Information

Can anyone identify this tiny insect?


Very high magnification, size of a very small ant. Found in Menorca, spain


That's a barklouse, order Psocoptera. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psocoptera It's very hard to identify those to species in a picture.


Knowledgebase

There are a number of different small black insects that can be in houses. Some are just incidental nuisances that enter homes and become trapped. Others can live in homes. So it's important to identify what the particular pest is.

If you can send a clear, close up picture of them, especially with some frame of reference for size, and information on where you are located, we can better help with an identification.

It looks like you have an infestation of flour beetles. They feed on all manner of grain products and other items, including dry pet food, dried flowers, nuts, birdseed, etc. The key to getting rid of them is to get rid of their food sources. They can infest food packages but often people continue to have trouble because of small spills of food that are in concealed spaces.

It would be best to dispose of any infested packages - place packages inside sealed plastic bags to prevent the spread of the beetles. Then store uninfested food (and other items) in tightly sealed plastic containers. If you find beetles in any of those plastic containers, just dispose of the contents. It will take some time to make sure the infestation is taken care of.

The adult beetles are attracted to lights so will move towards windows. The picture looks like a confused flour beetle (but for me it is hard to be sure). If you have seen them flying, they are likely red flour beetles.

The adults are mobile and are attracted to light. Please keep in mind they are not just pests in pantry areas. They can feed on many other items besides "flour" foods. The food sources also may be quite small or not in an easily seen location. (for example, I know of a family that had an infestation from a small, opened box of crackers that somehow wound up under a large piece of furniture in their living room).

If the problem is getting worse, you may consider contacting a pest control company to help identify the source of the infestation and control it.

If you believe you have something other than flour beetles, please send a clear, close up picture, and we can try to verify the identification.


Random Bits of Projects

If you are reading this, then you might have been noticing tiny black bugs all over your house. They look sort of like fleas that crawl slowly but do not jump. I think these are a type of weevil. When you get a few, like roaches, you will have a lot. How do you get rid of them? Where did they come from? This article is about how I dealt with them while at the same time not harming my pets (or children if you have them). It is not an overnight solution, but I finally got rid of them using this method, to the point that I might not have a picture for you any time soon. This also saved me from getting the bug guy in. Always the budget. Sigh.

First of all, where did they come from (well mine)? My little visitors came from a bag of wild bird seed that I forgot I had in a closet. (I could not store it outside without it spoiling or critters getting into it. ) This is not unusual and can be avoided if you freeze bird feed products and any other grains in the freezer for at least 24 hours. I would even do this with pet bird seed. This is a pain if you bought a big bag but find a way to do it before keeping it in your home. This will also kill off moth larvae and other nasties. This is not your source? Try looking at any grain based food you have in your cabinets. Otherwise I am not sure where you got them or yours may not be the same critter.

If you find the source, just get rid of it. There will be more eggs and adults in there. Start over. Clean that location very well.

Seal all of your grains in bags. Freeze them if you feel worried any got in. This includes your cereals, flour products, chips, etc. These guys breed like wild fire. Let us not add fuel to it. Keep in the habit of keeping your grains sealed.

Look in every closet, nook, and cranny. If you find them, go ahead and spray roach killer along the edges if this will not harm your pets or kids. Vacuum the place and clean.. My thinking is try to knock out the first wave as best you can.

Since I was limited to where I could spray due to cats and fish tank air pumps, I tried the following with success thought it takes patience. Get roach motel-type traps. A lot of them. The black, plastic disk kind where the roaches go in one of several entrances to eat poison but can get out again. There are some that also come with packs that sterilize the roaches. Try those too. I know the poison works, but I had no way to know if the sterilizers work. But its worth putting down with the poison traps just in case. Place them as suggested by the packaging.

These roach traps will not say anything about weevils but it works. Go nuts with them. Do not forget to put them in cabinets as well. The poison is tucked away safe in these. In the areas where you see them the most, put several along those walls. They get up into cracks and stay there. I also found that they like moisture. So the bathroom may be popular. You should soon start seeing dead little bodies all around the motels. Sweep them up and shake out the motels into the trash or they will build up in there. If your infestation is bad, you will have to do this for awhile. But eventually they do go away. It took me months and a lot of traps. It was a BIG bag of seed. Ick. And I do not have bug problems otherwise.

These guys do not suck blood or go after you and your pets so do not worry about that. They are harmless though creepy. They are not bed bugs either. But keep bedding off of the floor where they travel. They may accidentally end up in there.

Hang in there. If you do clear them out, continue to put down the traps. These guys are small so a few may still be around that you have not yet noticed.


Bumblebees (genus: Bombus)

There are 49 species of bumblebees native to the U.S., according to the U.S. Forest Service. These bees are a little larger than honeybees and have a black body covered with dense yellow and black hair. They can be confused with carpenter bees, but Griffin says there's an easy way to tell the difference: Carpenter bees are noticeably larger than bumblebees.

"I tell my classes that the carpenter bee is like a Mack truck, while bumblebees are more like a pickup," Griffin says. Carpenter bees, for instance, have a broad head, whereas bumblebees have a smaller head.

Bumblebees also have more hair on their abdomens than carpenter bees. If you're thinking you don't want to get close enough to a bee to look at its abdomen, Griffin encourages you to remember these bees are looking for pollen, not for you. "This is a great way to educate yourself," she says, adding that it would be a shame to miss out on seeing a great part of nature because of an unfounded fear.

Bumblebees get their name from the noise they create inside a flower. They make the noise by moving around so quickly they sonicate the pollen off the flower and onto the hairs on their body. "It's just like they are dancing," Griffin says. Like the honeybee, the bumblebees you see are female workers who groom the pollen back and into pollen baskets on their legs. They live in colonies, residing in nests they build in the ground, often in abandoned mammal holes.

  • Are they pollinators? Yes. Bumblebees pollinate a wide range of native wildflowers, and they're also important pollinators of certain agricultural crops, including tomatoes.
  • Do they sting? They can sting, but rarely do unless you handle them or get too close to their nest.
  • How to get rid of them: Bumblebees are non-aggressive bees that tend to form small colonies with just a few dozen bees. You will rarely need to remove them, but if you do, avoid killing them if at all possible, since many native bumblebee species are already in decline. Try instead to repel them, perhaps spraying the nest at night with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water.

Stonefly


Photo by:
Milton Rand/Tom Stack & Associates

Adult stone flies range from 6 to 50 mm (0.25 to 2.0 inches) long. They are dull-colored, commonly gray, brown, green, or yellowish. Adult stoneflies have two pair of membranous wings that fold over the back when at rest. The wings have many veins, and the hind wing is broad at the base and fanlike.

Adults of most stonefly species live from a few hours to several days and do not feed. After mating, females commonly drop their eggs during flight over water. Females of some species can deposit over 1000 eggs. The eggs of most stonefly species have a sticky coating or anchorlike projections that help keep the egg in its original position until the larvae, called nymphs, hatch.

Stoneflies have incomplete metamorphosis: they gradually develop into adults after about two to three dozen nymphal instars, or growth stages. Nymphs have wing pads-saclike growths containing the developing wings-and two long tail filaments. In some species, the legs, wing pads, and tails are coated with many silken hairs. Other species have gill tufts protruding from various parts of the body. Immature stoneflies require moving water in which to develop. Nymphs of some species feed only on vegetation, others feed only on other stream insects, and still others feed on both. Many species have one generation per year, although larger species often require two or three years to complete development from egg to adult. Stonefly and mayfly nymphs look much alike and are often confused. However, stonefly nymphs are generally more robust and cricketlike than mayfly nymphs, and mayfly nymphs have three tail filaments rather than two.

Because the nymphs are aquatic, adult stoneflies are usually found near streams. Their presence is an indicator of a healthy stream environment. In areas with mild winters such as along the Pacific Coast, adults usually can be observed every month of the year. In cold climates a few species even fly in midwinter when snow is on the ground. In some locations enormous numbers of adult stoneflies may occur at about the same time each year. Adults can be collected near porch lights to which they are drawn. Stoneflies also commonly swarm along roads, annoying motorists by fouling windshields with their numerous bodies.


Comments

Hi,
Yes, In terms of persons name it should be spelt Saoirse but I believe that the place where I took my screen name from was meant to be Saoirse but had a typo.
Bob. Hi,
Yes, In terms of persons name it should be spelt Saoirse but I believe that the place where I took my screen name from was meant to be Saoirse but had a typo.
Bob.

I don't actually know if that is their proper name though. It is what we have always called them though. Teeny tiny little black bugs and they do like to swam on light colours walls and such. As I found out when painting the hallway a very pale yellow last summer, grr!

I see tiny little things, barely visible, but only occasionally in the bathroom - but it doesn't sound the same as you have.

I'm wondering if they could be thrips? They are tiny little things and seem to gather in clusters. I once had them in my hair when I sat near an open window in the country - I thought I'd caught fleas! But they are harmless, although a nuisance.

They are very small and look like a piece of hair - to the naked eye they are nothing compared to how they look in the photo (thank goodness!)

Thanks for your replies everyone,

I forgot to mention that to they appear to the naked eye as round rather than elongated as on the Thirps wikipedia page (although i'm not saying that its not Thirps).

And also there are no houseplants around.

Thanks for your replies folks,

Yeah these little guys are definitely not elongated in shape.

I found this picture on Google which gives you an idea of their size and shape if you scale the ones in the picture down by about half.

The ones i have been seeing are all black, not shiny and do not fly that i can tell.

Managed take a picture with my camera phone of one of the little chaps.

I used macro mode and it turns out they do have eight considerable legs for their size as well as being not perfectly round.

i came across this whilst extensively googling for you (out of curiosity!)

The closest I can see is a strawberry root weevil although a plaster beetle comes close second.

In the last few months I have had an ongoing problem with tiny little black insects that are so small that I can hardly tell what they are.

Please bear with me through my description here.

They range from (no bigger than) half the size of a full-stop character in a book to almost invisble to naked eye.

I first noticed them a few months ago only on my white internet modem which is just inside the front door so I wondered whether they had crawled in from the grass outside.
They also appeared on any white letters that dropped through the letterbox onto the floor.

They have since spontaneously disappeared from downstairs and have now reappeared upstairs on the wall next to my computer (which is light coloured). They would also appear on my computer screen when running light coloured web paged.

Yesterday I vacuumed and polished the whole room, computer, desk and walls which has reduced the occurence of them from (at most) one every six square inches to one or two anywhere (if any at all), and none on the computer screen.

They crawl around on the surface that they are on and are so tiny that my eyes cannot make out any legs as such.
They do not jump like a flea would nor appear to fly but can easily be lifted using the corner of a peice of paper and blown off of it outside.

Does anyone know what these little critters are and how to stop them coming back without hurting them?

Hurt em so bad they cant live to come back another day , or reproduce either .


Pickleworms

The pickleworm (Diaphania nitidalis) severely damages cucumbers, cantaloupes, summer squash, and pumpkins. It also feeds on other cucurbits, such as winter squash and watermelons, but usually does little damage.

Pickleworms (Diaphania nitidalis) bore into cucurbit fruit, and their frass is pushed out.
Joey Williamson, ©2016 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Pickleworm damage occurs when the caterpillars tunnel in flowers, buds, stems, and fruits. They prefer the fruits. Frass (sawdust-like insect waste) often protrudes from small holes in damaged fruits. At times, damaged fruits cannot be recognized until they are cut open. Damaged fruits are not edible. Flowers, buds, and sometimes entire plants may be killed.

In South Carolina, pickleworms starve or freeze to death during the winter. They overwinter in Florida and spread northward each spring. Severe damage usually does not occur before summer in South Carolina. Heavy populations generally do not build up before the first flower buds open however, late crops may be destroyed before blossoming. The pickleworm has complete metamorphosis, passing through four distinct stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) during development.

Pickleworm larvae (Diaphania nitidalis) inside fruit.
Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, www.insectimages.org

Eggs are yellow, irregularly shaped, and resemble grains of sand. They are laid singularly or in small groups on leaves and hatch in three to four days.

Larvae feed first on buds, blossoms, and tender terminals but soon move to the fruits. These brown-headed caterpillars molt (shed their skin) four times before they become about ¾-inch (1.9 cm) long and fully grown in nine to 28 days. The body is yellowish-white at first, but many reddish-brown spots appear on the back after the first molt. After the last molt, the caterpillar loses its spots and becomes solid green or copper. Finally, the caterpillar stops feeding, becomes pink to pale green, and spins a thin silk cocoon around itself, usually within a folded-over portion of a leaf where it pupates (becomes a pupa).

Pupae (the non-feeding stage where the larva changes to an adult) are light to dark brown and slightly more than ¾-inch long. Pupae are usually found in a rolled leaf. However, they have been found inside cantaloupe and summer squash in rare instances. Adults usually emerge after seven to 10 days.

Adults are brownish-yellow moths that have a rounded brush of hairs at the rear of the body. The brownish-yellow wings have a purplish sheen, translucent yellow-white centers, and a spread of about 1 inch (2.54 cm). Moths are active at night.

Select early maturing varieties and plant as early as possible before pickleworm population peaks. Destroy damaged fruit and crush rolled sections of leaves to kill pupae. The more resistant varieties are Butternut 23, Summer Crookneck, Early Prolific Straightneck, and Early Yellow Summer Crookneck.

Begin spraying susceptible cucurbits for pickleworms when the first buds or flowers appear and spray every 4 to 7 days with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or every 7 days with spinosad. Always spray in the evening to enhance control and to reduce the impact on pollinating insects. See Table 2 for products containing Bt or spinosad.


Can anyone identify this tiny insect? - Biology


Athysanus argentarius


Chlorotettix necopinus


Eutettix tristis


Xestocephalus n-species


Otiocerus amyotii

Aims of this website
This website aims to provide a compendium of all of the leafhopper, planthopper, treehopper, and spittlebug species recorded in North Carolina, serving as not only an interactive photographic online guide but also a database for hemipteran hoppers in North Carolina. This site includes: photographs of species photographed in the state, information on species' identification, general information about the distribution of species in the state (by county) and their relative abundance, the seasonal occurrence for each species and which habitats, host plant associates, as well as additional comments on the species (such as differentiating between similar species or notable facts). County maps of occurrence are provided for each species.

How to navigate the website:
There are several ways to view species' accounts. Perhaps the most useful and interactive method is searching via the Family Photo Gallery, accessible on the left of the page in the menu. This family page displays all of the families, or in some cases, subfamilies of hoppers and includes pictures that represent species within these groups, for identifying purposes. Once a family or subfamily page is clicked on, it will display pictures representing all of the species in the state for which we have photographs.

Another way to access species' accounts is to start typing the scientific name in the Search Scientific Name field or, if a common name exists, the common name is the Search Common Name field this can be done either on the Home page or the General Search page. Names of species appear on the screen, so click on the correct species that you want so that the full name appears in the field box then click Find (to the right). Once you are at a species' account, you can navigate to the previous species in the checklist sequence by clicking on the Broad-headed Sharpshooter on the left, or to the next species in the checklist order by clicking on the Broad-headed Sharpshooter on the right. A third way to get to another species (within the same Family) is to click the down arrow on the box to the right of Family (Alpha) then click on the species of interest in a given family.

As indicated at the top of each species map on the website, a user can click on a county that is colored (i.e., not white) and see the records for that county for the given species that have been entered, either representing recent or historical records. However, this should not be assumed to be all of the known records of species for a county. These records only represent ones that have been entered recently, or come from literature or historical collections that the author of this website has been able to access.

How to Identify a Hopper:
If you are unsure of a species, you can search the interactive photographic key, which shows the best picture of each species for which we have photographs of. A link to this key can be found in the menu on the left side of the page. The family photo page is laid out in a way to best allow the user to view other species in the same taxonomic group and use the pictures presented to help determine the species of interest to view. Clicking on a photograph will lead you to the species' account page.

How to Become a Citizen Scientist and Enter a Record:
One of our main aims is to involve the public in documenting the distribution and habitat associations of the state’s hopper fauna. Compared to other insect taxa, hoppers are not well studied and therefore there is much to learn about the distribution and abundance of species in the state, let alone how many species can be found here in North Carolina. We therefore welcome records from anyone that wishes to submit for species observed in North Carolina, to help fill in knowledge gaps. Information on how to submit records and the details we need to vet the records are included in the Citizen Science tab on the main menu bar located at the top of the Home Page. The family photo gallery can be used to identify a species before being entered as a record, if the identification is not already known. However, for species that are not known, these records can be uploaded on the Enter Record page as an Unidentified Spittlebug, Leafhopper, Treehopper, or Planthopper. The administrators of this website will then try to identify the photographed specimen. Once vetted and approved by the administrators, records will appear in the Recent Entries.

Hope you enjoy using the website! If you have any questions, please email Kyle.

About Hoppers & Photography

Hoppers
Hoppers belong to the insect order Hemiptera, the true bugs. More specifically, they are in the hemipteran suborder Auchenorrhyncha, the free-living hemipterans. In the eastern United States, free-living hemipterans consist of spittlebugs, leafhoppers, treehoppers, cicadas, and planthoppers. Cicadas are not represented on this website as they are well-documented in the literature and other online resources, unlike the other hopper groups. Globally, Auchenorrhyncha are one of the most numerous insect groups with over 42,000 known species described however, there are many thousands more waiting to be described and discovered, even here in the eastern United States and North Carolina. For example, some sources have predicted that there may be close to 100,000 leafhopper species existing on the planet today.

Hoppers can be found on all continents except Antarctica and in many different habitats. A majority of hoppers have piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap. Through their mouthparts, many hopper species act as vectors for plant diseases, and this coupled with the large role they play as herbivores in various habitats makes them one of the most important insect groups. There are some hopper species that are economically important due to the damage they can cause to crops and other plants, either through the deposition of eggs in plants or physical feeding.

As the name suggests, hoppers are known for their strong hopping or jumping abilities, causing some individuals to be difficult to approach for close observation or photographs. Auchenorrhyncha also have complex acoustic communication systems, though typically only cicadas are audible to our ears. Males and, in many leafhopper and some planthopper species, females can produce vibrational signals transmitted through plant tissue. These vibrational signals are created by specialized organs known as tymbals. Many of the treehopper genera on this site have links to recorded vibrational signals that have been transformed into an audible noise to allow people to hear these calls.

Finding Hoppers
There are several methods that can be used to attract hoppers. Perhaps the easiest way is to set up a light source at night. Lights at night are a great way to attract hoppers, moths, and other insects, especially when shining on a white bed sheet. White bed sheets of any size can be draped either on a table, bench, or other surface, or be strung up over rope and tied between two posts or other similar structures. These white sheets can be purchased cheaply at your local retail store. The positioning of the sheet will depend on the type of light source used. There are a variety of lights available, and different types of light with different wavelengths can attract different species.

There are several lights in particular that I have found to do particularly well. Black lights and ultraviolet lights when shining on a white sheet, typically mounted on a tripod, cause it to almost glow, attracting many species. If a metal light holder is used, this is a particularly good place to check for hoppers as they can occur in numbers on the inside of the metal holder. Bug zappers, which also emit an ultraviolet light, can be a very successful light source if the zapper is disconnected by cutting the proper cable however, be careful when cutting the cable. Mercury vapor bulbs are the other excellent light source. Unlike the other light sources, mercury vapor bulbs shine extremely bright (and can become extremely hot, so be careful to not burn yourself and do not stare directly at the bulb as you can cause vision damage) and therefore can have a much greater reach at attracting insects than the other light sources: you can either purchase table-top MV lights or ones that can be mounted on a tripod. Pillar lights or lights on the side of a building can also be productive. Hoppers attracted to a sheet can then be easily identified and photographed.

During the day, there are two main methods for finding hoppers. The first and most frequent method that I like to use is sweepnetting. With a net, sweeping grasses and other brushy vegetation can catch many hoppers at a single time. Since many hoppers occur in this type of habitat, this is the easiest and best way to find many species in potentially high numbers. The other main method for finding hoppers during the day is using a beat sheet. This square-shaped canvas sheet is held directly to the side or underneath branches of a tree and a wooden pole is then beat against the branches or trunk (for saplings and young/short trees), causing insects on the trees to drop onto the sheet and then be identified and photographed.


Example of some of the light setups that have been used.

Note that many of these supplies, from the lights to sweepnets and beat sheets to moth sheets can be purchased either online at BioQuip (https://www.bioquip.com/Search/WebCatalog.asp?prodtype=1) or in a local store (Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.).

Photographing Hoppers
When attracted to a sheet with a light, hopper can be relatively easy to photograph and the white background can help highlight the colors of the hopper and provide a nice contrast. Some species though may be skittish and difficult to approach, and this is especially true during the day. Hoppers, as their name suggests, hop. Individuals that are collected while sweeping or beating, or individuals for which a closer more detailed photograph or set of photographs is needed (such as length or underside views, see respective species accounts), are best photographed through a fairly simple method: chilling.

Chilling involves cooling a hopper down with ice packs to the point where the individual is immobilized. This then allows for one to take close photographs from multiple angles of a individual without worrying about it escaping. In order to chill, one must first have containers that can be used to collect and hold hoppers of interest. Next, either a cooler with ice packs inside (the author's preferred and recommended chilling source) or a freezer is required to chill the specimen. Based on the author's experience, the amount of chilling required for a hopper varies based on the type of hopper. Some species can chill very quickly while others take much longer. Typically about 4 or 5 minutes works best for chilling a specimen without killing it. Looking through the collection container, one will be able to tell if the hopper is chilled (it will have fallen off of the sides and will likely be upside down or in an unnatural position) without having to open the container and potentially allow for the individual to escape. Once chilled, the hopper can then be photographed and moved around the author uses a toothpick to move around the hopper to provide different angles. Note that the chilling will wear off shortly and the hopper may begin to move around after several minutes and will either fly or hop away or warm themselves up and remain somewhat still. If a cooler is being used, the top of it is a great platform on which to photograph a hopper, as the white surface provides contrast like a sheet does. Furthermore, if photo editing software is used, the colors can be corrected for based on the cooler's surface since the photographer knows that the surface is white (sometimes the surface will come up dark on a photograph even though it is white in reality, and knowing this allows one to adjust the colors if necessary on a photograph to provide real-life colors). A cooler with pre-frozen ice packs taken from a freezer can also serve as a mobile photography station and be transported where you search for hoppers. Note that you cannot collect hoppers in state parks without a permit. After taking your photographs, you can let the hopper return to its environment.

Finally, in terms of actually photographing hoppers, a camera is necessary that allows for close-up, detailed photos of a hopper. A DSLR camera with a macro lens and external or built in flash works very well, but there are also some point and shoot cameras that work too. For more information, please contact the author.

The author's setup for chilling hoppers:

The Hoppers of North Carolina Website is being developed through a partnership between the North Carolina State Parks System (NC DPR) and the North Carolina Biodiversity Project (NCBP), a non-profit, education- and conservation-oriented association composed of field biologists specializing in taxonomy, ecology, and conservation of the state’s native species and ecosystems. This partnership serves NC DPR’s mission of providing "environmental education opportunities that promote stewardship of the state's natural heritage". It is also serves NCBP core interests in promoting awareness and interest in the general public concerning the state’s rich variety of native species, and in generating a wide base of support for the conservation of these resources.

Our website itself is still very much a work in progress as we continue to learn about the extraordinary diversity of hopper species that occur in North Carolina. One of the reasons we decided on a web format is that it more easily accommodates the growth of information. The aim of this site is to act as a database for hopper records across the state, and to serve to some extent as an online photographic field guide to aid in the identification of these insects. Equally important, it allows for much more interaction with the ultimate users of the website, i.e., the public. Citizens can not only obtain information from this website but can become active partners, contributing new records and – we hope – taking an interested and active role in increasing our knowledge of this fascinating and extremely important group of organisms in our state.

The authors and other main people associated with the Hoppers of North Carolina Website are:

Kyle Kittelberger (corresponding author, hopper specialist, photographer-naturalist, project manager)
Brian Bockhahn (photographer-naturalist, associate project manager)
Tom Howard (webmaster)

Much of the data used in the creation of this website comes from field surveys carried out by Kittelberger, Scharf, and Bockhahn. The original idea of this website developed during the summer of 2013 by Kittelberger as a way to not only pursue and share his interest and passion for this group of insects with others, but to also step into somewhat uncharted territory and help increase our overall knowledge of hoppers in North Carolina. Together with Bockhahn and Scharf, the 'three hoppeteers' have been exploring the state and photographing and recording hoppers ever since. A majority of the photographs of hoppers come from these three individuals.

Much of the rest of the records for the site comes from literature (treehoppers and planthoppers) or online (iDigBio Portal, a website that serves as a database for insect collection records). Furthermore, the author visited the North Carolina State University Insect Collection to photograph and incorporate records of specimens into the website. Hopper experts have also been consulted to provide incalculable assistance and information regarding species' identification and natural history that have greatly aided in the creation of this webiste. These experts are: Charles Bartlett (Planthoppers), Matt Wallace (Treehoppers), Mark Rothschild (Treehoppers), Chris Dietrich (Leafhoppers), and Joel Kitts (Leafhoppers).

Several other main sources have been used to provide records to this website. One of these sources is the NC DPR’s Natural Resources Identification Database (NRID), developed by Tom Howard to document the species and natural communities occurring within the state park units. These data were largely contributed by NC DPR Rangers and Naturalists working in some of the most significant natural areas across the state, DPR staff are ideally placed and keenly enthusiastic to document the diversity of all the state’s native species. Another source is Bugguide, with identifiable records from North Carolina not taken by the three hoppeteers incorporated into the hopper database.

In the future, we expect the contributions of amateur hopper enthusiasts in North Carolina to become a growing source of information on the distribution, life histories, and habitat associations for the state’s hopper fauna. These include some individuals out of state that have shared a good number of their photos for species accounts and representation: Ken Childs (Tennessee) and John Rosenfeld (Pennsylvania).

Citizen Science
You don’t need to be a professional scientist to appreciate hoppers-- hoppers can be enjoyed for their beauty and diversity alone. While some species of hopper in the state may range in size from 2 mm to close to an inch, the color, pattern, and shape of some of these species are fascinating something so small can be so majestic. Today, professional biologists who specialize on hemipteran hoppers are few and far between. As a result, much of what we can learn about hoppers can actually come from a new generation of dedicated naturalists, now often called citizen scientists. These dedicated members of the public greatly outnumber the number of hopper specialists and therefore are able to help increase coverage, and therefore knowledge, of species in areas where specialists are not present.

We hope that this website – along with several others devoted to hoppers and other insects (see the list included in the Identification Guide) – will support the growing interest in this fascinating group of species. Our project, however, does have a serious intent: using information about hoppers obtained through this website to help increase knowledge of the abundance and diversity of hoppers in North Carolina.

Only a few basic pieces of equipment are needed: a sweep net or beat sheet during the day or light source at night to attract or catch hoppers to record them a camera capable of taking close-up photographs, usually coupled with a flash unit for use in dim light and a computer, used for photo editing, hopper identification, and record sharing via the Web. Once you have a photo of a hopper stored in your computer, you are ready to enter your first record, joining us in this important endeavor! For more information on approaches and techniques to finding and photographing hoppers, please see the "About Hoppers & Photography" tab at the top of the page.

Submitting a Record
To send us a record, click on Enter Record on the menu located on the left side of the website. Only records of reliably identified species serve the interests of this project to document the distribution, natural history, and abundance of the hoppers of North Carolina. To make the record most useful for these purposes, we ask that certain information be filled in, as indicated in red text (required) on the form.

Species Name
The submitter needs to take the initial step in trying to identify the species the record represents. This helps the submitter learn more about the identification process (and its problems). It also helps us process the records more quickly. For help in establishing this preliminary identification, click on the Family Photo Gallery page located on the menu on the left, and then view and compare species in their respective families or subfamilies. Although this initial identification does not have to be completely accurate – we will vet the photograph or other evidence as part of the acceptance process – the more precise it is, the faster we can process the submission. Conversely, records that require more time and effort on the part of our reviewers are likely to be delayed in acceptance.

Identity of the Observer
The name of the person and an email address must be included where the submitter can be reached we do not accept any records from anonymous or otherwise unverifiable sources. Only the observer’s name will show up in the species accounts, not the email address, which will be used only to notify the submitter concerning the status of their record (see Vetting Process below) it will not be shared with anyone outside of the website group without permission from the submitter.

Number of Individuals
Determining the abundance of a species is one of the main goals of this website, and this is determined through the number of individuals submitted with each record for a particular species. The number of individuals present can help determine if a species is common or rare and help pain a picture of the distribution of a species in the state by region (i.e. coastal plain, piedmont, mountains, etc.). However, if the exact number of individuals of a species present is not known, particularly if there are too many individuals to count, then an "x" can be used in the number field.

Record Type
For the purposes of a citizen scientist, there will only be two main record types to choose from: photo or sight. In most cases, a photo is necessary to accept the record for a species. Many hoppers can be a challenge to identify, confounded by similarly patterned or colored species or taxonomic difficulties. This information can be found on the respective account for each species. Therefore, a photo is needed to ensure that a record for a species truly represents that species. Multiple photos can be uploaded for a record: choose one photo and then, after submitting the record, you will be asked if you want to upload more than one photo to this record.

Plant Associate
If a species is recorded on a plant, either through visual detection or beat sheeting, please note the plant. In some cases, especially for nymphs of particular species that are host-specific, knowledge of the host plant can determine the species. In other cases, providing a plant associate can add to or increase knowledge of plants that a hopper species can be found on.

Time of Day
This is not a required field but can provide important or interesting information about the behavior of a species, as well as providing information on detection techniques (sweeping, light sheets, etc.). While a majority of hopper species can be attracted with a light at night, there are some species that have yet to be recorded at a light. Therefore, knowing detecting techniques and what time of day detected can help reveal how best to find some species.

Comments
The Comments section is optional but can be used to record information about habitat, interesting behavioral or ecological aspects, size or sex, or other information of interest for a record.

Completion of the Form
Clicking the Submit button will enter the completed record.

Vetting Process
Once a record has been submitted, the proposed identification is reviewed by our hopper team to confirm its accuracy. This vetting is based partly on the long experience of our group members with hopper identification but also on the availability of reliable keys and other diagnostic information in the scientific literature and online. If a species identification is correct, then it will be added to the production. Records that have been vetted will be added to the Species Accounts in the website and listed under Recent Entries but no other notification will be sent to the submitter. If a record is incorrectly identified but CAN be identified, then the hopper team will make this change and let the submitter know. If the record is incorrectly identified but CANNOT be identified, or the author needs more time to think about a record, the submission will be kept on the site but not added to production. Where the record is not accepted or where additional information is required, a message may be sent to the submitter via email. For any record where processing is delayed for more than two weeks, a message will be automatically sent out expressing our regrets about the time it has taken however, that does not necessarily mean that we are giving up on the record, only that it may take more time (sometimes indefinite) to process. If you have questions about a record you have submitted, please feel free to contact the author.

Family Photo Gallery to aid in the identification of North Carolina Spittlebugs, Leafhoppers, Treehoppers, and Planthoppers

Below are links to the families and major subfamilies of the Spittlebugs, Leafhoppers, Treehoppers, and Planthoppers that can be found in North Carolina. Each respective page has photos for every species in a family or subfamily that have been recorded in the state and for which we have pictures. These pictures can help with identification of hoppers, and you can access the profile pages of these various species which have information on natural history, distribution, important identifying charateristics, and more.


Diseases

Plant diseases are broadly classified as "Biotic" or "Abiotic." Biotic diseases are those caused by living organisms, like fungi, bacteria, and even viruses. Abiotic diseases are the result of non-living causes like herbicides, pollution, road salt, and too much or too little of certain nutrients that plants require for growth.

Abiotic diseases usually appear in a distinct pattern-like only alongside a road, for example and they effect the all plants in the area similarly. Abiotic diseases also often effect other types of plants in the area, including weeds, and other nearby crops. One common symptom of abiotic disease is brown, dead or wilted leaf tips. Another common symptom is the yellowing of older leaves.

Biotic diseases usually appear on random plants throughout a field and effect different plants with different levels of severity. Often plants have visible signs of disease-like fluffy masses of mold.

In general, fungal diseases can often be recognized by visible mold, orange pustules, and round leaf spots.

Bacterial diseases are often characterized by wet, or "watersoaked," lesions, or by irregular shaped leaf spots.

Viruses often cause irregular color changes like mosaic patterns on leaves, or unusual foliage colors like red leaves.

Nematodes, a microscopic worm are also classified as a biotic disease. They often cause root rots, or irregular root growth.


Additional Fungus Gnat Control

Insecticides are rarely required and toxic chemicals are discouraged for home use. Non-toxic means of control should always be your first choice. However, lower toxicity insecticides such as pyrethroid-based products or Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, commonly known as Bti, may be effective if nothing else works. The products must be reapplied regularly because they don’t provide long-term control. Use the products according to label recommendations. Store them safely out of reach of children and pets.

If all else fails, the best option is to repot the plant in gnat free soil. Remove the plant from the infected soil and wash all of the soil off the roots of the plant. Wash the container that held the infected plant in a weak solution of bleach water. This will kill any eggs or larva still in the pot. Repot the plant in fresh soil and allow the soil to dry out in between watering to prevent re-infestation of the soil gnats.

Fungus gnats are annoying, but once you know how to get rid of soil gnats, you can keep this pest from bothering your lovely plants.


Watch the video: Can Anyone Identify This Little Belfast Bat? (January 2022).