Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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Subject: What’s that wasp?
Location: Seattle. Can be more specific if need be.
April 25, 2015 2:37 pm
Picture taken in Seattle at a park. Wasp is apparently eating the other bug. The profile and colors don’t match I’ve found, but it does resemble an ichneumon somewhat. Your idea as to species?
Signature: Roger

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber with Prey

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber with Prey

Dear Roger,
This is a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber,
Sceliphron caementarium, and you can verify our identification on BugGuide where it states:  “Adults nectar at flowers; mud nests are built in all kinds of sheltered locations, incl. man-made structures, rock ledges, etc. Adults collect mud for nests at puddle/pool edges.  Food nests are provisioned with spiders.”  Your individual is not feeding, but rather capturing prey with which to provision its nest, so they prey is likely a Spider.

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Subject: Caterpillars in Costa Rica
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
April 24, 2015 10:28 am
What are these caterpillars, what are they going to turn into, why do they clump like this, and why does one (lower right) appear to have white things on it?
Signature: Ashley from the Monteverde Institute

Nymphalidae Caterpillars

Moth Caterpillars

Dear Ashley,
We believe these Caterpillars are in the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae, and the caterpillar in question appears to have been parasitized by a Chalcid or Braconid Wasp.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can identify the caterpillars more specifically.

Nymphalidae Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Moth Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Keith Wolfe provides a correction
Hi Daniel,
Nope, these are immature moths, the scoli (spines) being much too long for any Neotropical nymphalid.
Best wishes,

After Keith Wolfe’s correction, we are now speculating that they are relatives of Buck Moths in the subfamily Hemileucinae and we will see if Bill Oehlke can provide any information.

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Subject: huntsman
Location: Perth,Western Australia
April 16, 2015 6:30 am
I just sent you a msg re-paraylised huntsman on my windowsill and didnt have the link to send a photo so here they are.
What can i do with it?

Subject: Huntsman Spider
April 16, 2015 6:02 am
I live in western Australia. Huntsman spiders are common but never really seen in my area, however with the change in weather in the last week i’ve seen 2 being dragged by wasps. One made it back to its nest while the other couldn’t quite get it up the wall into the tiny hole. Now i have a paraylised huntsman sitting on my windowsill and have no idea what to do with it. Can you help?
Signature: zoe

Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider

Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider

Dear Zoe,
Female Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae sting and paralyze Spiders to feed their young, laying an egg on the paralyzed spider which provides living and fresh (not dead and dried out)
food for the developing larva that eats its still living meal.  Your letter did not indicate why the Spider Wasps left behind the spiders, but we would urge you to not interfere in the future if that is what happened.  It takes tremendous effort for a female Spider Wasp to provide for her brood.  If enough venom was injected into the spider, it will most likely not recover.  We have numerous postings from Australia of Spider Wasps and Huntsman Spider prey.

Hi Daniel, thank you for your reply. My apologies, I had sent 2 different questions the second just contained photo’s. I can promise I didn’t interfere with anything. I seem to have nesting’s of wasps under the house and also in the roof.  The wasp simply gave up trying to pull the huntsman up the wall. It went up and down 3 times, nearly getting there on the 3rd attempt but seemed to give up and left it on the windowsill. I know its pretty much a lost battle for the huntsman and I have left it alone incase the wasp came back but it has not. So I guess my question is what to do with the paralysed but still living spider on my window? What do you suggest?

We would let nature take its course because we are guessing it is on the outside.

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Subject: Big red looking ant.
Location: Kingsport, Tennessee, USA
April 10, 2015 2:04 pm
I fould a red/scarlet ant looking insect on my porch. It has black and white stripes on the bottom of it. It’s about the size of a fingernail. It’s spring time. I have never seen anything like this insect before. I don’t know if it’s an ant or not. I would really appreciate it if you could answer my question. What is it? Thank you.
Signature: Ashley

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Ashley,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp that is reported to have an extremely painful sting.  Based on this BugGuide image, it might be
Dasymutilla scaevola.

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Subject: Stinging bug
Location: colorodo
April 7, 2015 8:55 pm
got stung in the leg. Never seen a bug like this before.
Signature: kW

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Short Tailed Ichneumon

Dear kW,
We believe your parasitic Ichneumon Wasp is a Short Tailed Ichneumon in the genus
Ophion, one of the few genera in the family known to sting.  The sting is not considered dangerous.  According to BugGuide:  “Most all Ophion larva are parasites of caterpillars.”

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Subject: some sort of pupae? larvae?
Location: Missouri, United States
April 1, 2015 11:34 pm
found these while digging out at our pond. I suspect they were underground and I dug them up. I picked them out of the water and returned back to the house to investigate them.
P.S. if you’re wondering why I’m digging the pond, it dried up and now has a hard time staying full of water. if I don’t dig it, the tadpoles can’t mature! :(
Signature: Michael

Possibly Horse Fly Puparia

Possibly Horse Fly Puparia

Dear Michael,
We are guessing that these might be the Puparia of Horse Flies.  Many Horse Flies have aquatic larvae.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae found in streams, ponds, and marshes, especially along the edges and in the sea shore.”
  Flies have an interesting metamorphosis process, and the pupa is encased in a puparium.  Though the information is about Blow Flies, the USA.Gov Visible Proofs Forensic Views of the Body page states:  “The larvae becomes shorter and stouter and the outer cuticle (skin layer) of the larvae hardens into the puparium and slowly darkens over a period of about 10 hours.”  We have several images of Horse Fly larvae on our site, and we cannot locate matching images to substantiate our guess at this time, but we are going to seek a second opinion.

Horse Fly Puparia, we believe

Horse Fly Puparia, we believe

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
Don’t think they are horse fly puparia.  Almost remind me more of wasp larvae inside….How long has the pond been dry?

Thanks Eric,
Good question. I will write back and ask.  You think a wasp that digs a hole as a nest?

There are hundreds of species of solitary wasps that dig burrows for nests.  If the puparia were large, I’m thinking cicada killer or horse guard.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Michael provides additional information
it’s certainly possible they could be wasps, the pond has been dry since late last year and only recently started filling up from the rains this year. I wonder what sort of wasp though, very interesting.

unfortunately I cannot, I already threw them away. but I’d say the biggest was about the length of a nickel if that helps at all.

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