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

Subject: Iridescent Green Insect – Maui
Location: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kealia_Pond_National_Wildlife_Refuge
June 27, 2016 10:53 am
Very active green insect in small groups on wood structures along the Kealia Pond boardwalk near Ma’alea, Maui, HI. Looks sort of like a cuckoo wasp but has enough differences to suggest some other species. Approximately 1″ (2.54cm) long. Active in daytime.
20.7963635,-156.4882661
Signature: T

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Dear T,
This is an Emerald Cockroach Wasp,
Ampulex compressa.  They are fascinating insects that are able to sting a Cockroach and turn it into a Zombie that can be led back to a nesting site where the female lays an egg on the paralyzed Cockroach which provides living food for her young.  Read our well researched posting to which we have linked for more information on this incredible parasitoid.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Zombie Wasp?
Location: Household basement of Pueblo, Colorado
June 25, 2016 7:27 am
Found this little guy in my grandmothers basement this morning. Now i’ve never been much of a bug enthusiast until I found this little guy and here is why. After flying through several cobwebs he tired out and hit the floor. After which my grandmother proceeded to try and kill it by stepping on it. after 4 attempts with a steel toe boot the creature revives itself after every attempt and walks off seemingly unscratched. The insect has a jet black body and dark blue wings with a body type very similar to a wasp. Though the actual head of the creature looks to be more like a fly. The insect also has 2 antennas that are curled at the ends. Any ideas about this small zombie?
Signature: Paranoid Captor

Spider Wasp

Spider Wasp

Dear Paranoid Captor,
This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompillidae, and it might be one of the Tarantula Hawks, perhaps
Pepsis mexicana which is pictured on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillars
Location: Anvik, Alaska
June 24, 2016 3:32 am
Hello im from Alaska and we just noticed all these caterpillars everything eating up all the leaves off of willows and trees.. It’s very on common for these to be around here. There trillions of them everything I mean every where. Please let us know if u know what they are. This spring there were millions of Moths flying around that was very weird and wasn’t common at all.
Signature: Kelly Kruger

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

Dear Kelly,
Alas, there is not enough detail in your images to tell for certain if these are Caterpillars, or as we suspect, Sawfly Larvae.  According to Insects.About.com:  “Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, which belong to the order Lepidoptera. Sawfly larvae look similar to caterpillars, but are an entirely different kind of insect. Sawflies are related to bees and wasps, and belong to the order Hymenoptera. Like caterpillars, sawfly larvae usually feed on plant foliage.  How can you tell the difference between a sawfly larva and a caterpillar? Count the prolegs. Caterpillars may have up to five pairs of abdominal prolegs (see parts of a caterpillar diagram), but never have more than five pairs.  Sawfly larvae will have six or more pairs of abdominal prolegs*. Another notable difference, though it requires a closer look, is that caterpillars have tiny hooks called crochets, on the ends of their prolegs. Sawflies don’t.  Another, less obvious difference between caterpillars and sawfly larvae is the number of eyes.  Caterpillars almost always have 12 stemmata, 6 on each side of the head. Sawfly larvae usually have just a single pair of stemmata.”  In two of your images, the camera is entirely too far away to see individual detail in these larvae.  In the one close-up image, the largest larva is partially out of focus, and the only other larva that can be viewed clearly is half cut off at the top of the frame.  We wish we could count the prolegs, though it really seems to us that there appears to be six pairs, which would make these Sawfly Larvae and not Caterpillars, but again, the image is too blurry at that critical part of the anatomy that we cannot be certain.  Additionally, we can find no images online of either Caterpillars or Sawfly Larvae that have this particular coloration and markings.  The jury is still out on your identification request.  Can you return to the willows and get a higher resolution, sharper image? or can you count the prolegs and get back to us?

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this bug ?
Location: valencia Spain
June 17, 2016 6:38 am
I found this morning on pepples in our garden …it is dead….it measures 5 cms.. its has a black body , prominent yellow markings on body and yellow head long brown wings and very hairy black legs… we live in Spain… any ideas??
Many thanks
Signature: Mandy

Mammoth Wasp

Mammoth Wasp

Dear Mandy,
This gorgeous creature is a Mammoth Wasp,
Scolia flavifrons, and in our opinion, they are much prettier alive than dead.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of insect is this??
Location: Arizona
June 17, 2016 4:20 pm
Found this bad boy buzzing around the cab of my truck and it just wouldn’t leave, now i am very curious as to what it is and if it is dangerous because i was sure acting like it haha.
Signature: Mark V

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Dear Mark V,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the family Sphecidae, and they are solitary and not aggressive.  It very much resembles the Great Golden Digger Wasp, but the coloration is wrong, especially in the face, so we believe it is a member of the same genus.  This image from BugGuide looks quite similar.  We will check with Eric Eaton to see if he can confirm our ID.

Eric Eaton Provides a Correction
Daniel:
I think the wasp in question is actually a female Prionyx foxi.  Great find if so, they don’t seem to be very common.
Eric

Ed. Note:  Here is the BugGuide page with additional images.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown insect
Location: Bay Area, California
June 14, 2016 2:45 pm
Hello,
Love this site and use it often! I got this photo from a co-worker and couldn’t identify it with my books or your posts. It was found on a backpack in early June. Is it some kind of horntail larvae?
I think you are out in the field, I look forward to your answer when you return. Thanks for your time!
Signature: Jess
Resource Analyst  | Stewardship
East Bay Regional Park District
Oakland, CA

Unknown Larva

Probably Longtailed Sawfly Larva

Dear Jess,
Thanks for your patience, though we received so much mail while we were away that we will never be able to respond to everything.  This looks nothing like the drawing of a Horntail larva pictured on Bug Eric.  It appears to have an ovipositor, and we are not aware of any larvae that possess an ovipositor.  Like you, we are stumped.  We will write to Eric Eaton to see if he can provide an identification.  For now, we will classify it as a Beetle Grub, but we are not convinced that this the appropriate classification.

Eric Eaton responds
Reminds me of a rat-tailed maggot, except those don’t have legs, which this one clearly does, plus a head capsule….I’m stumped, too.
Eric

Update:  As we await additional information from Jess, we are featuring this posting and requesting assistance from our readership.
Dear Jess, please provide us with any additional information, like size.  Also, was this discovery made on a backpack in the field, or was it shortly after an excursion?

Hello Daniel,
Thanks so much for your time on this! My co-worker is off at a conference, and didn’t provide a size. However, using his photograph of the backpack(see the blurry strap?);  it looks to be about 2.5-3 stitches long. I measured the reinforced stitches on my backpack and got approx. 8-10mm. When I first saw it and said it looked like a cricket larva, he said it was “a small cricket-size”. After review of cricket larva (no ovipositor) and rat-tailed maggots, I emailed. Maybe a female after a molt? But no wings….
He was out in the field, likely a grassland in one of our parks: Alameda or Contra Costa Counties of the East Bay.
Thanks to Eric for his time too.
I hope this helps,
Jess

Thanks for the information Jess,
Now that this request is back in our consciousness, we had a thought.  It reminds us of a Sawfly Larva, especially some Australian Sawflies, and sure enough, we found a Longtailed Sawfly in our archives that looks nearly exactly like your image.  Here is another image from the Australian Museum.  Now our mission is to see if any North American Sawflies have the long tail or if this might perhaps be an Australian introduction, a direction in which we are leaning as there are so many eucalyptus trees and other Australian fauna already naturalized in Southern California.  Now, going back to your original request, you suggested a Horntail Larva, and interestingly, Horntails and Sawflies are classified together as Symphyta which you may verify on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination