is on the outside of my toilet bowl. And you’ll notice that this one has an orange coloring, very distinct. Most of the ones I’ve seen have been all brown and mottled, resembling tree bark, without this orange splash. There never was any big population, I found maybe 10 in the whole 3 bedroom apartment when we moved in. Since then, I’ve found maybe a dozen more, and these at long intervals…since this one on the toilet bowl, I haven’t seen another for 2 weeks or so, and so it’s not a question of infestation or management, I just can’t seem to find anyone who can tell me what this is! I hope these pictures and this information reach you alright, and I am eagerly anticipating your response! Thanks again for your excellent site, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Dear Kimberly,
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae probably Phereoeca fallax or a near relative.
The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends. They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures. Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. We have gotten many letters from Florida regarding Case Bearing Moths.

Longicorn ??
hi just curious what genus and species of longicorn beetle this was, ur site has been very interesting and helpful so any help would be greatly appreciated .
yours greatfully
wayno the bugman

Hi Wayne,
By the looks of things, it appears you might be beginning a collection. This beautiful specimen is one of the Ergates Pine Sawyers. The larva eat the sapwood and heartwood of pines and Douglas firs usually feeding in fallen logs, stumps and telephone poles. According to Hogue, Ergates spiculatus is the largest local beetle in Los Angeles.

What’s this bug
It’s the middle of winter here in Canada around -15C or so and I find this bug in the middle of my upstairs hall. Unfortunately my killer instincts kicked in, and I felt I had to protect my whole family from our strange house guest so I flattened it. Hopefully it’s resting peacefully in bug heaven and hopefully you can identify it.
Some things to note:
-We did have a live Christmas tree
-We have just recently completed renovations including new lumber
-After it was squished, there was a faint pine smell (could be my imagination b/c the guts were green)
Thanks for any help, and I look forward to getting your response.

Hi John,
I looks like you have dispatched a Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, a member of the Big-Legged Bug Family Coreidae. Since they feed on pine seeds, it could have come in on your Christmas tree. They also seek shelter inside of homes to hibernate. They are harmless other than damaging pine seeds.

Good morning!
Hi there. This fellow was extricated from underwater brush in a lake nearby which is mostly frozen over though thawed in places. At first I believed he was a "Walking Stick." However, the legs seemed wrong. Scanning internet images led me to now believe he may be a Water Scorpion. (And to think I kept repositioning him, which he seemed to tolerate cheerfully enough!) I’d really like your confirmation, please! Thanks for your tremendous site!
Michelle Mahood
Shingletown, California

Hi Michelle,
We always enjoy getting interesting images from you. Yours is the first photograph we have gotten of a Water Scorpion, though we have gotten several letters. Your specimen looks like a Western Water Scorpion, Ranatra brevicollis. They get to be about 1 inch long with an additional inch of breathing tubes. They are found in shallow ponds amid debris. They will bite painfully if provoked.

new pics
you identified this beetle for me last year and posted pics i’d sent you (beetles 2004). thought i’d send these close ups of the same beetle.

Thanks Alan,
Have you kept this beautiful male Stag Beetle as a pet for the past six months, or are the photos from last year?

did NOT keep the stag beetle…
…as a pet! i wanted him to live life as it should be – free. i took about a dozen pics, though. i thought you’d like a glamour shot of, “volks – the stag beetle.”

some comments about camel crickets
My hubby and I visited a WV cave last year. The tour guide told us to beware the "cave cricket", that it had been known to bite people and cause serious infection due to the fact that it feeds on carion, refuse, etc. It so happens, that a few month later, this huge camel (cave) cricket was in our kitchen. Having believed the tour guide, I tried to crush it with one of hubby’s large boots. The next morning, it was no longer under the boot, nor anywhere else to be seen. Thank God, it got away and apparently, wasn’t injured. I never saw this huge cricket again, however, there have been two smaller ones that come up often to the kitchen. Unfortunately, the smaller of those two was apparently bitten by a spider. I found it wrapped up tightly and hanging in a spider lair beneath the cupboard, just yesterday. (Dang spiders, but I guess they have to have food too.) The other one, however, (both are males), and I know which one it is because it was suddenly missing it’s left rear hopping leg, yes, the big hopping leg … anyway, this one still comes to the kitchen every 2 or 3 days, late at night. I always look for it and I offer it multigrain bread, which it really chows down on, big time! Assuming they have some hearing ability, I speak softly to it when offering the bread. It seems to have lost any fear, since it doesn’t jump away now like it did at first, apparently becoming accustomed to receiving food. I find these critters to be quite interesting and have done what research I can online about them. Meanwhile, I found a neat photo of one that look like the ones we have here, except it’s definitely a female and I have permission to use the photo to create a logo for the graphics business I’m trying to get started. (Lotta nice people on the net willing to share, and for certain, I will give the photographer credit for his great picture, which I haves included below. His name is Bob Patterson.) Isn’t she lovely? I think so! Not to belabor an issue, but somewhere I ran across a site where they were discussing whether or not camel crickets were satanic! Can you believe it? If I can find that site again, I intend to post a comment there about how goofy they all are, (the people, not the crickets). I’ve also seen sites that say the crickets eat carpet and clothing … sheesh! My crickets never come on to the carpet … they stay on the kitchen vinyl and look for crumbs. Perhaps all crickets are not alike … but I always hate the thoughts of misinformation on the net for everyone to read. Why on earth would a cricket chow down on synthetic fibers??? Makes no sense. Anyway, you have a wonderful site and I truly appreciate it! Please keep up the great work!
Warmest Regards,

Thank you for your great letter Bunny.