From the monthly archives: "March 2017"

Subject: Insect information
Location: Baja California
March 30, 2017 9:44 pm
Found this in sanfelipe Baja mexico, after I woke up with a bite on my are that swelled quickly. Wondering if it could be the cause.
Signature: Josh gordon


Dear Josh,
If this is the culprit, you were stung and not bitten.  This looks like a Short-Tailed Ichneumon, possibly in the genus
Ophion.  Most Ichneumons are harmless, but members of the genus Ophion are capable of stinging.  According to BugGuide:  “Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself.”

Update:  September 27, 2019
Based on a comment we just received that needs considerable research, we are no longer categorizing this an an Ichneumon.

Subject: household bug, a few living in my computer… nothing to worry about?
Location: Oakland, California
March 30, 2017 5:37 pm
Hello, bugman! Thank you from the bottom of my heart … and floorboards? … for all that you’re doing to ID bugs. These little mites might be harmless, as I haven’t seen a single bite yet, but there are many dozens of them every month crawling along the wooden floorboards of my apartment in Oakland, California. A few appear on my computer from time to time. What do you think? Harmless?
Signature: David


Dear David,
Though they are quite small, this is not a Mite.  It is a Booklouse, an innocuous creature that could become a nuisance if they get plentiful.  According to the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology:  “The presence of booklice can be quite an annoyance; however, they rarely cause significant damage to items. Most often, the damp conditions and developing mold or fungi have already caused the damage.” 

Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Shelby County, Al
March 30, 2017 8:08 pm
These bugs were crawling all over over the back deck this morning.
Signature: Julie K


Dear Julie,
We are sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but you have Termites.

Subject: Big found!!!
Location: Norwich
March 30, 2017 3:42 pm
Please help found three of these in my house in the last week and have a very young baby so worried invade they carry bugs or bite
Signature: Maria

Soldier Beetle

This beetle is not a threat to your baby.

Thankyou, what type of beetle is it??

Dear Maria,
Your initial request to us did not include an identification request.  It seemed mostly a desperate “stream of consciousness” plea, without punctuation, for assurance that your child would not be threatened.  This appears to be a Soldier Beetle in the family Cantharidae, and we found what appears to be your species on UK Safari where it is identified as
Rhagonycha fulva and described as “one of several similar looking beetles which go under the general name of Soldier Beetles or Sailor Beetles.  Soldier beetles have narrow bodies and long antennae. This particular species has brown wing casings with black tips.  They are often seen in large numbers in June and July on flower heads of cow parsley and hogweed. It’s quite rare to see them singly. More often they are seen as mating pairs, earning them the nickname of ‘bonking beetles‘.”  According to The WCG:  “Widely distributed and common throughout England and Wales although more local in the north and southern Scotland.”  Soldier Beetles are beneficial predators that feed on small insects.  From what we have read, this seems to be quite early for this particular species.  Has your weather been unseasonably warm?

Subject: Large hairy caterpillar
Location: Mindanao Philippines
March 27, 2017 5:42 pm
Hi! We found this caterpillar in our yard today. No one here has ever seen one before. I’m guessing it is a garden tiger caterpillar but wanted to know what you think. Thanks!
Signature: Candy Dalton

Possibly Noctuoid Caterpillar

Dear Candy,
Thanks so much for including your hand as scale.  That is one large hairy caterpillar.  We believe it is a member of the superfamily Noctuoidea, probably in the family Erebidae which includes Tiger Moths, or the Owlet family Noctuidae.  We have not had any luck finding any matching images online.  Perhaps one of our readers will like to take up this challenge.

Possibly Noctuoid Caterpillar

Subject: Identify this bug.
Location: Alabama
March 28, 2017 4:33 pm
This may be just a moth but I’ve never seen one that looks like this.
Signature: Tammy Parker

Giant Leopard Moth

Dear Tammy,
This is a moth, but not just any moth.  It is a Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth,
Hypercompe scribonia, a species that according to BugGuide :  “is white with black spots. Many of the spots are hollow rings. Hindwing with black shading along inner margin, and black terminal spots near apex. The abdomen is beautifully marked with blue and orange (below), but the color is not visible when at rest.”  It is wonderful that your image reveals the beautifully markings on the abdomen.