Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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.

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

Subject: Chalcid wasps from katydid eggs
Location: Kirksville, Missouri
April 10, 2014 1:02 pm
I discovered your site last fall in my search to identify some katydid eggs attached to a sweet gum ball. I kept the eggs on my desk in the hopes of seeing katydids hatching, but ended up having parasitized eggs–I had about a dozen chalcid wasps emerge from the eggs. Sadly, they didn’t survive.
I used this site and bugguide to figure out that they were chalcid wasps, but I’d like to narrow down the identification if possible.
Thanks!
Signature: AC Moore

Katydid Eggs Parasitized by Chalcid Wasp

Katydid Eggs Parasitized by Chalcid Wasp

Dear AC Moore,
We actually found your answer much faster than we anticipated.  We found this posting to BugGuide of Parasitized Katydid Eggs and a comment reads:  “The holes you are seeing are actually the emergence holes of wasps that parasitize the eggs of katydids. The wasps produce these circular holes to escape the confines of the egg in which they develop. When a katydid hatches it splits the side of the egg open. I know wasps in the genus
Anastatus (Eupelmidae) and Baryconus (Scelionidae) attack katydid eggs having reared some myself.”  We then searched for images of wasps in the two mentioned genera, and this image of a Baryconus species on zsi.gov looks nothing like your wasp, however the Anastatus that is pictured on BugGuide looks very much like your wasp.  You are correct.  It is a Chalcid.

Anastatus species Chalcid Wasp

Anastatus species Chalcid Wasp

Anastatus species Chalcid Wasp

Anastatus species Chalcid Wasp

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s yellow and black and has a long stinger?
Location: Singapore
April 7, 2014 10:57 pm
Hello!
I’m in Singapore and last night I looked down to find an insect crawling on my shoulder. (I was in bed, so…that was not fun.) It’s about the size of my thumb’s distal phalanx bone, and the stinger(?) looks quite long. Please help, I’m hoping it’s not a wasp!
Thanks for reading~
Signature: Jamie

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Jamie,
This is a Parasitic Wasp known as an Ichneumon, and for many years we claimed that Ichneumons did not sting.  What you have taken for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female Ichneumon.  We later learned that some Ichneumons are capable of stinging humans, but they are a rarity among the large number of members in the family.  According to BugGuide:  “arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”  As a side note, the stinger in bees and wasps is a modified ovipositor that has adapted to multitasking:  laying eggs as well as stinging potential threats.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the identification, and it’s good to know it’s unlikely to have stung me since it wasn’t that big! (I let it go later as well, so now I don’t have to feel too bad about letting a potentially harmful insect go around my place.) Also, huh, I always thought the stinger for bees/wasps was specifically for stinging. The more you know…!
Thanks again so much!
Cheers,
Jamie

Hi Jamie,
We should clarify one matter regarding the stingers of Bees and Wasps.  Generally, social species have a queen and workers with the workers being sterile females.  The stingers of the sterile, social workers, including Honey Bees and Hornets, only serves as a stinger.  In those cases, the modification that has evolved is no longer capable of multitasking.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Winged bug with a hard exoskeleton
Location: Suburban Philly, PA
April 7, 2014 11:53 am
Hi bugman! I’ve seen several of these bugs since moving into my apartment in suburban Philadelphia in 2007, although I usually find them dead under the TV stand. This guy, and one of his relatives a few days before, were alive. His relative was on my screen door at night (attracted to the light, maybe?) and was a lighter yellow color, while this guy is darker and managed to make it inside to the front window. After I snapped this photo he started flying around torturing my cat, so I whacked him with a flip-flop (I’m sorry! I don’t usually kill) and he had an incredibly hard exoskeleton – all my weight didn’t kill him. If he’s not dangerous, I’m content to try and catch them and put them outside if I ever find any more. Do you know what he is? We’ve had typical spring weather for the last few days – cool at night, warmish and alternating between damp and sunny during the day. Some of them (not this guy, but others) look like th ey have a large stinger.
Signature: Colleen

Possibly Scorpionfly

Nocturnal Ichneumon

Dear Colleen,
We are not certain of the identity of this insect, but our best guess is a Scorpionfly or other member of the order Mecoptera.  It looks somewhat like this member of the family Panorpodidae that is pictured on BugGuide.  We will try to get another opinion.

Eric Eaton provides a correction
Daniel:
That is one of the nocturnal ichneumon wasps.  Not enough detail to place to subfamily, let alone genus, species.
Eric

Daniel,
Thank you SO much! A quick Google search of Ichneumon wasps makes me think Eric was right. Good to know that’s an ovipostor and not a stinger. Looks like my kitty cat is safe :) Again, thanks – I didn’t expect such a quick reply!
~Colleen

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination