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

Subject: Big bee/wasp
Location: South central indiana
April 28, 2016 7:40 pm
We had this big bee/wasp fly into our home. It almost was if he was drunk. He would fly into a corner than crash to the ground. Then lay for a few minute. Get up and fly for ten seconds then crash.
We are in south central Indiana.
Signature: Paul

European Hornet

European Hornet

Dear Paul,
This is a European Hornet,
Vespa crabo, and judging by the time of year, the circumstances under which you found her, and her behavior, we believe she is a Queen who just ended her hibernation and is about to begin a new colony.  You should release her.  You can read more about European Hornets on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: scary, shiny black insect with yellow antennae
Location: Fayette County, Illinois
April 25, 2016 11:47 am
I came across this scary looking, very shiny dark blue/black insect with yellow legs and antennae while mushroom hunting in April. I had my camera ready and he was very cooperative, although afterwards I realized I probably shouldn’t have been so close. I have tried to google his description but I can’t find anything that looks exactly like him. I’m very curious. Any help would be appreciated!
Signature: Jilla Young

Sawfly

Sawfly

Dear Jilla,
This is an Elm Sawfly, and it appears to be on an elm twig.  The Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, is the largest North American Sawfly.  Though it is related to stinging bees and wasps, it is incapable of stinging, so though it appears formidable, it is actually quite harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tarantula Hawk Long Beach
Location: Long Beach CA
April 20, 2016 2:49 pm
Hi, I first saw one of these beauties scouring my yard in the early mornings and late afternoons 3 years ago. I could not find anyone who’d seen one here and my tentative identification of Tarantula Hawk seemed insane. But they keep showing up the 2nd-3rd week of April every year and my neighbors are seeing them now too.
I notice you said you’d never seen one in Mt. Washington and assumed this was because their prey had diminished. That’s my REAL question. Since they are successfully reproducing, I wonder what kind of spiders are also making a comeback? Is my yard home to tarantulas? Trapdoors?
I’m about 10 blocks from the ocean and quite a ways between both rivers. I think tarantula were native here before urbanization and, well, every year now is the hottest year on record…
Incidentally, I think their behavior (the females) is noteworthy for identification purposes. They are OBSESSED. They fly very low over grass, or run around cracks in concrete, over and over and over for a couple of hours every day and return to the same place the same time the next day. They take off in a hurry at my approach but immediately return to their task. I suspect they divvy up territory and I’m seeing the same wasp return to the same place? (There’s a different spot in my front yard that attracts another). I THINK the occasional stray that cruises in, flies higher, lights on a branch or just plain doesn’t appear to have OCD disorder is the male hoping to get lucky? I’ve spent lots of time observing them, but I’ve yet to figure out where they go when they’re not hunting (do they live in the ground too?) or see one catch a spider.
Signature: Curious

Spider Wasp

Spider Wasp

Dear Curious,
To the best of our knowledge, only two genera from the Spider Wasp Tribe Pepsini are officially Tarantula Hawks.  We believe your have a member of the tribe, possibly
Calopompilus pyrrhomelas based on this BugGuide image and others posted to the site.  The brown tips on the wings is similar to your individual.  According to BugGuide, the prey for the species is this Trapdoor Spider.  Despite the similarity in coloration, we believe your individual is a Spider Wasp, but not the more specific Tarantula Hawk.  Arachnoboards has an interesting discussion regarding Tarantula Hawks in Long Beach.

Thank you so much. They may “belong” here, but no one I know has ever seen one and suddenly they’re enjoying a population boom. Don’t know if its a comeback, or they arrived on native plants, or they abandoned a habitat that’s gotten too hot. But we apparently have the spiders they need!
I’m normally paranoid of wasps due to allergies, but these aren’t even slightly aggressive. I’ve gotten to watch them so closely because they fly in easy range of my fascinated cats, so I supervise the cats’ outdoor time in order to stop them from pouncing on the wasps.
I’m attaching a better photo, and if I ever catch sight of the the trapdoors, will try to pass along a photo of them.
Your service is fantastic!

Spider Wasp

Spider Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What that bug
Location: Louisville, KY
April 17, 2016 6:17 am
What is this bug?
Signature: Email

Braconid Dead on a Fly Swatter!!!

Braconid Dead on a Fly Swatter!!!

Dear Email,
Though we find the composition and color palette of your image quite nice, we somehow can’t get past the content of the dead Braconid on a Fly Swatter.  Like their close relatives the Ichneumons, Braconids are parasitic on mostly insects but also on spiders and other arthropods, though they are generally very host specific, often to the species level.  Some Ichneumons are capable of stinging, and the same may be true for some Braconids, but not ones with highly evolved, penetrating ovipositors like the one on your specimen.  We believe your individual uses her ovipositor to deposit her eggs in the stem of a woody plant that is infested with the larvae of wood boring insects.  The black and red color pattern resembles this individual on BugGuide, though we are quite certain it is a different species.  We have to label this submission as Unnecessary Carnage, and we hope next time you encounter a Braconid, you will part ways unscathed.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp?
Location: 70363
April 15, 2016 7:12 am
We found this bug but not familiar with it
Signature: Ryan duthu

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Ryan,
Your wasp is a parasitic Ichneumon.  According to BugGuide, there are:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Velvet Ants!
Location:  Paso Robles, California
April 10, 2016
This one is from our house in Paso Robles. I decided to take its photo in the weeds, rather than move it to a nicer photo location 😀

Find the Velvet Ant

Find the Velvet Ant

Julian Donahue Responds
Glad it was useful; interesting differentiation between venom and pain.
Clare: your “velvet ant” picture looks like 100% vegetation–couldn’t make out the wasp at all! :-)
jpd

Dearest Clare,
We love your image, especially because many insects try harder to blend in than to stand out.  We have cropped your image for the internet so that we can challenge our readers to “Find the Velvet Ant” and we are going to try to identify your straw colored
Dasymutilla species.  Perhaps we will just challenge our readers to “Find the Name of the Velvet Ant” after they have located the Hymenopteran in your image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination