Make your own free website on Tripod.com

My Wild Backyard and Vivariums

Garden Insects
Home
My Critters
Feeder Insects
Terrarium, Vivarium
Critter Caresheets
Building Large Terrariums
Making a Keep Box
Making Outdoor Critter Houses
Backyard Pond Attraction
Taxonomy
Amphibians
Reptiles
Wild Birds
Garden Insects
Butterflies and Moths
My Garden Plants
Wild Yard Plants
My Backyard Gallery
A Library of Links

A variety of insects I could find in my yard that are beneficial to and some that aren't, as well as the odd, the pretty and the hard workers. Just to name a few ...

Instead of hauling fallen branches out of the yard for the city to pick up, cut it up a bit and pile it in the back yard. It takes a couple years, but eventually it will decompose and house a mulch of desirable critters.

Subphylum: Crustacea - Bugs that Aren't Bugs

Isopod Woodlouse

isopod.jpg

Also known as doodlebug, rolly polly, pillbug, sowbug and/or potato bug. It's not actually a bug but a very small crustacean isopod in the subphylum - Crustacea, class - Malacostraca, order - Isopoda. Mostly found under leaf litter, boards, decaying tree bark and composts. They are a helpful bug in the matter of decomposition and sometimes even kept as a feeder for small reptile and frog pets or as a pet themselves.
Creek Crayfish

crayfish.jpg

Also commonly called crawdad's, crawfish and mudbug. They're in the same subphylum and class as woodlouse and considered freshwater crustaceans. Infraorder - Astacidea, sharing two superfamilies of their own among two for lobsters. This picture was as close as I could find to the crawdad's around here. It is at least in the genus of Procambarus, Fallicambarus or Orconectes. They're relatively small, much smaller than the classic cajun red swamp "Mudbugs" that folks eat as a staple - Palinurus Shellfish. They also have relatively soft shells, mostly very thin. They're mostly found in the creeks and lakes around here but in very good rains where it mildly floods for a couple of days they will emerge from yard ditches and lawn grass. Most crayfish are able to lay eggs that can remain dormant waiting for a good rain to hatch as a mini-version of the adult. Also females can carry the sperm of a male a long time before germinating her eggs. It's commonly thought mud stacks around here are made by these crayfish, but while they might make good use of one, they're really made by emerging cicada.

Particularly Helpful Bugs

Assassin Bug

assassin.jpg

The nymph looks much like the adult but wingless. I have allot of assassin bugs and they're basically harmless and passive but you still wouldn't want one to bite you. They are a good bug and eat pests like aphids.

Earth Worm

earthworm.jpg

Kind of an obvious given, worms burrow holes into the soil, giving it oxygen and making it softer. They eat tiny organisms as they go. They go deeper into the ground for winter and droughts but come much closer to the surface for the rains from spring to fall.

Microorganisms

micromunchy.jpg

Like many insects and worms, microorganisms help decompose or break down dead plants and animals, returning nutrients to the earth so that other plants may grow. They are the micro-munchies who make soil rich and soft and work at the bottom of the food chain up for plants and other critters to thrive. The best way to promote your own micro-munchies in your yard or garden is to just compost the biodegradable materials from the kitchen. From coffee grounds and egg shells to bits off the fruits and vegetables, unwaxed newspaper to paper towels and the rolls they came on.

Lacewing

lacewing.jpg

The larvae (aphid lions) of the lacewing eat all kinds of eggs and larvae of yet other bugs like aphids, spider mites, leaf hoppers, thrips and mealybugs. The adults themselves feed on nectar, pollen and honeydew.

Lady Bug

ladybug.jpg

Diets almost entirely on aphids though you could treat ones being kept for pets with an occasional bit of raisin. There are hundreds of varieties of ladybugs with different numbers of spots and range red, white to yellow. They spit or secret their own blood as a defense which looks yellowish and smells bad.

Parasite Wasps

trichograma.gif

Most wasps are beneficial as natural predators of more harmful insects and their larvae. In particular are parasite wasps, such as Trichogramma (picture shown), Hover flies and Ichneumon just to name a few. Humans are able to tolerate most of these as a more passive neighbor. Most parasite wasps are fairly small anyway and easy to mistake for a fly or even ant at just a glance. Many fly parasites in particular are no bigger than a fruit fly. Among their list of larvae they lay their eggs on they also take care of grubs and caterpillars. While their larvae eat their host, the adults are usually nectar feeders.

Praying Mantis

mantis.jpg

I'd love to have praying mantises in my yard, unfortunately I think the assassin bugs have all the room to let taken. Mantises are common around here though and range from green to brown.

Spined Soldier Bug
Podisus Maculiventris

spinedsoldierbug.jpg

This stink bug feeds on the larvae of Coleoptera (order of beetles) and Lepidoptera (order of butterflies and moths) and is commonly beneficial to crops like alfalfa, celery, soybeans and cotton.

Class: Arachnida - Bugs that Aren't Bugs
Different Spiders

Brown Recluse
Family: Sicariidae

brownrecluse.jpg

Our most problematic spider around here is the brown recluse though many times this spider just has a bad reputation. There are few reports of being bitten and most walk away with just a red mark, depending on how much venom was injected. A severe venom reaction can swell, ulcer, blacken and become infected with a reluctance to heal. It's a nasty looking wound. They've never killed anyone yet but it can become infected with gangrene and the venom literally liquefies human issue, making the bite most dangerous around a vulnerable area such as head, joint or close enough to a vital organ. They make a sporadic sort of web for a home and roam out at night to hunt. They prefer rocks, logs, woodpiles and debris but will come into a house or garage to find an ideal spot too. The best way to tell a brown recluse since there is a variety of them is the violin shape on their back with the neck of the violin pointing towards their abdomen. As well, most spiders have eight eyes that typically are arranged in two rows of four but recluse spiders have six equal-sized eyes arranged in three pairs, called dyads. It looks kind of like a pair of black eyes with a black nose. Some have large abdomens but the cephalothorax or head section is flat.

Crab Spider
Family: Thomisidae

crabspider.jpg

Crab spiders use the art of camouflage to wait for prey to come to them, sometimes waiting in the same spot for days and weeks to catch prey with their stronger front legs. Their colors range in where they like to hunt best from leaves to flowers and they tend to move side ways like a crab.

Daddy Long Legs
Cellar Spider
Family: Pholcidae

cellarspider.jpg

The picture is of a typical cellar spider, Pholcus Phalangioides. It has very long legs and a sort of banana spider look (very distant cousin, they're in the same suborder but different families). They make a web and generally eat other spiders. When they feel threatened they shake or vibrate the web thus giving them their other name of vibrating spider. They also share the common name of daddy long legs with Opilionids and Crane fly's.

Funnel and Trapdoor Spiders
Order: Araneae

funnelweb.jpg

Funnel and trapdoor spiders come in a wide variety in the order of Araneae, within their own subfamilies and families. Some of the larger ones are a nasty looking bit of work if you ever see them out. Kind of like the trap spider, funnels wait for prey to come to them and snatch it back into the lair within but they aren't against roaming out to bring something back. Some of the nicer looking ones are similar in looks to a wolf spider. The picture shown is possibly a Agelenolopsis genus.

Crevice Weaver Spiders
Family: Filistatidae

southernhouspider.gif

This 'Southern House Spider' Kukulcania hibernalis is in the suborder Araneomorphae, superfamily - Filistatoidea. Crevis weaver spiders are a version of funnel weavers classified by their difference in the way they spray their webs and genetalia. Rather, their rather primitive cribellate and haplogyne. If you see a bit of web around a hole perhaps along the side of a house with some legs sticking out, this is the most likely spider at the other end.

Ground Spiders
Wolf Spider
Family: Lycosidae

wolfspider.jpg

The family Lycosidae are ground spiders who don't make a web but forage for their prey and chase it down. Among ground spiders are wolf spiders and fisher spiders. This Lycosa, Rabid Wolf spider is a rather common type.
Jumping Spiders
Family: Salticidae

jumper1.jpg

I like jumping spiders, they're very characteristic, intelligent and I think they're cute. Very small, most could fit on a dime and have very excellent vision. They look like they have just the two big front eyes with short front legs close to the front of it with box, crab like heads to very alien looks. They make jerky movements when they walk and leap very well from one place to another using a silk string tether. Like ground spiders they wander to stalk prey but they do keep a little retreat and lay their egg sacs there.

Orb Weavers
Banana Spider
Family: Nephilidae

banana.jpg

This is the mature female of an Argiope, golden orb weaver banana spider. The males are three times smaller. You don't want to mistake our North American banana spider with the Central American Phoneutria, which looks like a tarantula and is very deadly. Our banana spider, or golden orb weaver is basically passive with not much of a bite, and that only by frightening them in handling. I wouldn't want to handle one anyway though, I think they're too prickly. It is the largest, non-tarantula spider in North America and makes a huge web of very hearty, strong silk. Taking their web down is enough to dissuade them from setting up in an undesirable area.

Orb Weavers
SuperFamily: Araneidae

housespider.jpg

Orb weavers are a superfamily in taxonomy with a host of families. They come in a wide variety of spiders that specifically weave the classic two dimensional spiral web, to this house spider who usually makes a cobweb labyrinth mess in a corner, under a sink or around the garage. With this type of house spider it's easy to see their egg sac, known as an opus, within the mess of cobweb. Finding a dust coated one like in the corner of a room like the usual classic movie of a creepy old house, means the residents have already left.

Other Arachnida

Daddy Long Legs - Opilionids

leiobunumrotundum.jpg

Also known as Long Legged Harvestmen, this is what I'd call a Daddy Long Legs around these parts. The most common around here are Leiobunum. They are in the Arachnida family with spiders and scorpions but aren't actually spiders at all because they have two eyes, and one body section where the abdomen segments. All spiders have eight eyes and two body sections without abdomen segments. Opilionids are characteristic for walking on their long legs in a bobbing motion with a small body that looks almost like a tick. The cannot make webs and eat a variety of insects either caught or scavenging a carcass, bird droppings, plant materials and fungus. Other critters dubbed daddy long legs is the cellar spider and the crane fly.

Texas Scorpions

serradigitus2.jpg

The scorpion is a rather small one ranging from light yellow to an orangish. Usually more out in the country than rural where I am, particularly in the Big Thicket National Park but possible in other forest areas. They wouldn't be that hard to find on a hot summer day in a wood pile. Texas has 16 known types of scorpions. The picture shown is one of 16 species in the genus Serradigitus, which is close enough to what the classic 'stinging lizard' in thicket country looks like. These scorpions are really small and just not that poisonous.

Particularly Pesky Bugs

Aphid

aphid.jpg

Aphids or plant lice are a pear shaped plant eater that isn't much bigger in size range than an ant, sometimes even as small as a flea and vary in colors. They are easier to spot because they tend to cluster together on stems and leaves. They mostly prefer young shoots and leaves, damaging house and garden plants, field crops and some fruit trees.
Grasshopper

grasshopper.jpg

Grasshoppers are related to locusts, which is basically just a huge grasshopper despite the cicada also bearing the common name of locust. The katydid has a similar look but is closer related to crickets. The grasshoppers come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and color variations, using their wings to help them leap from one spot to another through tall grasses, lawns and leaf litter. They eat plants, typically many forms of grasses including grains. In times of drought when food becomes rare, some grasshoppers and locusts will over breed, thus causing swarms that will over take crops and fields. In some countries they themselves are a staple food source.

Green Stink Bug

greenstink.jpg

Some stink bugs are good because they eat other insects and larvae and caterpillars, and some are bad because they'll eat your garden plants and vegetables. This one in particular is a plant eating Nezara Viridula.

Leaf Hopper

leafhopper.jpg

Leafhoppers come in a broad variety from the family of Cicadellidae, thus their similar looks to their bigger cousin the cicada. Most leafhoppers are no bigger than a grain of rice. They feed by sucking juices out of leaves, causing leaves to brown from the edges back.

Bees and Wasps

Note: If you have a wasp or bee hovering around you don't antagonize it by swinging your arms around. They're attracted to your heat, they'll even follow the heat of a cigarette. Basically if you're calm and didn't disturb a nest, they're calm. If they get stuck in your car just open all the doors or roll down the windows. Wasps are relatively hard bodied compared to bees and sting multiple times. They can survive getting swatted, it's best to put a glass over them and scoot a paper under it to get them out of the house or just leave it there until the wasp dies from lack of oxygen.

Carpenter Bee
And
Bumblebee

carpenter.jpg

Carpenter bees (picture shown) are solitary and burrow holes in wood to nest and lay their larvae, which in turn some wasps lay their egg(s) on to parasite the carpenter larvae while they grow. The burrowing can become damaging to buildings and homes. Carpenters are fairly large but a passive insect who don't eat the wood but forage flowers. Only the females have a stinger as a last resort defense. They are often mistaken between Bumblebees which are large social bees sometimes with similar markings to carpenters and honey bees but they are distinctually hairy while carpenters are fairly 'bald'. Bumblebees don't burrow wood but nest underground. The worker bumblebee has a stinger as well and is capable of stinging multiple times like the carpenter female and do not loose their stinger like honey bees.

Cricket and Sephecid Wasps

crickethunter.jpg

These wasps are a small dauber size and tend to be black but there are plenty of variations. They are solitary burrowers, living in a hole in the ground or a borrowed burrow from a carpenter bee. They'll even hover around you to check out your ears and nostrils when ones looking to make a nest to bring a cricket, grasshopper or mole cricket to lay their eggs on.

Dirt Dauber or Mud Dauber

dauber.jpg

We call them dirt daubers but some call them mud daubers. They are a solitary Sphecid wasp that vary in color a little, mostly black and make a variety of clay-like homes from mud and their saliva for their larvae and prey. An unobtrusive to the home variety make a very small pod such as on the screen of a window that looks kind of like a little clay pot. A more typical kind makes long tubes with holes in them that looks something like a Pan's pipe or pan flute made up of individual cells. Dauber's share the same place like this but are not social colonizers. Fairly passive and a predator of other pests and spiders, the only real nuisance from the pan flute type is the unfavorable looks of the nest against a house wall or garage. You can get rid of it, but a large number of these cells also means you have a large number of pests that could potentially become a secondary invasion without the daubers, such as carpenter bees, other types of larvae and caterpillars and larger spiders.
Honey Bee

honeybee.jpg

Honey bees are social and very common with several different species and are a large resource for plant pollination. They are capable of stinging but only once as they leave the stinger behind to continue to pump venom as they die. They bring pollen back to the colony nest and put it in the honeycombs to feed larvae, the queen and themselves. They make a waxy mix of honey and pollen rich in bacteria's and fungi known as bee bread or ambrosia for themselves and larvae. To make a larvae into a queen they feed them exclusively on a secretion called royal jelly. The large storage of honey itself is their food source for winter months when plant pollens becomes scarce because they do not hibernate like some bees.

Hover Fly
Good News Bee

hoverfly.jpg

Around these parts we call this a Good News Bee. I think the folklore is if you have one come hang around you, it meant it was a bearer of good news about to come your way. They love to hang around a soda can while you're outside or on picnic without really bothering people much. Their larvae prey on mealybugs, aphids and other small insects. They get their name from being able to hover or fly backwards which not many insects can do and apart from an occasional sweet soda, the adults are an important resource of cross pollination for flowers.

Ichneumon
Parasite Wasp

ichneumon.jpg

I have very easily mistaken these wasps for a crane fly and ended up getting stung from trying to catch them for being in the house. They sting multiple times which is mildly irritating but rather shocking when you think you've got something else. They mostly kill burrowing larvae and grubs and lay their eggs on them.

Paper Wasp
and
Horntes

paperwasp.jpg

Paper wasps come in a very wide variety of species. They most commonly make paper nests of an egg shape with the comb to the top and center of it and the entrance as a single hole at the bottom of the orb. More commonly seen around homes are hornets who just make the exposed, aerial comb of individual cells. These are sometimes capped over where larvae are growing, eating off of a captive caterpillar. The adults themselves feed on nectar. Paper wasps who make the orb, paper nest are usually found in remote areas of forest but hornets are mainly a nuisance because they can nest too close to the home like right on a front porch. Besides the rather frightening looks they sting multiple times without ever loosing their stinger and most are social colonies who will aggressively come to the aid of another or the nest itself which will become larger and more of them around as numbers grow. For the most part wasps are beneficial, but you don't want these nesting in your yard where it would be fairly easy for them to become aggravated if disturbed. They will not just deliberately fly over and sting people as long as you remain calm and don't get too close to a nest. They are attracted to heat and may come close out of curiosity. If you start swatting though, you might as well start running.

Yellow Jacket

yellowjacket.jpg

Yellow Jackets are social colonizers whose Vespula variety nest in burrows, hollowed trees and stumps, making a globular paper nest and feed their larvae anthropods while Dolichovespula make exposed aerial nests like the hornets. The worst thing about them is that they will sting without any provocation and ground nests tend to become quite large and appear like a swarm coming out.

Bugs in General

Banana Roach
Cuban Roach

bnanaroach.jpg

I don't really see these roaches very often, maybe at night under the porch light. They're a Caribbean introduced species sneaking into produce and are a popular feeder for pet lizards and frogs. They are a small, nocturnal critter not so uncommon to find here in the Gulf Coast to Florida. As well as being great climbers they can fly, with burrowing, nonclimbing nymphs. They'll eat just about anything. I'd try to use them as feeders myself but the flying bit does not appeal to me even though they don't care to get into a home of their own accord and become a household pest.

Cenitpede

centepede.jpg

Centipedes are venomous in general but none bad enough to cause death in humans unless you're allergic and most aren't much worse than a bee sting. Flat bodied and many legged, they're easily found over turning a piece of wood, stone or leaf litter and quickly try to run away. They prey on house pests like cockroaches among other insects and animals. Much larger centipedes will even eat mice. Most live from 3 to 7 years.

Cicada

cicada.jpg

The cicada lay eggs on something like a branch or stem in a cluster. The nymph hatch after a few weeks and fall to the ground and begin to burrow where they will spend the majority of their lives sucking the sap from tiny tree roots with their rostrum. They molt several times, taking from 6 months to as much as 6-7 or 17 years depending on the species, until sexual maturity. The main form of cicada around here make mud chimney stacks we usually call crawdad holes or crawfish chimneys because we think the common, small brown crayfish that come out around here during the rain are living in there. While they might make good use of one, it's actually made by cicada nymphs in final ground molt, weeks before they're getting ready to emerge and become adults. When the nymph surfaces it more or less climbs up somewhere and makes one final molt where the cicada emerge from the shell of its former nymph looks. Our most classic types of cicada are Tibicen, or Dog Day cicadas. Like certain grasshoppers, cicadas are edible and staple in some countries. Adults don't seem to eat anything at all and are perfectly harmless if noisy to an eerie call of the males, large, and rather bizzar looking. They are often given the common name of locust, but the true locust is a grasshopper in the Orthoptera order.

Crickets

housecricket.jpg

House crickets are the brown kind pet stores and suppliers have as feeders and bait. There's also a black field cricket which I'm more likely to find in my backyard. There are other varieties like leaf crickets and mole crickets which look even creepier but I find the other three more often in my yard than others. Tree crickets I usually mistake as just a small grasshopper as well as katydids which are closer related to crickets than grasshoppers. Texas has a mole cricket but I've never found one, mainly because they live underground and roam at night. Crickets eat really just about anything that has to do with vegetation, fruits, vegetables, leaves and debris. They lay eggs which hatch to become a wingless nymph that goes through about eight moltings to maturity. The males sing with their wings while the females have a long stem or tail called an ovipositor to lay the eggs. As a garden critter, house and field crickets don't really have the numbers or appetite to be a damaging pest in my opinion, and mostly prefer living under leaf litter, old boards and rocks. Some crickets are also edible to humans and are a staple in some countries.

Daddy Long Legs
Crane fly

mosquitohawk.jpg

Despite also being dubbed a mosquito hawk, they actually feed on nectar. The true mosquito hawk is the dragonfly. The crane fly larvae are known as leather jackets which feed on the roots of vegetation and grasses as well as some other larvae. The most common variety of crane fly we have around here are bobbing gnats, which bob up and down in place like the walking motion of an Opilionid, where they possibly became dubbed daddy long legs themselves. Another miss-name for them is gallinipper, which is the name I usually call them. True gallinippers are a large mosquito that bite while these crane fly's or bobbing gnats don't bite at all and have long legs to help them hang out in tall grasses.

Damselfly

damselfly.jpg

These are related to dragonflies but are much smaller and thinner. They're usually found more often along lakes, creeks, marshes and other tall grasses. They lay their eggs on the surface of water where small nymphs will develop and be entirely aquatic, eating other small organisms and mosquito larvae or even each other while adults eat other insects such as the adult mosquito.

Dragonfly

libellulidae.jpg

Also known as the mosquito hawk, dragonflies are usually a much more common sight than damselflies in the rural area. They can be seen flying over the tall grasses of an uncut lawn or baseball park, probably catching mosquitoes among other small insects. They lay their eggs on the surface of water just like the damselfly. Their nymphs are much larger, able to catch small minnows and tadpoles to add to their diet.

Hammerhead Worm

hammerheadwrm.jpg

This land planarian or flatworm is rather unusual and very long and slimy like a slug. They eat earth worms, slugs, snails and larvae.

Love Bugs

lovebugs.jpg

Prefer grassy areas and feed on decaying vegetation. The adults don't eat at all but depend on their stores from the larvae stage. As adults they do nothing but mate and stick together almost all the time so it's more common to see love bugs 'attached' to each other, thus the name. They mature in spring and become a great swarm, not really a social bug but there's just so many of them. Their numbers are mainly due to a lack of predators and abundance in vegetation, rains and even pasture manure. They just don't taste good to normal predators but are a very harmless insect. They don't bite or eat live plants but the swarming is considered a nuisance to motorists and the build up of their dead bodies on a car can actually cause paint/metal damage. Love bugs are attracted to roads because of the exhaust emissions, the females are looking for a place to lay eggs and methane and co2 gas are associated to decaying organic matter. It's like getting pelted with a million tiny bird droppings, which can become a visibility hazard at the worst. Putting bug repellents meant for direct car appliance and constant car washing would be best to rescue your paint job.

Millipede

millepede.jpg

They eat decaying vegetation and some species even eat live plants, such as the spotted snake millipede cause damage to potato fields. Very few species are actually carnivores. Unlike the centipede they do not bite and are not poisonous but might roll themselves up in defense while some species spray a bad smelling substance as a deterrent. In some areas millipedes become a pest because they can become too many and literally over run a garden or get in basements. Texas has a variety of species, including a cousin, Scolopendra Heros, which looks more like a large centipede with a black body and red head with yellow legs.

Slug - Leopard Slug

leopardslug.jpg

Slugs and snails are hermaphroditic, in that they are male and female. The slug itself is basically just a snail without a shell. The way they mate is they protrude a stem at each other and when they connect they inject each other sperm. Both snails will then lay eggs under stones and logs. Slugs are a favorite among birds, frogs, garter snakes, moles and some insects such as centipede, ground beetle and crane fly larvae or leather jackets. Slugs eat plants, fungi and decaying plant materials. They secrete a thin, watery mucus over them to keep moist, making a thicker, slimier and sticky version in mating, handling or injury. Some are edible like escargots (land snail) but raw slugs can make you sick from meningitis carrying parasites. The digestive gland in some leave them with a foul taste if not removed before eating. Slugs in general have a natural anaesthetic in their slime, which has been used as a remedy for toothaches by keeping the slug in ones mouth without swallowing as it numbs, particularly in banana slugs. I've never had a slug problem in the garden so much as snails but they can become a problem in favoring particular plants or vegetables. Used coffee grounds will repel slugs and snails and adds nitrogen to the garden. This site has a host of user friendly deterrents Slugs. I wouldn't want to get rid of all of my snails and slugs, but maintenance of numbers is a fair compromise.

Snails

snail2.jpg

Snails do the same job as slugs and have pretty much the same predators. Some species are poisonous and not edible. I have three varieties in my yard that I know of. The most prolific and apparent in my gardens is what at least looks like the wrinkled dune snail - Candidula Intersecta (picture shown). I may find one or two orchard or wood snail and when I'm looking for isopods I sometimes find a very unusual, tiny snail in the leaf litter and soil mix along the driveway cement with an orangy cone shaped shell. I suspect it's a Decollate snail offspring, which is a predator of other snails and slugs as well as eating plant decay, or may be a Rissoidea Pomatiopsidae which I can't find any info on.

Surinam Roach - Pycnoscelus Surinamensis

surinam.jpg

Surinam roaches give birth to live young and live in the ground or in leaf litter, compost, decaying wood and rich soils as a burrower. They eat plants and are generally a garden pest sometimes used as a feeder resource for pet frogs and lizards. I don't see them very often except in digging or turning things over and they don't get into the home to make a mess of things like cockroaches and German roaches.

Walking Stick
Phasmid

walkingstick.jpg

Walking sticks are an interesting bug. Every time I happen to find them they are almost always a pair in breeding mode. Phasmids - leaf, walking and stick bugs, eat leaves and take their variety of colors and shapes to blend in with sticks and leaves for camouflage. They don't bite but some species do spray a noxious substance from the shoulder joints of their front legs if they feel very provoked, similar to pepper spray. Otherwise they are capable of being handled as a passive critter. Some are kept as pets or even feeders.

Beetles

Bess Beetle

bessbeetle.jpg

A very large beetle that feeds off of rotting wood. They are beneficial as critters for decomposition, making a rich mulch out of the sawdust from their own eating mixed with their poop. Their larvae look like a giant June bug grub normally found in the soft, decaying pulp of logs.

Click Beetle

clickbeetle.jpg

There are a few varieties of click beetles, this one is not as commonly seen around my yard as the smaller, solid black one. They try to deter predators by snapping the joint between thorax and abdomen, making a click sound. If on the ground or a tree this would normally flip them away, startling a potential predator such as a bird. They don't do too well about getting over if turned upside down either so they click themselves to turn right side up again. Adults eat pollen, nectar, grasses and flowers while larvae eat roots.

Fire Fly or Lightning Bug

firefly.jpg

Fireflies aren't as common as I'd like them to be in rural areas because they don't like the mosquito spray trucks that spray as they go down the road or the crop dusters that splash the same stuff around in fields. They are nocturnal and attract mates and other insects by flashing bioluminescence. Larvae overwinter or 'hibernate', in some species for several years, burrowing underground or getting underneath the bark of trees. They emerge in spring as adults. Most species of fireflies larvae eat other larvae, snails and slugs. Adults are variable, some feeding on nectars and pollens while others will prey on other insects. To promote fireflies in your own yard I suggest allot of woody, moist mulches with plenty of earth worms and a moderation tolerance of slugs and cutworms.

Hide Beetle
Dermestid

hidebeetle1a.jpg

Hide or leather beetles are called so because they eat on hide, raw/dried skin, hair, bones, tendons, dead bugs and even the old wax of abandoned bee hives. You don't want any of these in your house getting into things like the cat/dog food as the larvae can bore through wood and even thin leads and tins like canned food and aerosols, and eat away at your favorite mounted deer head. Like any bug with a dirty job they can transmit diseases between animals and humans. Particularly the larvae are something to look out for, you don't want to contact with the hairs or spines of the larvae as they can transmit disorders to humans from rash, dermatitis to gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. They can be attracted to a home by a dead rodent in a rat trap, bird nests in the attic or fly in on a wind and hang out in a kitchen for scraps. They're especially pesky in farms and poultry because they mass in the abundance and then winds draw them into homes and businesses in town. Otherwise they are a beneficial insect in the final stages of the decomposition of a carcass. They are the only beetle with the enzymes necessary for breaking down keratin, a protein component of hair. I get these beetles in my bulk orders of crickets and used to just leave them alone but they number without regular cleaning of the crickets by picking them out and putting them in a new container. The beetles get composted where they would be better off.
June Bug

junebug1.jpg

June bug is a common name for a variety of Scarabaeidae beetles, particularly in the Phyllophaga family but this particular June bug (picture shown) is Cyclocephala and is the most common around here. Their grubs look basically like a fat white body with a June bug head and a few legs. They spend most of their time curled up in the earth eating roots of grasses and other plants. The adults emerge in spring around March a tiny bit, becoming more apparent by May-June, trickling off again into a tiny bit in July. Adults basically eat nectars and soft fruits.
June - May Bug

junebugmay.jpg

The May beetle is a Phyllophaga and comes as a runner up to our Cyclocephala June bug on the most commonly seen around here in the spring months. They basically do the same thing, emerging a little earlier than the June bug with not quite so many numbers. Their grubs are slightly larger than the June bug but look the same.

AboutBugs.com

BugGuide.net

Featured Creatures

Buglife: Invertebrate Conservation Trust

Firefly Facts

Isopods - Woodlouse