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

Subject: what’s this bug?
Location: southern california
April 20, 2014 6:25 pm
i’ve seen this bug 3 or 4 times while hiking dirt trails in the san gabriel mountains in southern california, in this month of april it’s a fast mover, approximately one-half inch long, and doesn’t seem to be hostile…seemed more intent on running away from anything put in it’s path. the actual red is very deep but i lightened the picture to help bring out detail…..
Signature: john roush

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Dear John,
We posted another image of a Red Haired Velvet Ant,
Dasymutilla aureola, earlier today, but the critter was rather small in the digital file, and though we requested a higher resolution image, it was not available.  This makes your submission even more desirable today.  Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps.  Do not try to handle a Velvet Ant as you will most likely be surprised by a very painful sting.  We have heard that Velvet Ants are capable of stinging through garden gloves.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Red Haired Velvet Ant
Location: Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, California
April 18, 2014
hello, what’s that bug? !
i know what this is called and saw it in Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, CA.
in “California Insects”, (Powell and Hogue) it is described as, “It is one of our commonest species, ranging widely in the Coastal Ranges”. however, i have only seen two before. do you think they are less common now?
thank you,
clare

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Red Haired Velvet Ant

Thanks for the image Clare.  Do you have a larger file?  According to BugGuide, the Red Haired Velvet Ant is Dasymutilla aureola, and it is reported from California and Oregon.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What insect is this?
Location: Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia
April 20, 2014 6:04 am
Hi there,
I came across this insect by some flowers in Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia. I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it, so I thought I’d see if you know. Thanks.
Signature: Chris

Possibly Carrot Wasp

Possibly Carrot Wasp

Dear Chris,
Of this we are certain:  This is a parasitic wasp that is classified as Parasitica or Parasitic Apocrita, which is not a true taxonomic category, but it is a means to group parasitic wasps together.  We believe it is a Carrot Wasp in the family Gasteruptiidae, which we identified on BugGuide, and then verified on the Atlas of Living Australia as being a family that is found in Australia.  We may be wrong, but the look of the hind legs and the antennae as well as the ovipositor are good indications that we are correct.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are predators or predators-inquilines (consume larval food, not the larvae) of other Hymenoptera that nest in twigs and in wood.”  The Atlas of Living Australia notes:  “Females oviposit in the nests of solitary bees (Apidae) and wasps (Vespidae) , where the larvae are predator-inquilines, eating the host egg or larvae and consuming the pollen store. Adult gasteruptiids may be seen on flowers or hovering near bare ground, logs or trees.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unidentified Bug
Location: Saigon, Vietnam
April 15, 2014 4:14 am
Can you identify this flying insect and where they are likely to have originated?
These were found in slatted crates in a shipping container from SE Europe. There were about 10 of these about 25mm long. Some were still alive and there was evidence of wood dust alongside.
April 2014.
Signature: K. Ginty

Wood Wasp

Wood Wasp

Dear K. Ginty,
This is a Giant Wood Wasp, and it resembles
Uroceros gigas, a species found in Europe.  Based on your observations, and the known habits of this species, it is highly likely that the individuals you found were imported with the crate and that they were most likely living as larvae in the wood when the crates were assembled.  There are, however, several subspecies found in Asia.  According to the Pest Reports EXPOR Database:  “Three subspecies of Urocerus gigas are found in Asia. U. g. gigas occurs in Russian Siberia and Kamchatka. U. g. orientalis occurs in China, Japan, Korea and Asian Russia (Far East, Kamchatka and Sakalin) and U. g. tibetanus is known only from Tibet (China).”  Despite there presence in Asia, it is our strong opinion that the specimens you found were imported.

Good evening Daniel,
Thank you for the quick response on this – mightily impressed.
I will tell my colleagues in Vietnam.
These scared them somewhat to say the least.
Thank you once again.
Regards
Kevin

You are most welcome Kevin.  Also, though it looks quite formidable, that ovipositor is harmless and to the best of our knowledge, the Giant Wood Wasp cannot sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please help me identify this bug.
Location: South Florida
April 12, 2014 7:44 pm
I live in South Florida and I keep noticing these bugs inside of our apartment. It just started happening around February. They have wings although I’ve never seen them fly. We get sprayed by the exterminator in our apartment so I think I’m seeing them after they have been poisoned. They also have long back legs. Please help! I have an infant and a two year old this worries me. Thanks !
Signature: Concerned Mom

Ensign Wasp

Ensign Wasp

Dear Concerned Mom,
You should be concerned, but not because of this insect.  This is a beneficial Ensign Wasp, a species that lays eggs on the oothicae or egg cases of Cockroaches.  Developing Ensign Wasp larvae eat Cockroach Eggs and unhatched nymphs, helping to control the Cockroach population naturally, without the use of pesticides.  These dead Ensign Wasps are either the result of collateral damage due to spraying for Cockroaches, or they are the result of bug phobia.  Some folks believe any bug in the home is a problem, resulting in unnecessary spraying of potentially, environmentally toxic chemicals.  We believe that the use of pesticides in the home is much more harmful to infants and toddlers than an encounter with a beneficial Ensign Wasp which is not capable of stinging nor biting a human.

Thanks so much for your reply. When we first moved into our apartment we found out it was infested with cockroaches. They tried several different sprays and treatments finally the apartments pest control sprayed a bed bug spray that was extremely strong smelling all through the house. I don’t see cockroaches anymore except dead on occasion, but I see these often. Does it mean I still have a cockroach problem too? Is this something I should consider breaking my lease for because of my children? Thanks again for your reply.

Hi again Concerned Mom,
We do not want to provide any advice regarding relocation, but we can provide you with additional information that might help you make up your own mind.  There are several studies that link Cockroach infestations to asthma in humans.  According to the American Lung Association website:  “Cockroaches, those unpleasant and unsightly pests, are not just a problem to look at. They also produce substances, or allergens, that aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to those substances. The allergens produced by cockroaches are likely concentrated in their fecal matter and in fragments of their body parts. These tiny particles can become airborne and contaminate the air in your home.”  The site has much more information on the relationship between Cockroaches and asthma.  The pesticides versus the cockroach infestation seems like a choice between the lesser of two evils, and there are probably differing opinions on which is worse.  The Ensign Wasp continuing to manifest its appearance in your apartment is a good indication that the Cockroaches are still present, albeit unseen.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Swarms of wood chewing bugs
Location: grand rapids, michigan
April 12, 2014 4:35 pm
At first glance I thought “carpenter ants,” but that’s only because we have a massive carpenter ant issue in our neighborhood. Upon taking a closer look, I realized that they were definitely not carpenter ants. They come in swarms of 20-50 and land on any exposed wood in the area. At first it seemed that they were just congregating, but I noticed that the totem pole I’d been carving was starting to look smoother… Like someone had come around and sanded it for me. Since Wednesday of last week I’d noticed that the entire pole was covered in these things, but was too busy with other things to look closer. Today I went out and got a good look, and it was pretty clear that their mandibles were working extra hard. They were gorging away. I’ve had no luck identifying them on my own, and more than anything I’m just really curious what they are. They don’t seem to come from any particular direction, one minute there’s none , and five minutes later there’s dozens of them. They aren’t the best flyers, and seem to land in the grass every few feet before launching off again.
Signature: dave

Sawfly Chews Wood!!!  But Why???

Sawfly Chews Wood!!! But Why???

Hi Dave,
We wanted to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion on this perplexing behavior prior to assembling the posting.  Chewing wood is generally a behavior associated with paper wasps and hornets that use the wood pulp in the construction of a nest.  The numbers of wasps you observed coming to your totem pole at the same time also implies that this is some type of social wasp, but it resembles a Wood Wasp more than a social wasp.  Here is what Eric Eaton wrote back.

Dolerus Sawfly chews wood, but why???

Dolerus Sawfly chews wood, but why???

Eric Eaton provided an identification, but cannot explain behavior
Daniel:
Ok, I can identify the wasps, but cannot explain the behavior….
The wasps are sawflies in the genus Dolerus (pretty sure anyway, definitely sawflies).  I’ll ask around and see if anyone can explain them flocking to a wood carving.
Eric

Sawfly attracted to wood shavings.

Sawfly attracted to wood shavings.

Update:  Thanks to Eric Eaton’s identification, we were able to locate an image of a Dolerus Sawfly on BugGuide that does indeed resemble the Sawflies in your images, and it is also crawling on some exposed wood.  There is no explanation regarding what is going on in these BugGuide images, nor in this BugGuide image.  This Cirrus Image website provides some information, including “Their flight is slow and clumsy, resembling that of a common firefly. Larvae feed on various grasses.”  But alas, there is no information on wood chewing activities.

Thanks for the identification!  Its quite odd, they definitely match the description, especially the clumsy flight.  On that note they certainly don’t fly together, they arrive one at a time within a minute or two of each other.  I had to take down some tree limbs today and sure enough the cut ends of the limbs were crawling with these guys within a few minutes.  The odd thing is they don’t interact with each other at all.  In fact it really looks like they are just sitting there.  If you get really close however, you can see their mandibles are hard at work.  They don’t really leave any marks, it seems that they just clean off any small dangling bits of wood.  Yesterday I noticed one had its abdomen curled down in an awkward position as though it was a bee trying to sting the wood.  But I haven’t seen any others do that.  But its like they can smell fresh cut wood for miles, because you won’t see them all day, but cut a log and they’re everywhere.
Thanks again!  You’ve definitely satisfied my curiosity, even if their behavior leaves a new mystery to solve.
Dave

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination