Currently viewing the category: "Clearwings"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black and orange flying bug
Location: Brooklyn, NY 11226
July 20, 2016 9:54 am
Hi Bugman,
There is a kind of flying bug around our yard in Brooklyn that appears regularly, freaking out our little 6 year old and his friends because they think it is a wasp. From the photo I took I see it is not a wasp but a black fly I think with an orange band around it’s thorax. I would like to know what it is and if it might bother the kids. 😊 Thanks!
Signature: Curiously yours, Kathleen Boyer

Female Peach Tree Borer

Female Peach Tree Borer

Dear Kathleen,
You and your son are both wrong.  This is a female Peach Tree Borer,
Synanthedon exitiosa, a species of moth that exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism, though both male and female Peach Tree Borers are wasp mimics which probably affords them significant protection from predators.  Since they are moths, Peach Tree Borers are harmless and pose no threat to your kids, but they might be compromising the health of your peach trees. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp like moth
Location: Plano Tx, north of Dallas
July 17, 2016 12:40 pm
I’m sure this is a moth, but wondering what kind. I found it motionless in some ivy treebine.
Signature: Steve

Clearwing Moth: Vitacea admiranda

Clearwing Moth: Vitacea admiranda

Dear Steve,
Your suspicions that this is a moth are correct.  It is one of the wasp-mimic Clearwing Moths in the family Sesiidae.  We believe we have correctly identified it as
Vitacea admiranda thanks to images posted to BugGuide where it states:  “Adult – resembles Polistes paper wasps” and “Larval hosts are likely grapes (Vitaceae). Knudson & Bordelon observed the adults in association with mustang grape (Vitis mustangensis).”  BugGuide also indicates:  “This species was practically unknown before synthetic pheromones, only three specimens in major collections for the first 100 years. It is now known throughout Texas, and is exquisitely sensitive to pheromone residues on skin or clothing.”  We verified that identification on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Fauna Project.

Thank you Daniel, this is great information, I really do appreciate it.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A new red insect
Location: Ocean County, New Jersey
July 4, 2016 12:57 pm
Hi,
While checking up on my little garden patch today I noticed a bright red insect (wasp? – photo attached) flying around my zucchini plant, and frequently alighting on its leaves. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it before, and am curious what it might be. Your input would be appreciated.
Signature: George the Curious

Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Dear George the Curious,
This is a Squash Vine Borer, a harmless moth that mimics a stinging wasp quite effectively.  Squash Vine Borers lay eggs on squash and related plants.  The larvae are stem borers that will reduce the yield of plants, and in a worse case scenario, their feeding may result in the plants withering and dying.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: moth/wasp?
Location: Suburbs of Indianapolis
June 28, 2016 3:48 pm
I’d love help identifying this insect. It reminds me of a Scarlett Bodied Wasp Moth, but the coloring is a bit off. He lives somewhere in my backyard in Indianapolis, Indiana and frequents my vegetable garden.
Sorry the photos are grainy, he’s very fast.
Signature: Lauren G

Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Dear Lauren,
You were astute to suspect that though it is an effective wasp mimic, your Squash Vine Borer,
Melittia cucurbitae, is actually a moth, however it is from a different family than the Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth which is a Tiger Moth.  Your Squash Vine Borer is a Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae.  The individual in your image appears to be hovering near some squash leaves, probably to lay eggs.  The larva are stem borers and they may seriously compromise the yield of the plants in your garden.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: interesting flying red-orange bug with blue/grey vest
Location: Wisconsin, USA
June 26, 2016 9:32 pm
Hello bugman!
I encountered this guy earlier today buzzing around my milkweed and cucumbers. He was moving pretty quick just like the bees around him.
He/she was approximately 3/4″ long. Red orange in color with bright blue stripes closer the head. I’ve never seen another bug like it.
Asked a few friends and everyone is perplexed and very curious to know.
Thanks for your time. Can’t wait to find out what it might be!
Signature: Kelly

Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Dear Kelly,
This Squash Vine Borer is a moth from the family Sesiidae, a group that contains moths that benefit from their ability to mimic stinging wasps.  Your individual was visiting the milkweed to take nourishment from the nectar, but we believe this is a female due to her interest in the cucumbers.  She was probably laying eggs that will hatch into larvae that bore in the stems of squash and other plants in the family Cucurbitaceae, potentially causing the plants to die or at least reduce the yield.

Thank you so much for your quick response! I would have never guessed it was a vine borer! I will have to get out there and inspect my cucumber plant. It was a beautiful bug though. Too bad they are destructive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug??
Location: Tulum Mexico
February 14, 2016 9:21 pm
Please tell me what this funky bug is in my hotel room in tulum Mexico
Signature: Lisa k

Texas Wasp Moth

Texas Wasp Moth

Dear Lisa,
Though it looks like a wasp, the creature that visited you in your hotel room is a Texas Wasp Moth,
Horama panthalon, a harmless creature that mimics a stinging wasp in both its appearance and its diurnal habits.  Thanks to your submission, we were also able to identify this previously unidentified Texas Wasp Moth that has been in our archives since 2007.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination