Something’s been bugging me…

For a few months, now, Katie and I have been repeatedly finding a certain bug in our house. Our building has a history of cockroach
infestation, but we hardly get them way up on the 8th (top) floor
of our building.

The Western Conifer Seed Bug

These are not cockroaches, at least I was pretty sure they weren’t. I don’t know alot about bugs, so I wasn’t sure if these things were momma cockroaches or something else entirely.

Katie emits a blood curdling scream whenever she sees a bug (like this house centipede that we found in our bathtub one day. Totally creepy, this thing has a 3 inch body (~7cm) and legs everywhere, which made it seem much bigger. Fortunately for us, the tub was too slick for it to escape and feed on our succulent brains.

Anyhow, we found one of our new friends, dead, on the floor, today. Usually, I end up killing these guys with plenty of paper towels so I don’t get icky bug juice on me. Besides, I’m no outdoorsman. Since we had a dead specimen that hadn’t been turned into a streaky mess in a paper towel, I decided to investigate him. I’m generally too creeped-out to take a look at a live one, especially when I don’t know what the hell it is. It might be a Peruvian Eye-Gasher for all I know.

I decided that I had to find out what these things were, because they were appearing every couple of days. If they were roaches, I was going to deploy bait traps every 18 inches until they stopped showing up.

I searched around teh intarweb for a while, and found a great site: whatsthatbug.com. This site is all about identifying creepy things that one finds in and around one’s house. It takes the form of submissions of the type “I photographed this thing on my wall/floor/cabinet/dog/toilet, and I want to know what it is”. They archive what looks like to be every submission they’ve ever gotton, along with an explanation of what the thing is. You can search and/or browse, so I did a little of both.

Meanwhile, Katie was trying other sources of information — they appeared to be more academic in nature — with not too much luck. She found a few things that might have been related, but I wasn’t confinved. They looked too dissimilar to the corpse before me on my desk.

It didn’t take me long to find an entry about the Western Conifer Seed Bug, which is our bug. Some of the pictures of the WCSB on What’s That Bug‘s True Bugs page are not very good (except the one that was taken from below, where it looks like the bug is either on a window or is skydiving at the photographer). So, I decided to take my own (see above).

For some reason, my camera wouldn’t focus properly on the bug when at close range, or even far range with a high zoom. I simply couldn’t get the camera to focus properly. So, I used my extensive knowledge of optics to engineer a solution: I put a large magnifying glass between the camera and the bug, and the results were very good.

So, the Western Conifer Seed Bug is nothing to fear, apparently. They’re still creepy, and I’m likely to kill those found in my home, especially if I find my wife standing on a chair screaming.

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