From the monthly archives: "April 2005"

Identify please!
Dearest Bugman:
Today is the one of the first "above-normal" temperature-wise we have here in Nashville, TN and we’ve probably had over an inch of rain in the past few days. I was working in my garden/patio area when a zillion of these, each in single file, took off as if they were flying for the first time. They appear to be flying ants?! I am not sure exactly where they are coming from, possibly there is a nest between the cracks of my brick home. I was happy to see them flying away, but they didn’t really take off until I reacted to the site of them by stamping on them as they were hovering on their launch pad, my back doorstep! What are they and what should I do? Ick! Thanks for your oh-so-helpful knowledge and time with everyone’s bug issues.
Extremely bugged in Nashville!

Dear Bugged,
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have swarming termites.

Please help!
Yesterday, my four year old entomologist found this outstanding bug at a wildlife rescue place. It is near farmlands (strawberries, squashes, etc). I have had one person help identify it as a snout beetle or weevil, but could you help be more specific so we can learn more about it? Thank you! Joanna

Hi Joanna,
Needless to say, we are very intrigued by your insect, a Weevil or Snout Beetle from the largest insect Family Curculionidae. We are not familiar with your species and one expert we questioned even suggested the possibility your images were Photoshop™ enhanced, a theory we quickly dismissed. We did some web research and found a tribe of Weevils known as Leptopiinae, the Painted Weevils, including the genuses Gymnopholus and Eupholus which are described as “very handsome and metallic blue, green or reddish”. They are found in New Guinea and Indonesia. That is the best we can do at the moment, but we would love to know where your Weevil was found and perhaps we can learn something more concrete.

We are more than excited as well–I was about to nix him and glue him to a card to start Max’s bug collection, but I think we’ll wait! We are in Miami, Florida, USA. This is so exciting–I wasn’t too impressed with Max’s finds up until now (they mostly consisted of cockroaches-EW!), but this has definitely peaked my interest! We wrote to one guy and sent the same pictures–he wrote back and offered to trade a bug book in exchange for our weevil. We’ve decided to hold onto him for a bit. We would like to keep him alive, though, but if we can’t, do you have suggestions for preserving him? We “carded” a practice beetle with a little elmer’s glue and his body color and shape seems to be good. Is this sufficient? I am quite anxious to hear more! Feel free to call: 305-251-9091. Thank you!

Ed. Note: Eric Eaton passes on the following advice on dealing with Exotic specimes:
Dear Friends:
Daniel Marlos of “What’s that bug?” was kind enough to pass along your e-mail that accompanied the photo.I am personally unfamiliar with this insect, and wonder if it might not be an exotic species. If that is the case, someone in the U.S.D.A. (Department of Agriculture) needs to see the thing. Urestricted “free trade” is leading to many more accidental importations of pest insects. The authorities need our help in documenting newly-arrived species so as to thwart outbreaks. Please consider contacting an official soon, while the insect is still alive. Thank you.
Eric R. Eaton

Spoke to a guy at the USDA this morning and we’re going to drop him off this afternoon. He *thinks* he has collected this species before, but either way, it’s so newly established here that they need to document its existence here, so they’ll send our guy off the Gainesville for positive identification and then HOPEFULLY, Max will get him back. Cross your fingers and I’ll let you know what they think he is! Thank you for all of your help!
P.S. Just so you know….the guy still couldn’t identify it, but he recalls having caught one of these himself a number of years ago. He’s sending it to Gainesville, Florida for cataloguing, but promises that we’ll get it back. (Let’s hope!)

Please keep us posted as to the latest developments in this continuing melodrama Joanna. Sadly, What’s That Bug? is currently down due to heavy traffic, but we will return to the web in May and we want to continue to follow your saga.

Thank you so much for all of your help! Another entomologist I have contacted thinks it may be Eurhinus magnificus, but it has been sent to Gainesville to make sure and to catalogue him. I am assured that he will be returned to me in about a week to become the crown jewel in my son’s bug collection. We will however, be on the outlook for more and any subsequent ones I’d be happy to send to you! Thanks to Eric Eaton as well for putting us in touch with the proper authorities (i.e. USDA)–please pass along my appreciation (and the identification).

Hi Joanna,
This surely is interesting. I checked on Eurhinus magnificus and it is from Costa Rica, but no images. It sounds like you might be on your way to becoming an entomologist as well as Max.

Update: 17 June 2009, 7:27 AM
In trying to identify an unusual Weevil from Costa Rica today, we stumbled upon this great link with the life cycle of Eurhinus magnificus.

What’s this bug?
We sprayed our basement last night and this morning found this, probably dead…I haven’t checked…laying on my daughter’s play mats so I’d like to know what it is, and if it’s dangerous. Thanks! I have more pictures if needed. The bug is approximately 2 1/2 inches long, not including legs.
“Mushroom Fluff!”

Hi Cathie,
The poor dead House Centipede is harmless to you and your daughter, though when they rapidly dart across the room, usually at night, they often startle people who tend to fear them. They are common enough in homes where they eagerly dispatch other unwanted household intruders by devouring them. They feast on roaches, flies, spiders and many other small invertebrates.

Texas bug
Me and my wife caught this bug at night in the Dallas area of texas, there were several out at night making a loud continous noise. We have no idea what type of bug it is looks sort of like a grasshopper and kinda like a katydid.
Chris & Danielle

Hi Chris and Danielle,
We decided to get the opinion of Eric Eaton before responding to you. Here is what he has to say: “Looks like a coneheaded katydid, if the antennae are long and filamentous. Good thing she is holding it that way, they can bite REALLY hard! I speak from experience:-) If the antennae are shorter, and sword-shaped, then it is a slant-faced grasshopper of some kind. That is the best I can do, not being able to manipulate the image in any way.”

What’s that nest?
We have spotted two nests in the yard of a home we’re looking to purchase in southern Illinois that we’d like to have identified. The picture shows one of these nests from above. The nests are pillar-like, and knobby, not just piles of dirt. At the core of the pillar is a hole that’s approximately 1 inch in diameter, the opening of a tunnel that runs into the yard, evidenced by a curvy path of dead grass. The tunnel is not soft like that of a mole. Any ideas? Thanks!
Dayton, OH

Hi Kevin,
Your hole sure looks like a Crayfish burrow to us. These lobster-like crustaceans will bury themselves in the mud when their ponds dry up.

(04/08/2005) Crayfish Burrow
I would like to open by saying that I look at your website a lot and find it very fascinating. Thanks for a great service. I have never mailed before but I had to respond to a picture that you put up today. I am born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and would like to offer some info on the picture titled ” Crayfish Burrow (04/07/2005) What’s that nest?” You are correct that is a crayfish hole or down here better known as a Crawfish. We have them anywhere near fresh water and they are great to eat!
Thanks again.