From the monthly archives: "November 2018"

Subject:  Enormous May Beetle in Winter?
Geographic location of the bug:  Arnold, CA (Sierra Nevadas)
Date: 11/28/2018
Time: 09:52 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there,
Two of these huge beetles were banging on my glass door before dawn today at my house in the sierra forest. They were attracted to the lights inside and my porch light,
They were hitting the glass so loudly I thought someone was knocking. And of course as soon as I opened the door to take a look, they invited themselves in. They look like May beetles but were huge, at least an inch and a half long, with fine hair all over. They were pretty noisy, slow fliers, banging into everything. I did some poking around the internet and the closest bug I could find was the European common cockchafer.
They seem like an odd bug to see in winter in the mountains (4,000ft)-temperatures here have been dipping to the 30s at night for some time. We’ve also had drenching rain over the past week. The color was much more rust/red than in the picture.
What are these giant mystery bugs? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Sarah J

Hi again!
I now believe these are rain beetles.I happened to see the word “rain” on your beetle list, clicked, and there they are. Just letting you know since it seems folks seem to be looking for these. We’re getting a lot of rain here!
Thanks for this great web resource!

Rain Beetle

Dear Sarah,
We agree with your assessment that this is a Rain Beetle.  Only male Rain Beetles have wings, and they often fly during pouring rains.  There are many creatures that appear after a rain, but Rain Beetles are rather unique in that they are often only found during a rain.  Male Rain Beetles are able to locate underground females that are flightless.  Perhaps Gene St. Denis, who sends us images of Rain Beetles he collects, will have some idea of the species based on your location as populations of Rain Beetles are often quite isolated.

Subject:  Huge Bug Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 11/27/2018
Time: 01:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug was found in the garage. It is about 2 inches long.
How you want your letter signed:  Amy

Potato Bug

Dear Amy,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, one of our most common Southern California submissions.  They are often sighted after a rain.

Subject:  Oak Gall
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 11/25/2018
Time: 4:30 PM EDT
While we are waiting to clear up our technical difficulties receiving images, Daniel is spending some extra time in the yard.  He noticed this Oak Gall several days ago.  It is growing on a California Live Oak tree Daniel started from an acorn in 2000 that is now over 20 feet high and it has begun producing acorns.  We have always been intrigued that Alfred Kinsey began his career as an entomologist who studied Cynipid Gall Wasps, and that he collected well over a million specimens, and that he transferred that obsession to the data collecting methods that eventually produced the Kinsey studies on human sexuality.

Oak Gall


Subject:  Western Subterranean Termite Alates
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 11/22/2018
Time: 12:30 PM EDT
For the past week, What’s That Bug? has been experiencing technical difficulties receiving images after a recent software update.  While we have been unable to post any new submissions from our readers, Daniel took some images of recent insect activity near the WTB? offices.  Los Angeles got some badly needed rain last Wednesday night, and then on Thanksgiving Day, Daniel noticed several interesting semi-circles of Termite Wings after he noticed the dreaded Argentine Ants out in large numbers.  Though this is only speculation, Daniel believes that when the winged Termite alates emerged from the wooden fence, they were attacked by the ants before they had a chance to take wing.  The beautiful day did reveal a goodly number of flying Termites getting eaten by black phoebes and other insect feeding birds.

Argentine Ants and Termite Alates with discarded Termite wings

Termite Wings


Subject:  Black striped beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  North San Diego County, CA
Date: 11/05/2018
Time: 03:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy was sitting on a stucco wall, then moved to the pavement. Any idea what he/she is?  He/she was about an inch long.
How you want your letter signed:  Sarah L

Diaprepes Root Weevil

Dear Sarah,
Thanks for resending your images.  We are currently undergoing some technical difficulties.  This is a Diaprepes Root Weevil and according to BugGuide:  “Native to the Caribbean, adventive and established in so. US: so. & central FL (1964), so. TX (Cameron & Hidalgo Cos 2000, Corpus Christi 2005, Houston 2009;), so. CA (2005), LA (2008); further north in greenhouses.”  BugGuide also notes:  “highly polyphagous; larvae feed on roots, adults on foliage of citrus trees (esp. oranges in TX) and almost 300 other plant species” and “Major pest of citrus crops.”

Thanks so much, Daniel! I’d never seen anything looking like that before here in Southern California. (And I’m a native!) I guess I’ll kill any others I find since I do have citrus trees.

Subject:  what’s this bug?!
Geographic location of the bug:  Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
Date: 11/09/2018
Time: 10:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this bug in the heliconia on our farm above Turrialba. It was early in the morning in June. The children would love to learn what it is and why it has hooks on its feet.
How you want your letter signed:  Holden


Dear Holden,
This is a beetle known as a Weevil.  Based on Nature Closeups, it seems to be
Cholus costaricensis, and searching that name led us to iNaturalist.