A reader sent me this picture, asking for an ID - it was taken in upstate New York:
Box Elder Bug.
Just a shot in the dark. Could it be a species of cockroach?
They are boxelder bugs: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG0998.html
Ok, I go with John he sounds authoritative.
You and your readers might like knowing about a site called BugGuide, where pictures like the ones your reader submitted of Boisea trivittata or other North American insects and spiders can be submitted for identification:
I concur with the box elder bug consensus. And agree with Bob that bugguide.net is awesome!
Boisea trivittata (Eastern Boxelder Bug)
Wow.. in the time I took to pay for Pizza and eat a couple slices there were 6 answers! I agree: bugguide is great. My daughter and I use it on occasion ID various creepy-crawlies around the house.
They did not send it to Bug Girl?
yup, it's a boxelder. I sent you the same link karen did on facebook before I saw it here.
Box Elder bugs are way more than common around here in late fall and early spring. (Mpls, Minnesota) They're harmless, they come in to get away from the cold, and die. Only control needed is a vacuum cleaner.
Hahaha. while I was waiting for the page to load, I thought...bet it's a box-elder bug. When I was growing up we had so many of these on the wood casing of the outside of the window of our house that it was black. Little bastards were prolific and everywhere. They mainly like to hang out near the box-elder trees for which they are named, which also happen to harbor lots of little green worms that hang down on really long strings. Not sure why they do that. The box elder trees would put out some really interesting looking "flower", though. Every once in a while I'd see a box-elder bug that was round and a bit fatter. I'm still trying to figure out what that one was.