Photographs from Crooked River National Grassland

Below are some photographs I took at the Crooked River National Grassland in Madras, Oregon earlier this year.

Ligated furrow bee (Halictus ligatus)

This is a male ligated furrow bee (Halictus ligatus). It was probably less than 1 cm long and very hard to photograph. Females collect pollen but I’m assuming this guy was just drinking nectar. Or perhaps just hanging out waiting for females. If you’re looking for ID tips, see page 121 of The Bees in Your Backyard and BugGuide. There’s also a fantastic guide to the species on iNaturalist.

Jagged ambush bug (Phymata) eating a bee

This is some sort of Phymata species, sucking juices out of a bee. They are just masters at camouflage. For an excellent summary of how they choose flowers that match their color and how they change colors, see this post.

I’m not sure of species, but this wasp is in the genus Trypoloxylon. It was amazing to see them land on water. Females collect spiders (and nectar and water) while the males guard the nest, often a hollow twig. I have a similar species in my yard back in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and they are my favorite wasps.

Some sort of Ptilodexia species, likely a parasite of scarab beetle larvae per literature on the genus. There were thousands of these flies in the area so there must be a huge population of scarabs there, too.

a Geron of some sort. I failed to capture a side view, so you can’t really see the humped back (of an old person) that the genus is named for. Likely parasitic on some Lepidopteran larvae.

This is Eleodes obscura sulcipennis, and they were were so numerous you had to watch where you stepped. Reminiscent of the tanker bugs in Starship Troopers, especially when they go into a butt-up defensive posture. Here’s BugGuide information page if you’re curious. By the way, the common name, “circus beetle”, refers to Eleodes hirtipennis.

I’m guessing, but I think this might be a Metepeira. It was maybe 4 mm and the wind was blowing its web back and forth, so it was super hard to get any closer views.

This juniper gall is the creation of an undescribed gall midge in the genus Walshomyia. Russo’s book, Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States, refers to it is as “species B.” But per research by my dad and sister, the galls are often filled with a moth:

Purrington, F.F., and T.M. Purrington. 1995. Hienrichiessa sanpetella Neunzig (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) is an inquiline in juniper midge galls (Diptera: Ceciomyiidae). Proceedings of Entomological Society 97:227.

This is the same species but shows the actual juniper cones. I.e., even though the gall looks like a gymnosperm cone, it’s not.

This is a juniper urn gall midge (Walshomyia juniperina). The tip splits open when the adult is ready to eclose. At that stage the urns resemble pods in the Alien franchise. I know, two references to science fiction movies in one post. It’s my blog and I can do what I want.

Sadly, I have no idea what makes this gall. Perhaps Rhopalomyia sp., but that’s just a guess given that so many species in the genus make galls on sagebrush. Here’s my iNaturalist observation in case you can help me out.

More pics from Crooked River National Grassland on my SmugMug account.

Does the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech attract mosquitoes?

This post evaluates the claim on the label, “mosquitoes will gather near them”. Per the company, it is the first step in how the device kills mosquitoes. I.e., the device needs to attract mosquitoes if it is going to work.

mosquitoes will gather

Evaluating the claim

I used a security camera to record activity around the cap area. Here’s a photograph of how I arranged everything:

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech with security camera

Below is a 15-second time-lapse to show that small insects such as ants were easily visible, even at night. I think they are Prenolepis imparis, which are 3-4 mm long —mosquitoes are larger and thus would be detectable even in flight.

On the day that began filming (September 2nd, 2020) I counted over a dozen mosquitoes (all Aedes albopictus) landing on my arms and legs within 30 seconds. According to the instruction sheet, the device begins to work instantly, as soon as water is added, so an hour of remote, video observation should be a sufficient amount of time to evaluate the attraction claim.

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech begins working instantly

I collected continuous footage for over a week, ending observations on September 10th. The mosquitoes were still plentiful on that day.


During 183 hours of footage, I couldn’t find a single mosquito on or near the device. Here are the contents. I also posted a photograph to iNaturalist.


I don’t understand how the device can kill mosquitoes.

In related news, I’m aware of three of other people who have used security cameras to assess whether mosquitoes gather around Spartan Mosquito Eradicators. None found mosquitoes.


In case anyone might be skeptical of my results, I decided to upload all 183 hours of footage onto YouTube. I had to break it into 16 segments due to size limits on YouTube.

Yeast-based mosquito control devices

If you’re even remotely interested in killing mosquitoes, you’ve probably seen ads for plastic tubes that are filled with water, sugar, and yeast. The marketing pitch is that the thousands of mosquitoes lurking in your yard will be drawn to the devices by carbon dioxide (emitted by yeast when it consumes sugar), then will all enter the device through tiny holes at the top, ingest some of the fluid inside (because mosquitoes forage for sweet liquids like nectar), squeeze back out of the tube through the same holes, and then die due to the effects of a chemical (table salt, boric acid, garlic oil, etc.) dissolved in the fluid. According to marketing claims, these tubes will completely rid your yard of mosquitoes for months.

Below are details on the eight such devices currently marketed in the United States.

Spartan Mosquito Eradicator

First sold in 2016 as the Spartan Mosquito Bomb, the company says these tubes will eradicate mosquito populations for up to 90 days. Active ingredient is table salt. Company is based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and was founded by Jeremy Hirsch (a Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches franchisee) and Chris Bonner (works at chemical testing company). It can be purchased on Amazon and in many rural feed and hardware stores across the country. Here is a commercial about the device. It is no longer being marketed, it appears.

Spartan Mosquito Eradicator

Sock-It Skeeter

Produced by the same company (AC2T, Inc.) that makes the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. Likely also contains sodium chloride. Here is a commercial about the device. I’m not sure whether this device is still sold.

Sock-It Skeeter

Donaldson Farms Mosquito Eliminator

Marketed to eradicate mosquitoes for 90 days. Owners say that it has “more potent attractants in the lure for the traps than Spartan”. Company is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and owned by Jeff Clowdus (owner of JCL Tech LED lighting) and his brother Tim. Available from Amazon and from company website.

Donaldson Farms Mosquito Eliminator

Mosquito XT

Company is based in Paragould, Arkansas, and owned by Kevin King, an insurance broker. Available only from company website.

Mosquito XT

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech

This device is essentially the same as the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator except that boric acid replaces table salt as the listed active ingredient. Company says it kills mosquito for 30 days. It is sold at hardware and feed stores in most states, plus can be purchased directly from the company. Here’s the commercial (Facebook video).

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech

Skeeter Eater

Company says it eradicates mosquitoes for 90 days. Distributed by Copia Products (makes baby products) in Memphis Tennessee and is owned by Wade Whitely. Manufactured in Columbia. Sold at Walmart and Ace Hardware in Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. Sold on Amazon.

Skeeter Eater

Skeeter Hawk Backyard Bait Station

Label lists garlic oil (not salt) as the active ingredient. Described as “highly effective” and providing “chemical free”, “round the clock”, “full-perimeter protection”. Company is part of Alliance Sports Group based in Grand Prairie, Texas. Owned by Larry Easterwood and family. Available from company’s website.

Skeeter Hawk Backyard Bait Station

Mosquito Dynamiter

Owner claims the device will eradicate up to 95% of mosquitoes in 15 days for up to 90 days. Says mosquitoes “literally explode”. It appears to be a black version of its Wasp & Bee Sugar Trap. Made by Vic West Brands based in Austin, Texas, and owned by Nick Olynyk, an expert on junior hockey. Sold online through website and Amazon.

Grandpa Gus's Mosquito Dynamiter

Do any these devices kill mosquitoes?

Only one of the above devices (the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator) has been evaluated by third-party scientists. Here’s the PDF of that journal article — device was determined to be ineffective. More generally, Yee et al. 2020 tested whether salt can kill adult mosquitoes — no.