Currently viewing the category: "Clearwings"
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Clearwing Moth

Clearwing Moth

Subject: Unknown Wasp
Location: Brazoria County, Tx
October 14, 2014 10:03 pm
I took this photo on Oct. 13, 2014 while birding at San Bernard Wildlife Rufuge near Lake Jackson, TX on the Texas Gulf Coast. It was on a plant in a butter fly garden. Can you identify it for me?
Signature: Joe & Jane

Dear Joe & Jane,
Though it is a very effective wasp mimic, this is actually a Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae which has many members that benefit from looking and acting like wasps.  We need to rush off right now, so we can’t take the time to research the species, but you can try browsing the family on BugGuide to see if you can find a match.  Please let us know if you find something close.

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Subject: Small blue insect
Location: Memphis, TN
September 10, 2014 12:15 pm
I saw this fellow flying in my yard this morning. I don’t recall ever seeing one before. I reckon it was about an inch long. Any idea what this is?
Signature: William Cooper

Clematis Borer

Clematis Borer

Hi William,
Even though your insect has black wings, it is a member of the moth family Sesiidae, commonly called the Clearwings.  The members of the family Sesiidae are wasp mimics, and even though they cannot sting, they derive protection from their protective coloration and markings.  We first found a similar looking individual on the Moth Photographers Group that is identified as
Alcathoe caudata, the Clematis Clearwing Moth, and upon checking Bugguide we found a good match with Alcathoe carolinensis which is called the Clematis Borer.  The moths in the family Sesiidae have larvae that bore in woody plants, sometimes causing considerable damage, though the Clematis Borer might be unjustly tagged with an unfitting common name based on this BugGuide statement:  “Although other Alcathoe use species of Clematis (Ranunculaceae) as larval hosts, earlier reports of carolinensis on this host have been called into question and no Clematis species were found within 160 meters of the Tennessee collection site.” No larval host and no common name are included in the Butterflies and Moths of North America site.

That makes sense — the photo that I sent actually shows the insect on a clematis leaf!
Thanks!!  I enjoy the site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Ontario, canada
July 29, 2014 6:14 pm
Found this in my backyard, but have never seen it before.
Signature: Chelsea

Clearwing

Lesser Peachtree Borer

Hi Chelsea,
Though it resembles a wasp, this is actually a Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae, and many members of the family are effective mimics of wasps, a physical attribute that acts as protective mimicry.  The defenseless Clearwing will be avoided by many predators who have previously been stung by wasps.  Many Clearwings look similar, and we will attempt to identify your species later today as we now have some house keeping to which to attend.  You can see many examples of Clearwing Moths on BugGuide.
  Though we at first claimed we would attempt a more thorough identification later, we decided to give it a quick try, and we believe this is a Lesser Peachtree Borer, Synanthedon pictipes, based on images posted to BugGuide where it states:  “Larvae tunnel under the bark and in the twigs and branches of cultivated and wild peaches, plums and cherries (Prunus), Amelanchier, apples (Malus spp.) and pears (Pyrus) (all Rosaceae).”

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Subject: Found in garden
Location: Central Michigan
June 29, 2014 5:47 am
Hello, I found this in my garden. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Do you have any idea what it is? It is about 3/4 of an inch long.
Signature: David

Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Hi David,
We just posted another image of a Squash Vine Borer earlier today.  Your image is interesting in that it contains the exuvia of the pupa, indicating that your individual just emerged as an adult.

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Subject: Moth for ID
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
June 21, 2014 12:17 pm
Hello,
Well I looked at many websites to identify this orange and metallic blue wasplike moth I’ve recently seen on potato plants, but no luck! The leg uppers are heavily furred while the lower parts are black with white rings. The rear legs are heavily furred the entire length. Wings are slender metallic blue-black. It flies fast but can also hover. This picture was taken in Stittsville, Ontario on June 21, 2014. Thanks in advance for looking!
Signature: Claude

Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Hi Claude,
Do you also have squash or pumpkin plants in your garden?  This is a Squash Vine Borer,
Melittia cucurbitae, a diurnal species in the Clearwing family Sesiidae, a family that includes many species that mimic wasps very effectively.  The larvae are borers that will severely compromise the health of plants in the squash family Cucurbitaceae by boring in the stems.

Thanks so much for the ID!  Of course, yes I had squash vine borers last year on my squashes- I completely forgot what they looked like.  Thanks again, I’ll keep an eye out for the eggs and damage.  Last year I buried the squash leaf nodes which helped root the plant along the ground.  Nevertheless, there were a lot of very large grubs in the stems which were needled to kill them.
Cheers,
Claude

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Subject: Bug on my squash plants
Location: Copperas cove, Texas
May 29, 2014 9:23 pm
Saw this guy on my squash plants, we’re having a hard time keeping bugs from demolishing our garden without resorting to pesticides so we try to remove them individually. This little guy was just relaxing on a leaf and didn’t appear to be doing anything destructive and relocated to our corn to again just hangout it appeared. Any thoughts on what it is? Our google-fu is pretty weak bug wise and we got nothing that way.
Signature: Dave and Kara

Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Hi Dave and Kara,
If this Squash Vine Borer, a moth that mimics a wasp, lays eggs on your plants, her progeny will bore in the stems, compromising the health of your squash plants.  This article from The Urban Garden might provide you with some helpful tips.

Thanks! We’ve got some neem oil and orange oil to try and I got praying mantids today hopefully they’ll take care of them, I’ll definetly give the article a read!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination