Currently viewing the category: "Plants"

Subject:  Strange bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Panorama city/van nuys, california
Date: 05/13/2019
Time: 11:48 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! Hoping you can help me?…Im finding TONS of these, strange, “furry”(?) white bugs, in the weeds of my, overgrown, lawn – and, especially, on a, large,thistle plant…and, i cannot seem to find ANYthing like them, online (maybe, im not describing them, correctly?)! At first, i thought they were spiders – but, now, im not sure? They have many, silky/delicate-looking, legs or spines – look, almost, like the top of a dandylion. They move slowly…dont jump or fly…almost, seem to “roll” over the leaves?…and, like to perch in, small, clusters
Is theres ANY way you could get back to me, ASAP?…as, TOMORROW afternoon, the gardener is going to be mowing the yard, and, probabky, cutting down the thistle plant (im trying to ID THAT, too – to see if its native, and, if i should keep it or not?), and…im feeling, real, guilty…because, these bugs seem to like the thistle, so much – and, i may, inadvertantly, be committing a ” bug-genocide”! Hopefully, therell, probably, still, be SOME of them left – and, if so…i, also, need to know IF they bite or are venemous, etc…and, whether i need to keep my dogs away?
Thank you, SO, much!
P.S. i have another photo which shows the body, but, it said i couldnt attach it because i had exceeded the maximum weight (i could send it, seperately, if you need it?)
How you want your letter signed:  Madelaine


Dear Madelaine,
We do not see any insects in your image, but based on your description, we believe you are mistaking airborne seeds like those of a dandelion for insects.  The seeds might be from salsify or some other plant that uses the wind to disperse seeds.  Foodstuff has an image of salsify seeds.  They are most likely thistle seeds.

Subject:  Weird looking nest
Geographic location of the bug:  Pennsylvania
Date: 07/23/2018
Time: 09:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My step daughter found this at her house. She said the tenant is black and white and sluggish looking. But it hides inside when she tries to get a pic.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious

Pine Flowers we believe

Dear Curious,
This looks to us like the dried tip of a pine branch containing pine flowers.  See Friends of the Wild Flower Garden for some images of fresh pine flowers.

Subject:  Strange bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Louisiana
Date: 04/19/2018
Time: 09:27 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Ordered crawfish and this was inside with them
How you want your letter signed:  Just wondering


This is not an insect.  This is a seed pod commonly called a Cocklebur.

Subject:  moss mimic
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa rica
Date: 02/06/2018
Time: 06:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just curious if what this is.
If you want more details of where this was found please let me know.  I have lots more pictures of bugs.  I hope this works out.
Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  B Wright

Is there a Moss Mimic here?

Dear B Wright,
We feel like we are playing game of “Find Waldo” here because we can’t really see anything in your image that looks like anything but moss.  Perhaps it is the shallow depth of field that is obscuring any moss mimic you observed.  We even magnified the image, cropping to the very center, and we still see nothing that we are able to identify.  We have images of Moss Mimic Katydids from Costa Rica, a Moss Mimic Mantid from Costa Rica and a Moss Mimic Walkingstick from Costa Rica, but in most instances, they were photographed while not camouflaged on moss.  Perhaps you can resend the image, cropping to just where you saw the creature, and we can try again.

Find the Moss Mimic

Update:  Thanks to a new digital file from B Wright and a digitally enhanced image of the original courtesy of Insetologia editor Cesar Crash, we are ready to classify the Moss Mimic as a Katydid.

Maybe this will help.
Can you see it now?

Brian Wright  M.Ed, NBCT, ASM Master Teacher

Moss Mimic Katydid

Hi Brian,
Thanks for sending in a much sharper image.  This is clearly a Katydid, and her ovipositor is also visible, meaning it is a female.  Wing buds are also visible in your new image, meaning is it likely an immature individual or possibly a flightless species, more likely the former.  Cesar Crash of Insetologia digitally enhanced your original image and believes it is a Katydid in the tribe Pleminiini, but his enhancement missed the ovipositor.

Digitally Enhanced Original Image (courtesy of Cesar Crash)

Subject:  Bugs around the house
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Washington (Maple valley) (winter time)
Date: 02/01/2018
Time: 10:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear bugman,
Thank you for taking the time to hopefully look at these prospective bugs! I am currently a caretaker caring for an elderly woman who has started to see many bugs around her house. She believes that they are smaller bugs of sorts and will start to change shapes after a while? I cannot visually see the bugs, they look rather more like fir needles from outside, but her vet suggested that we just submit the pictures to you for a more educational approach to the “bugs”. She doesn’t want to get an exterminator, but is thinking that every little black spec is a bug! So just so information back would be quite appreciated!!!
From my client:
” The bugs started coming into the house around the beginning of November. A lot of them are all black and different sixes and shapes. They move around looking like movements and jumps, trying to get away they are very quick. The stick part looks just like fir needles, but then they look like they have caught some sort of disease on them and they grow bigger and go away. They grow every where and can range in sizes of a tiny tiny dots and will grow larger or the sticks. I would truly love your opinion on them all so i know what i am combating for they are very hard to catch. Also they stick to each other with some sort of glue thing that moves along with the bugs that attracts the other bugs to them to stick to each other. They have decreased in the actual bug amount lately but are still coming in. I would love your opinion thank you very much.”
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you so so so much! Caris Ash and her patient!


Dear Caris Ash and her patient,
We see nothing in your images of debris that looks like insects or insect parts.  We see what appears to be twigs and other plant debris, as well as human and/or pet hair, but no bugs.


Subject:  Several Mistery Stashes of what looks like brown seeds
Geographic location of the bug:  Windham, New York
Date: 12/15/2017
Time: 10:07 PM EDT
Thank you for taking the time to read/look into our issue.
My wife and I recently acquired a vacation home on the Catskills in Windham, New York. We have discovered in a few locations very small stashes of what looks to me like seeds of some kind, but I am no longer sure what we are finding.
It is always inside a bed, or folded towels, or folded blankets or laundry.
We do know there are mice in this area, but from what I understand, they wouldn’t be just seeds but no droppings. We have setup mouse traps and will continue to setup more, but again we only find seeds and no droppings. Not around the house or along the walls or any if that.
There is snow on the ground outside, so my gut tells me it may be a squirrel or chipmunk, but haven’t heard any noises nor have we found any acorns.
I am submitting a couple pictures to try to help solve the mistery.
How you want your letter signed:  George & Elena


Dear George & Elena,
Our best bet on this is that a rodent is stashing seeds inside your home as a winter meal.  You wouldn’t necessarily find droppings near the food stash.  We will be postdating your submission to go live to our site while our editorial staff is away for the holidays.