The Bug Blog
The purpose of the Bug Blog is to provide information about and a forum for discussing the insects and other arthropods commonly encountered in Marin and Sonoma counties. Insect identification is a free service offered by the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District. If you have an insect or arthropod that you would like identified, you may mail it to District headquarters (attn: Eric Engh) or drop it off (in an enclosed container) at our front desk during regular office hours. Specimens will be identified as time permits.
In the fall, a resident brought us a massive hornworm he had found on a tomato plant in his garden (see photo). Hornworms are the larval (caterpillar) stage of a moth with a wingspan of up to five inches.
Our hungry green giant, the tobacco hornworm
The hornworm was not as healthy as we thought!
California oakworm caterpillars (larvae)
Oakworm frass (droppings)
Carpet beetles are an important part of nature's "clean up crew", but can damage certain items such as natural fabrics, carpets, and even preserved animal specimens (like that wild boar head mounted above your fireplace).
Carpet beetle larvae have specialized defensive hairs
The seed bug Metapoplax ditimoides (family: Oxycarenidae) is relatively new to our area. Originally from the Mediterranean, it was first detected on the west coast in Oregon in 1998, and in Sonoma County in 2002.
Metapoplax ditimoides, an unwelcome indoor guest