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.
Sometimes names can be misleading. Velvet ants are not ants—they are actually wasps, and even though females can inflict an extremely painful sting, they don’t actually kill cows (as far as we know). The individual in the photo is a female.
She might be fuzzy and cute, but don't ever pick up a velvet ant!
Female velvet ants have a powerful sting!
One summer evening in 2011, my wife caught a small insect scurrying around the kitchen floor. I took a quick look and immediately transformed into a cockroach-hunting/cleaning maniac.
Luridiblatta trivittata: tri = "3", vitta = "band or stripe"
Three-lined roaches are flat enough to slip under doors
An egg case (ootheca) from a three-lined roach
What bloodsucking creature begins life with 6 legs, grows 2 more legs after feeding on blood, has no eyes, but can sense you walking down the trail?
Western black-legged ticks
Tick nymphs are tiny!
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!