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.  

European Paper Wasp

Where found: 
On aerial nest (6 feet high) inside chicken coop enclosure
14mm (body length)
Scientific name: 
Polistes dominula

These paper wasps are relatively new to California. They typically construct uncovered, aerial nests (with populations reportedly reaching up to 200 workers), but unlike our native paper wasps, they will also readily nest within cavities.

She might look like a yellowjacket, but she's not

Horse Fly

Where found: 
Inside vehicle while driving
13mm (body length)
Scientific name: 
Tabanus spp.

Horse flies are large bloodfeeding insects from the family Tabanidae. Unlike mosquitoes, these flies inflict an immediately painful bite.


Horse flies are famous for their painful bites...

Gaze into the horse fly's eyes...(or don't)