From the yearly archives: "2015"

Subject: Black and Red Ant-like bug
Location: Eastern Shore Va., Assawoman
August 21, 2015 7:59 am
Eastern Shore of Va….this bug was in my yard….followed it across the small backyard where it disappeared into a grassy clump…no flying, it just crawled…I’m curious about it as the colors seem to shout “don’t touch me”….and I have pets in that area….any help would be appreciated…
Signature: Kathy M.

Cow Killer

Cow Killer

Dear Kathy,
The aposomatic or warning coloration on this Cow Killer, a species of Velvet Ant is doing its job.  The Cow Killer is reported to have a very painful sting, prompting us to include it in our Big 5 tag of insects that can cause pain or harm.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps.

Subject: flying beetle?
Location: Newfoundland Canada,
August 21, 2015 8:21 am
Can anyone identify this flying beetle? They hit the patio in a swarm over the weekend. Not sure if they were loosing their wings after a while or not. You can see wings and orange markings clearly in some of the pictures.
Newfoundland Canada,
Signature: Danny

Red LIned Carrion Beetle

Red LIned Carrion Beetle

Dear Danny,
Though the antennae are quite different, your beetle resembles a Burying Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus enough for us to begin searching with that as a lead.  We found images of the Red Lined Carrion Beetle,
Necrodes surinamensis, on BugGuide and we are satisfied that is your beetle.  The BugGuide description is:  “Distinctive, large eyes, dark body with prominent raised elytral ridges, variable red-orange, sometimes yellow, markings on elytra, though these sometimes absent. Sometimes has red tinge to body. Males have distinctive leg morphology: expanded hind femora with a large tooth on each, and expanded foretarsi.  Also, abdomen of male appears to jut out from under abdomen much more than female.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Adults consume fly larvae (maggots), and perhaps some carrion” and “Rather nocturnal and is found at lights, unlike related genera. Adults locate carrion and mate on or near carcass. They feed on fly larvae there. Eggs are laid on soil near carcass. Larvae feed on fly larvae and carrion, pupate in soil. Adults overwinter in under litter(?) or in other protected areas. See Ratcliffe (1) for details. This species is supposed to be attracted especially, to dead birds.”  The shininess of your images indicates they were most likely shot with an on camera flash, leading us to suspect this was a nocturnal swarm.  We suspect this was a recent mass emergence nearby that was attracted to your lights.  In light of the fact that Red Lined Carrion Beetles feed on fly maggots, we would urge you to consider this recent swarm a brief annoyance of a beneficial species.

Red Lined Carrion Beetle

Red Lined Carrion Beetle

Subject: Black Moth?
Location: Bay Area, California
August 20, 2015 10:57 am
Just found this moth like creature in my garden this morning (8/19/15) in Fremont, California, zip code 94536. What is it?
Signature: Elizabeth Cerutti

Female Western Horse Fly

Female Western Horse Fly

Wow Elizabeth,
This is one gorgeous image of a female Western Horse Fly,
Tabanus punctifer, who can be easily distinguished from her sexually dimorphic mate by the spacing between her eyes and the color and pattern of the white hair on her thorax.  According to BugGuide:
“From Middlekauff & Lane:
Female: A large, dark-colored horse fly. Easily recognized by the following characteristics: mesonotum covered with creamy hair over a dark reddish background: remainder of thorax dark brown, with concolorous hair: wings brown, paler posteriorly, the cross-veins and furcation distinctly margined with brown; legs black, except basal third of fore tibiae, which are creamy white with long white hair; abdomen black.
Male: Color as in female except that the white of the mesothorax is confined to a lateral band and the outer margin of the scutellum.”
The pastel colors of the succulent plant act as a perfect background for this striking fly.  Female Horse Flies are blood suckers that feed on warm blooded animals, and many species are not at all opposed to sucking human blood.

Wow, thanks for such a quick, complete and descriptive answer!  I had no idea it was in the fly family, and a dreaded horse fly at that. When I was growing up on Long Island, NY, we used to try and dodge horse flies in the swimming pool in the summer.  They were so smart, they used to hover right above and wait for us to surface for air.  Hell of a welt.  This one today in the garden was easily an inch long.
Thank you, again.
Best regards,
Elizabeth

When we were putting together our response for you, we searched our archives for an image of a male Western Horse Fly to no avail.  Should you happen to see one, please take an image and send it to us.  Here is a BugGuide image of a male Western Horse Fly.

Subject: No clue what this is.
Location: Ontario Canada
August 20, 2015 2:52 pm
We’ve found this guy in our back yard in Ontario Canada and we have no idea what it is.
Signature: Brendon

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Brendon,
This is an Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar, a species that feeds on grape, Virginia creeper and other vines.

Subject: What are these bright-red bugs that are swarming a single lemon balm (herb) leaf in my garden in Birmingham, Alabama?
Location: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
August 20, 2015 12:47 pm
I was watering my garden in Birmingham, Alabama today (Aug. 20, 2015) and saw these small bright-red bug covering just one single leaf of our lemon balm (it’s an herb) plant. Does anyone know what they are? I have no clue, as I have never encountered them before.
Thank you!
Signature: Connor

Hatchling True Bugs

Hatchling True Bugs

Dear Connor,
These are hatchling True Bugs or Heteropterans, and hatchlings can be difficult to identify, but we suspect they are Leaf Footed Bug hatchlings in the family Coreidae.  See this BugGuide image for comparison.

Thank you so much! Great to know that they’re not a danger to humans, though our poor tomato garden showing makes more sense in light of this. Really appreciate the help.
Thanks,
Connor

Subject: Love Bug look alike
Location: New Orleans, LA
August 20, 2015 8:03 am
I see these in my backyard a lot I know they aren’t love bugs because they’re antenna is long and thick and there wings are more opaque than translucent, I can’t find info on them anywhere
Signature: Amanda

Mating Grapefeaf Skeletonizers

Mating Grapefeaf Skeletonizers

Dear Amanda,
These mating Grapeleaf Skeletonizers are actually moths.