Frequently asked Questions about Insects

A ar for the curious to help them monitor down and get information around insects they might encounter below in California and elsewhere. If any kind of of these links don"t work, allow me know and also I"ll look into it. 

Note that all images are residential or commercial property of the owners of the internet pages ~ above which lock appear, uneven otherwise noted, and cannot be reproduced without permission.

You are watching: Child of the earth spider bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Info

Africanized Honey punishment in California Info



Also recognized as "Potato Bug" (not come be confused with pillbugs, additionally sometimes referred to as this), "Child of the Earth", "Niño de la Tierra" or "Woh-tzi-Neh" (Old Bald-headed Man), these large, flightless crickets room a consistent source of fear and also amazement to Californians, and also one that THE most usual sources the insect-related concerns on the internet. Castle are, contrary to popular misconception, harmless and also not venomous, though they are huge enough and strong enough to inflict a pains bite, or jab v their leg spines, if tackled carelessly. So much as is known, they feeding on vegetable material, and are mainly nocturnal, hiding during the day. Most varieties seem to grow only in locations of sandy soil, and also a variety of species are incredibly rare, restricted to a single small dune system, and also thereby perhaps on the brink of extinction; accordingly, the is suggested that you carry out not kill them if you conference them.

Links:General notes, and also Stenopelmatus fuscus photo


These fast-moving predators (Scutigera coleoptrata) are, in fact, the indoor equivalents of the Praying Mantis - that is, they eat every sorts of family pests, and are therefore really beneficial to have around, and they should not be killed. As soon as you take into consideration that every centipede have to kill several roaches, houseflies, carpet beetles, and also other together pests, you have the right to realize the for every centipede one squishes, there are that many much more pests that space left unmolested come torment the homeowner. So, if there"s anything come ponder when one to meet a house centipede, the just real concern should it is in "What is that eating?"

Links:Notes top top centipedes


Solpugids, likewise known together Solifugids, "Sun Scorpions", "Camel Spiders", "Sun Spiders", "Wind Scorpions", and also other similar names, are a type of nocturnal arachnid (not insects at all) somewhat concerned scorpions, but representing a distinct evolutionary lineage. They are especially usual in desert regions of the world, consisting of Southern California, wherein various varieties in genera such together Eremobates and also Ammotrecha consistently surprise and also bewilder human being encountering them for the an initial time. V their vast jaws (chelicerae), they are fearsome in figure , yet have no venom, and also if lock bite people (requiring provocation) nothing will take place (despite some fairly wild metropolitan legends called by Desert Storm veterans). They space voracious predators of small arthropods, however, utilizing the pressure of their jaws to death their prey fairly than venom. Some stories the them clipping hairs off the faces of sleeping human beings do it seems to be ~ to have actually credible sources, yet the only speculation as to why they might do this is if females use the hairs together lining for the burrow wherein they lay their eggs (a big IF). Because they are harmless to humans and many of the arthropods lock consume room pests, Solpugids deserve to be thought about beneficial, and should it is in left unmolested.






These insects, Boisea trivittata (and the western B. Rubrolineata) are amongst the most notorious "nuisance" pests, in that they are completely harmless, but occur in such large numbers that they will cover the sides of people"s houses and get indoors by the hundreds. This kind of mass insect visitation regularly leads to panic and fear. Unfortunately, most homeowners room not reassured once told this bugs are harmless, and also still go ahead and spray, which probably does an ext harm than good. If this is a recurring problem, then the most basic solution - and also the just long-term equipment - is to remove the boxelder tree (or trees) on which the bugs are feeding. The trouble is that regularly there are plenty of trees, not every one of which space on the afflicted homeowner"s property, and also that these bugs will additionally sometimes feed on various other maple types (yes, "boxelder" is a maple); in various other words, removed the trees works only if every the feasible host trees roughly are removed, and also that"s often impossible come coordinate when several pieces of property are involved.

Links:Boisea trivittata shade photo, information

The "Asian Ladybug" (or, more precisely, asian Lady Beetle), Harmonia axyridis is virtually as bad a nuisance pest as the Boxelder Bug, in the they also swamp people"s homes in the fall, especially October, acquiring indoors by the hundreds. Many homeowners at least have the right to recognize ALBs together ladybugs, even though your coloration is change and they know not to be fear of castle (ironic, because these, like many ladybugs, WILL sometimes bite people), however the concern around hundreds that insects in one"s house is tho real. This insect was presented to the US purposely by the USDA (ostensibly to aid increase the level of organic aphid control, specifically of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid - indigenous ladybugs have actually their own natural enemies, you see, however the ALB, being exotic, has no natural opponents here), yet apparently became established coincidentally in the beforehand "90s, though this is tho unclear. It worked much better than anyone had actually expected, and also the ALB populations currently reach epidemic proportions. The feds apparently had no idea that the ALB was likewise fond of warmth places to invest the winter in hibernation, therefore imagine everyone"s surprise when millions of complaints started putting in from people who found these beetles invading their homes in the fall, starting in about 1993.To do the long story short, we"re every going to have to acquire used come this, due to the fact that there"s no protecting against them now. The ALB is here to stay, for our lifetimes, in ~ least. Ecologically speaking, there is no factor not to kill them if they room in her home, due to the fact that even if you could kill 50,000 that them, it wouldn"t do a dent in their numbers; there room literally BILLIONS of castle that will pass the winter across the US any given year. Moreover, they"re an exotic species, and also they"re supposedly driving our native ladybugs come extinction. Yes, really. If you desire to toss them outside for the winter, then go best ahead - yet there space no repellents to keep them away, so until the weather turns also cold for them to store flying, you"ll most likely have much more sneaking into your house. Note that ALBs, like all ladybugs, secrete a yellow, odorous protective fluid, therefore if you squish them, you"ll gain yellow stains on whatever you squish lock with. Some people have taken to simply vacuuming them up and also tossing them.

Links:color photocolor photoinformationinformation

These large bees have a propensity to scare the bejeezus the end of people since of their huge size and also the territorial actions of the males (which perform not sting), such as swooping under towards civilization from up near their eaves. In the northeastern US, and most the the country, the only varieties is Xylocopa virginica (not "virginiana"), when in California, the 3 common varieties are X. Varipuncta, X. Tabaniformis, and X. Californica. The first species looks favor a bumblebee, with yellow thorax and also black abdomen (but the abdomen is SHINY, unlike all bumblebees), and also males have actually yellow faces; the 2nd has all-black females with bluish wing (that have greenish-gold reflections), however the males space golden-brown; the third has smaller sized black females, and the males are grayish with light faces; the critical resembles the an initial somewhat, despite the females have actually darker hair on the thorax and also the abdomen has actually definite blue or blue-green metallic tints to it. Usually speaking, the damage they perform is only cosmetic, and it is very rare for them to do enough damage to lumber to reason structural problems. It is also uncommon for them to destruction their tunnels into any type of wood that has a special layer of paint or varnish top top it, so this can be provided as a fairly effective preventative measure.




Dasymutilla gloriosa mimics creosote bush seeds

People are always asking around these wasps, especially the species known together "The Cow-Killer", Dasymutilla occidentalis. This honest suit lays its eggs in the nests of the "Cicada-Killer" wasp, Sphecius speciosus (see below), wherein its larva will eventually eat the cicada-killer larva. If you"ve got one of these wasps around, odds are great you"ll see the various other one nearby. There room over 450 other varieties in phibìc America, nearly every one of them laying their eggs in the nests of ground-nesting bees and also wasps, particularly in the Southwestern deserts. Most species are red and black, orange and black, or white and black ; because that most types this is warning coloration (called "aposematism"), connected with the reality that females (which are always wingless) load a an extremely potent and painful sting. Some world consider it the many painful gift (see here), however this is always subjective. The males all have wings, and also do no sting, as is true of almost all masculine wasps.


Links:General note on miscellaneous wasps and bees, photosDasymutilla sp. Shade photo, courtesy of plunder Curtis/The beforehand Birder

This team of wasps consists of some the the largest stinging insects in the world, and reportedly several of the many painful come be i stabbed it by, mostly due to the size of the sting itself and also the volume of venom injected. Normally, use of this sting is reserved for their prey, which the venom paralyzes, however if mishandled through a person, castle will use it in self-defense. They deserve to be discovered essentially everywhere tarantulas and also trap-door spiders occur, through the best abundance in the desert Southwest. Most SW species are black v metallic bluish highlights and orange wings, but species with black wings occur. There room two genera, Pepsis and also Hemipepsis, which are very difficult to separate (subtle features of soup venation), but practically identical in biology. These wasps commonly visit flowers, particularly milkweeds, for nectar, as this is essentially all the adult wasps feed on. The males are generally an ext often encountered than females, and also can be well-known by their longer, straighter antennae, when females have short and rather strong curled antennae.



Found throughout lot of north America, the honest suit Sphecius speciosus hunts cicadas (usually in the genus Tibicen), and also stings castle to paralysis them, burying castle alive together food for the honest suit larvae. Females may have multiple secret chambers, one larva in each, in a solitary nest. Male cicada killers room strongly territorial, and also will patrol virtually incessantly in a small area close to a nest aggregation, paris at anything passing by. Lock will also fly in ~ humans, yet are harmless unless they are grabbed. Masculine cicada killers are among the very few cases whereby a male wasp can inflict a ache sting, making use of a sharp, venomless spine (called a pseudosting) in ~ the tip of its abdomen. In the southwestern us there room two different types in the same genus, S. Convallis and S. Grandis, who appearance and also biology is very similar, though they reportedly prey top top different types of cicadas, such as Diceroprocta.




An introduced types now uncovered over much of north America, the europe Hornet, Vespa crabro, is the largest social honest suit in phibìc America, and an extremely distinctively fancy (see here, courtesy of rob Curtis/The beforehand Birder). They are fairly aggressive, and also if the swarms are disturbed you deserve to expect to be stung, but fortunately the colonies have many fewer employees (less than 500) than colonies of yellowjackets (often in the thousands), for this reason one does no generally obtain stung as countless times. Nests are generally built in somewhat concealed locations, in tree hollows or structural cavities, and also are as such not as simple to blunder right into accidentally as YJ nests, but harder to remove when found. They are predators on miscellaneous sorts that insects, and one of the couple of wasps that have the right to be found flying at night.

Links:Vespa crabro color photos, other info


EUROPEAN record WASP - family members VESPIDAE

Another introduced types now uncovered throughout east North America, and also spreading farther west all the time, the European record Wasp, Polistes dominulus, is an ext strongly patterned black and yellow than any type of of the file wasp types native to phibìc America, (see here, courtesy of plunder Curtis/The beforehand Birder), and also is generally mistaken for a yellowjacket species, yet easily recognizable through its much much more slender body and also longer legs, as well as its nest structure. Uneven hornets and yellowjackets, document wasps have exposed, single nest combs in which every one of the brood room raised. Colonies are commonly developed under eaves, and the wasps seldom re-use the exact same nest in between years. Choose most record wasps lock are just marginally aggressive, and also one has to get rather close come a colony in order come provoke one attack. There space very few wasps every colony, in most areas of the country, hardly ever exceeding 50 adults at any given time. They room predators on various sorts of insects (as are yellowjackets and also hornets), countless of castle garden or tree pests.

Links:fact sheet



The Redgum Lerp Psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei, is a recently-established and also serious pest of several types of Eucalyptus planted in California. There is still much that requirements to be done prior to there space established control policies, however a number of the links below offer recommendations. I"ll note that the sugary lerps (see here) developed by these insects space edible, if a little complicated to harvest.


Megarhyssa room a form of helminth Ichneumonid honest suit which lay eggs in the larvae of horntail wasps (Family Siricidae; the larvae room wood-boring) inside tree trunks. These are the biggest of the Ichneumons, with some species having bodies roughly 2 customs long, and also an ovipositor as lot as 4 customs long. Surprisingly (to numerous people), they cannot sting, however that substantial flexible ovipositor can be drilled deep right into trees, come deposit the egg in the human body of the organize larva. They"re not too typically seen, but few people forget see one.Links:Wikipedia



As discussed above, the larvae that horntail wasps live inside tree trunks. The adult wasps space large, striking, and impressive , however they cannot sting with their ovipositor. One point the females perform inject with the egg is some symbiotic fungus, necessary for the survival of the larvae, due to the fact that they apparently do not digest the wood themselves.

Links:information, photos, secrets to California species


There are numerous wasps in different families and genera i beg your pardon are referred to as "mud daubers": the 3 genera room Trypoxylon (Crabronidae), Sceliphron (Sphecidae), and also Chalybion (Sphecidae). The these, only the very first is even slightly aggressive, and also generally have to be ordered in stimulate to be provoked right into stinging. All three species provision their swarms with paralyzed spiders together food for the honest suit larvae. However, only Trypoxylon and Sceliphron actually construct their very own nests; the former make long parallel dirt tubes the same, similar thing "organ pipes", and the latter make thick, elongated egg-like chambers. Chalybion californicum supplies old swarms of Sceliphron instead of constructing its own nests, and also one the the typical spider prey items because that this honest suit is the black Widow spider (Latrodectes mactans).

Links:General note on miscellaneous wasps and bees, photos



Sphinx moths in the genus Hemaris are generally called hummingbird moths because they resemble hummingbirds in flight, despite in truth they space bumblebee mimics (a predator who has tried to eat a bumblebee and been stung is unlikely to attempt to eat among these moths, also though castle are fully harmless). Evidence for true mimicry is the the moths differ in color pattern geographically to precisely complement the local bumblebee species. They hover at flowers while acquisition nectar, however, when bumblebees have to land come feed. These moths might act together pollinators, and also at the very least one indigenous orchid, Platanthera lacera, depends on them for pollination. Hemaris diffinis is more than likely the most typical of the 3 North American varieties in this genus, called the Bumblebee Sphinx Moth or Snowberry Clearwing (because the caterpillar, a hornworm, sometimes feeds top top snowberry, despite it also feeds on honeysuckle). Hemaris thysbe is recognized as the Hummingbird Sphinx Moth or typical Clearwing, and its larvae feed on hawthorn, honeysuckle, and other plants. Hemaris gracilis larvae feed only on blueberries, and this varieties is the rarest of the three; that is on some State lists of threatened species.

Links:Hemaris diffinis, color photo

The Tomato Hornworm is the larva of one of two big sphinx moths, Manduca sexta (the "Tobacco Hornworm"), or Manduca quinquemaculata (the "Tomato Hornworm"). Both species will feeding on tomato, despite M. Sexta has tendency to be the an ext commonly encountered of the two types (despite the being referred to as the "Tobacco Hornworm"). The larvae prosper to be quite large, and also feed on a variety of plants in the tomato family (including tobacco, potato), and most gardeners increasing tomatoes conference them eventually. It is common to watch numerous little silk cocoons (NOT the eggs, which are laid internally) of helminth Cotesia Braconid wasps top top the bodies of hornworms, a sign of the imminent fatality of the caterpillar. Biological control at its best.



The Saddleback Caterpillar is the slug-like larva that the moth Acharia (=Sibine) stimulea, a typical North American representative of a big family that tropical moths. The larvae have stinging hairs which deserve to raise severe welts. Keep in mind that this is just one of a really small number of larvae in north America which space venomous (another is noted below), and also none the these room life-threatening (except for very rare cases of hyper-allergic responses, which can happen with practically ANY chemical, herbal or man-made).

See more: China'S Df 21D Anti Ship Ballistic Missile, Can China&Rsquos Df

Links:Acharia stimulea larva, drawingvarious awful caterpillars


The Io Moth, Automeris io, is the most typical North American representative of a big genus of primarily neotropical moths. The larvae have stinging hairs, and also feed top top a selection of plants, so room somewhat frequently encountered, and also often on less-than-friendly terms.

Links:Automeris io larva, drawingvarious awful caterpillarsTranslation the this page in Belorussian