Subject:  Caterpillars id
Geographic location of the bug:  Midwest usa
Date: 10/02/2021
Time: 05:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve never seen a caterpillar this big in my life. Is it a danger to my clothing, garden, cats or dogs that may get hold of it? What kind is it?
How you want your letter signed:  stephanie

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Dear Stephanie,
The midwest is a big place.  More location specificity is always desirable.  This is an Imperial Moth Caterpillar and it will not harm your clothing or your cats or dogs.  Imperial Moth caterpillars are not too particular about the leaves they feed upon and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of Bald Cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, Honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, Sassafras (
Sassafras albidum), Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), sycamore, walnut.”  They do not feed enough to cause a tree damage unless it is a very young tree.

Subject:  Gopher digging in my herb garden
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 09/02/2021
Time: 02:19 PM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I don’t need an identification and this Gopher is not really a Bug but I see you have a rodent section, so I thought I would send it and tell you how I deal with the gopher.  At first I was upset that the gopher was tunneling in my garden, but I realized it was aerating the soil and providing me with nice piles of dirt on the surface that I could use elsewhere in the garden.  I am always moving dirt around, and so is the gopher.  I made peace with the little critter despite the fact that it ate the roots off two of my marijuana plants.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Pocket Gopher

Dear Constant Gardener,
Thanks for sending in your adorable image of a Pocket Gopher.  We applaud your stoicism toward this fascinating creature.  Most folks would try to rid the garden of a native creature.

Hi again Bugman,
While I am not thrilled to have lost two plants, I believe they were in the gopher’s way and not targeted food.  Next year I might try building cages from chicken wire to keep the gophers away from the roots.

Subject:  Bugs on crape myrtle
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia
Date: 10/01/2021
Time: 06:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found these bugs swarming all over our crape myrtles. What are they and how do I get rid of them?
How you want your letter signed:  Deb Hammond


Dear Deb,
These are Barklice which are commonly called Tree Cattle and they are benign.  They feed on lichens and they will not harm your crape myrtle.  We do not provide extermination advice.

AKA Tree Cattle

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Maine
Date: 10/01/2021
Time: 08:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Early October evening
How you want your letter signed:  Bobcat


Dear Bobcat,
The Toe-Biter is a predatory aquatic True Bug that can also fly.  It is not a Beetle.

Subject:  Weird Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Woodland WA
Date: 10/01/2021
Time: 10:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve lived in WA all of my life and never seen one of these before.  What the heck is this??
How you want your letter signed:  Steve

Shieldbacked Katydid

Dear Steve,
This is some species of Shieldbacked Katydid, but we are uncertain which.  What appears to be a stinger is actually an ovipositor, an organ used by the female in laying eggs.

Subject:  Is this a kissing bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Northfield, Minnesota
Date: 10/01/2021
Time: 04:00 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This particular one has been infesting and appearing all across my campus – I wanted to confirm any possibility that it is a kissing bug or some invasive species.
How you want your letter signed:  To: Alexander

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Dear Alexander,
This is not a Kissing Bug or Blood-Sucking Conenose Bug, the insect that spreads Chagas Disease.  This is an Eastern Boxelder Bug which you can verify by comparing your image to this BugGuide image.  Kissing Bugs and Boxelder Bugs share some physical features which is why they are classified together in the insect order Hymenoptera.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs do not suck blood and they are not dangerous, but they are sometimes considered a nuisance when they form large aggregations on homes and in yards.