Currently viewing the tag: "bug of the month"

Subject:  Wheel Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Cut N Shoot Texas
Date: 09/30/2021
Time: 03:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This wheel bug mating was found on my back porch. Did not know what they were until I found your site. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you

Mating Wheel Bugs

We must thank you for cheering us up with your kind letter, and also because though we do not believe your image documents typical Wheel Bug mating, we are nonetheless thrilled to post it.  Probably the greatest reason your letter cheered us is that we just made a Wheel Bug posting Bug of the Month for October, but there is no reason we cannot add a second Bug of the Month posting for October, but with a more positive outcome for the Wheel Bugs.

Thank you, that was a strange bug!! And its not typical? I don’t know much about bugs, lol. However i did see one more picture of that bug with two of them on its back and it was called something like a mating frenzy haha.

Subject:  Evil Black Hellbug
Geographic location of the bug:  Baltimore Maryland
Date: 09/30/2021
Time: 08:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This hateful thing crawled into my steering wheel causing me to crash my car. In the interest of traumatizing myself again please tell me what it is so I can avoid it. Very long with a circular body part that had spiky pieces. Had to have have a mechanic take the wheel off just to get it out.
How you want your letter signed:  Terrified

The most awesome image of a Wheel Bug

Dear Terrified,
Franklin D. Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  This Wheel Bug is a predatory Assassin Bug and it might bite if provoked, and the bite would likely be painful if it occurred, but it is our opinion that Wheel Bugs are relatively docile as Assassin Bugs go and they are far less likely to bite than other blood-sucking members of the family and also some less threatening relatives that are much more likely to bite, like members of the genus
Zelus.  We have chosen to feature your submission as the Bug of the Month for October because of your awesome subject line and your dramatic letter, and because Halloween is this month and also because we got to mention blood-sucking.  However, we find your image a tad morose and though we will include the poor dead Wheel Bug in a Plastic Bag on Friday image, we suspect it was alive when you encountered it and we consider that Unnecessary Carnage.  We are taking the opportunity to post once again, originally posted in 2007, our favorite image of a live Wheel Bug which many folks write to us calling a Dinosaur Bug or Stegosaurus Bug.

Wheel Bug in a Bag

The mechanics kept it alive and only temporarily put it in the bag as proof they got it out.
Thank you for informing me of its stinging bite, I stayed up all night researching it and closed mouth crying.

Hello again Terrified.
Thanks for letting us know.  We will remove the Unnecessary Carnage tag.  You have some pretty thorough mechanics for them to have gathered the evidence of the extenuating circumstances that led to your unfortunate accident.

Subject:  2 wasps nesting on motorbike fork
Geographic location of the bug:  Taipei City, Taiwan
Date: 08/29/2021
Time: 12:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This afternoon I found these 2 guys nesting off the lower end of the fork of my motorbike that I had had covered and not ridden for a couple of months. Over the past 3 days I rode the bike several times, including once after I had discovered them. They seemed unfazed by the 50 kmph speeds, winds, vibration, etc., never letting go of the nest or taking flight, although they moved about on the nest.
My questions:
1. What type of wasp/hornet is it?
2. Can I just cut the rope-like thing that it hangs off and then run? Would they attack me/give chase? How long would they stay around the nest, and irritated?
I wouldn’t like to endanger their lives nor my own.
How you want your letter signed:  Tauno

Paper Wasps nesting on motorbike

Dear Tauno,
We love, love, love your letter and we are making your nesting Paper Wasps the Bug of the Month for September 2021. We have even posted a submission in 2014 of Paper Wasps in Taiwan.  Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes are found in many parts of the world.  They are social wasps and according to the North American site BugGuide:  “Mature colonies have up to 30 adults.”  If you cut the nest, with only two Paper Wasps, one the queen, protecting the next, we doubt you will be stung, but we can assure you the Paper Wasps will abandon the nest.  The queen may attempt to build a new nest.  We can’t believe you rode the motorbike at 50kmph and they stayed with you and the nest.

Paper Wasps nesting on Motorbike

UPDATE:  September 2, 2021
Dear Bugman,
I am deeply grateful for your answer and, on behalf of the biker wasps, overwhelmed by the honor of being featured on your website.
An update:Your prediction was absolutely correct: the wasps abandoned the nest. I parked my bike, this time in a more open area and without covering it; on the first night at least one of these guys was still there, dozing off, but by the evening of the next day they were nowhere to be seen. For all the lack of privacy, I’d probably have moved, too.
I waited until the next afternoon and then mustered up the courage to pluck off the (really a beginning of a) nest with bare fingers, kind of expecting to see an empty shell (wouldn’t you finish building your home first and only then move your family in?), but to my surprise a little beady face was staring at me from almost each of the compartments (see the pic), some apparently trying to wiggle me to bring them high tea. Thinking the actual family might come back for them I took the whole bundle to the park across the alley and left it under a bush.
From your email it seems that this will probably not happen- so that was a bittersweet goodbye- but I can now say I’ve met a real queen.
Hope they’ll find a place for a more peaceful home soon.
Thank you!

Paper Wasp Nest

Thank you for the wonderful update Tauno.  Regarding moving the family in before the home is finished:  The queen constructed the beginning of the nest and she produced her first generation of workers, and by your account, there were only a few.  For that first generation, the queen also had to do all the hunting.  Once she had several workers, she began producing her second generation of workers and there were more helpers so it can be a bigger brood.

Subject:  Gray Tree Frog
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 07/28/2021
Time: 07:23 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel is currently out of the office for a month.  He is spending time in Ohio in his family home, working in the garden and doing repairs and maintenance.  Daniel has often stated that when asked many years ago (1998) to write a column in American Homebody that he decided to write What’s That Bug? because everyone wants to know the answer to that question.  Furthermore, children, especially young boys loved bugs, and Daniel was no exception.  If this is old-fashioned gender bias, Daniel apologizes, but in the sixties, most girls were not interested in bugs while boys were fascinated with all things that crawled.  We would go to the pond to catch tadpoles in the spring, and tramping through fields and woods in search of critters was a year round activity, with winter being the best time to search for the cocoons of giant silk moths.  At any rate, a small wading pool pond has been in the backyard for years and today it is more of an overgrown swamp than a clear pond, but the wildlife loves it.  What a childhood dream it would have been to have frogs breeding in that pond and to have tadpoles there instead of goldfish.

Gray Tree Frog 7:23 AM

So early in the morning Daniel spotted something on a peony leaf and he was stunned to see this little beauty, presumably a Gray Tree Frog, Hyla versicolor, which we located on the Ohio Amphibians website where it states:  “Snout-vent length 3 to 5 cm (1 1/4 to inches).  Skin is warty to granular.  Gray ground color is typical of both species but they may change to green.  Back is marked with an irregular lichen-like pattern and the undersides are white.  A white patch occurs under the eyes.  Inside of each thigh has a bright yellow flash mark visible when the legs are outstretched.  Toe discs are large and distinctive.”  Daniel did write to Jeff Davis to verify this species identification because though the Gray Tree Frog is reported in much of Ohio, there are no reports from Mahoning County.

Gray Tree Frog 7:55 AM

According to Ohio Biota:  “The Gray Treefrog is arguably the most charismatic frog of Lake County.  Superficially, they resemble a toad with less bumpy skin and large toe pads.  These frogs can change their dorsal coloration and may be gray, gray-brown, gray-green, or bright green.  A darker lichen-like pattern, lightly outlined in black, decorates the back.  Depending on the individual frog the back pattern can be pronounced or nearly absent.  The belly is white and the inside of the thighs are bright yellow.”  A half hour later, Daniel got the best image of the little critter, still sitting on a peony leaf, but looking a gorgeous blue-green color.

Gray Tree Frog hiding from hot sun 1:12 PM

As the day got hotter and the sun got stronger, the Tree Frog sought shelter in the shade.

Gray Tree Frog 7:48 PM

As dusk approached, it settled in for the night.  Daniel heard the frogs calling nearby in the early evening, but not a sound from the part of the garden where the Tree Frog was found.  Only males sing.  Perhaps this is a female.  Daniel knows that readers have been sending in identification requests, and this self indulgent posting took a great deal of time, but Daniel is fully aware that Amphibians are an indication of a healthy ecosystem, and Daniel’s Ohio yard is wildlife habitat in a field of manicured lawns that have few trees and that use pesticides to kill Japanese Beetle Grubs and herbicides to control dandelions, making those manicured lawns toxic wastes for wildlife.
If nothing else seeing this Tree Frog filled Daniel with a sense that he is doing the right thing in the way he will care for his family homestead, and it is fully supporting that the key to solving global warming (other than addressing overpopulation which is out of control) is for each person to try to make the world a better place.  So, in light of this historic sighting in his Ohio back yard, Daniel is declaring the Tree Frog the Bug of the Month for August 2021.


Subject:  Moth question
Geographic location of the bug:  Orondo Wa
Date: 06/29/2021
Time: 01:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Can help identify this creature
How you want your letter signed:  Gilbert

Western Poplar Sphinx

Dear Gilbert,
We believe this impressive Moth is a Western Poplar Sphinx,
Pachysphinx occidentalis, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of cottonwoods, especially Populus freemonti and Populus sargentii, also willow (Salix spp.). Adults do not feed.”  According to Sphingidae of the United States of America:  “This is a large moth, forewings are between 51-71mm in length (2). The large scalloped forewings are light yellow-gray and brown with a white reniform spot. In the similar Pachysphinx modesta, the forewings tend to be a grayer color, and overall darker.”  Butterflies and Moths of North America lists a Spokane, Washington sighting.  Because of the timing of your submission as well as the impressiveness of the Western Poplar Sphinx, we have selected it as the Bug of the Month for July 2021.

Thanks for the quick response. It was a beautiful specimen and I enjoyed watching it for like 20 minutes or so that it was with us. Can you tell if it was male or female how does that even matter.
Thanks again

Hi again Gilbert,
Here is an image of mating Western Poplar Sphinxes.  The female is generally larger with a thicker body.  We believe your individual is a female but we would defer to an expert in the Sphingidae moths.

Subject:  Goldsmith Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Zimmerman, MN North America USA
Date: 06/01/2021
Time: 01:00 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, this is the second time I’ve encountered what I believe to be a goldsmith Beetle. Coolest bug ever. The first time was in the backyard a couple of years ago. The second time, was tonight, waiting for me at the front door. I brought it in to show my mother, she was not a fan. I put it back outside to carry on.
How you want your letter signed:  S. Botzet

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear S. Botzet,
Thanks so much for sending in your awesome images of a Goldsmith Beetle, the beetle allegedly the fictional Gold Bug of Edgar Allen Poe fame.  Your timing is perfect for us to select your letter as the Bug of the Month for June 2021.  The Goldsmith Beetle is described on BugGuide as “A large yellow/green scarab with no elytral markings. Elytra has irregular rows of punctures.”

Goldsmith Beetle