We received a call from a customer about thousands of tiny bugs all over the white house trim. When I arrived to get samples, most were gone, but the homeowner did collect a few. See images below.
Thrips are minute, flower-feeding insects. When their flowers start to die off, the trips are forced to fly and find more white flowers (if that is the flower color that species prefers). In this case, there were no more flowers, and the thrips were attracted to the whit trim.
30 May 2019, Groveland California.
These tiny nymphs were collected by Ryles Richards from an account in Groveland, California. The little bugs were quite numerous. I asked Dr. Lynn Kimsey, of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, what they might be.
She said, based on these photos, that they looked like newly hatched, first instars of one of the lygaeoid families – Lygaeidae, Rhopalidae, Miridae or Largidae, but she would not be able to tell until they molt a few more times.
25 March 2020
This smallish carpenter ant was collected by Erik Brians, in Jamestown Ca, 10 March 2020.
Based on these photos, Dr. Philip Ward identified it as a small worker of Camponotus quercicola.
Here is a copy of the abstract of a paper, co-authored by Dr. Ward.
Systematics, Distribution, and Ecology of an Endemic California
Camponotus quercicola (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
JURGEN GADAU, SEAN G. BRADY, AND PHILIP S. WARD
Department of Entomology and Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 92(4): 514Ð522 (1999)
ABSTRACT The endemic California carpenter ant Camponotus quercicola Smith is a little known
component of oak woodland habitats containing Quercus wislizenii de Candolle and Q. agrifolia Nee.
Close investigation of one site, Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, showed that C. quercicola was a
dominant, arboreal ant species, foraging primarily at night. The 1st description of the sexual castes
of C. quercicola is provided, together with a guide to distinguish all castes ofC. quercicola from similar,
sympatric Camponotus species. We compiled a distribution map based on our own collections and
museum specimens. To test the phylogenetic position of C. quercicola within the North American
Camponotus sensu stricto group, we sequenced 385 bp of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase
I from 9 Camponotus species. C. quercicola did not form a clade with the North American C.
herculeanus species group to which it was previously assigned. Preliminary results of microsatellite
analysis suggested a polygynous colony structure in this species.
Ryles Richards discovered an unusual yellow jacket nest: aerial yellow jackets had built their nest around a bird house. On August 2, 2019, Ryles brought back this nest, pictured below, from a customer’s house in Groveland. We don’t often see aerial yellow jackets; most of ours are ground-dwelling. But this was extra special, being they used a birdhouse as a nesting platform, and managed to almost entirely encase it.
The customer did not want the birdhouse back, so we added it our collection of oddities.