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

Subject: Gorgeous Giant Ichneumon Megarhyssa
Location: Jonesboro, AR, USA
November 19, 2014 6:29 pm
Hello!
I found this lovely lady on my back porch today. We have had freezing temperatures lately and though it reached almost 50 degrees, I think she was pretty frigid. She was pretty easy to scoop up in some Tupperware. After some research I discovered she was harmless and about this time she warmed enough to begin trying to use her ovipositor on my Tupperware. Obviously, she never succeeded, but a couple of times she even tried beginning ‘unzipping’ her abdomen to begin laying eggs. Alas, she couldn’t figure out how to bore into plastic though so eventually gave up. I hope she was able to finish the process outside in spite of the dropping temperatures. I have seen many Ichneumon in our area, but never her particular species. I couldn’t get a good shot of the ruler, but from antenna to ovipositor she was about 5 inches.
Signature: Heather Buckholtz

Stump Stabber in captivity

Stump Stabber in captivity

Dear Heather,
A female Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber is an fearsome looking, yet harmless parasitic wasp.  Other than
Megarhyssa atrata, we are reluctant to attempt a species identification on members of the genus.

Linda Singleton, Sue Dougherty, Heather Buckholtz, Amy Gosch, Jacob Helton, Ria Diaz liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Evil Looking Wasp

Location: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
November 10, 2014 2:23 pm
Hi There,
We are on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and are planning on moving into a new apartment. These wasps were seen building a nest on one of the poles, and I’m just wondering
a) what are they?
b) is their sting as painful as it looks?
c) how would we exterminate them?
Thanks so much!
Signature: Concerned in Costa Rica

Warrior Wasps build new nest

Warrior Wasps build new nest

Dear Concerned in Costa Rica,
Regarding c):  We do not provide extermination advice.  We thought your wasps looked like Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes, and following that lead, we came to the Photo Gallery of Eusocial Paper Wasp Genera and Research page where Polistes atterimus (Monteverde, Costa Rica) is described as being “mimics of Synoeca septentrionalis,” so we followed up on that species and genus.  Of the genus, we learned on the same page, the Photo Gallery of Eusocial Paper Wasp Genera and Research, that “These wasps are infamous for their painful stings and ferocious colony defense. When mildly disturbed, they produce an ominous rushing sound, with synchronous rhythm, by rubbing against their corrugated nest paper. Watch out.”  We found an image of Synoeca cyanea on FlickR of the start of a new colony that looks remarkably like your image.  Though we typically do not quote from Wikipedia, we did learn there that members of the genus Synoeca, “Commonly known as warrior wasps or drumming wasps, these insects are known for aggressive behavior, a threat display consisting of multiple insects guarding a nest beating their wings in a synchronized fashion, and an extremely painful sting. Synoeca is one of only three insect types (the others being the bullet ant and the tarantula hawk) to receive a rating of 4 or higher on insect sting pain indices such as the Schmidt sting pain index.”  That takes care of your questions a) and b), and we found further support on the Vespa bicolor page where it states of the genus Synoeca:  “These wasps are known for their aggression, and also for their extremely painful stings (possibly most painful of any social wasps!) Upon any threat near the nest, the workers are able to produce sound by “drumming” on or rubbing against the inner surface of the nest envelope. If the disturbance continues, the wasps rush out and sometimes pursue the intruder for long distances.”

Thank you very much for the information. I have passed it along to my landlord :)

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar swarm in Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica higher elevation
October 31, 2014 9:12 am
These caterpillars(?) appear seasonally in the higher elevations in Costa Rica. (1500m/5000′ MSL). They are 3-4″ long and appear to burrow as a group in the ground (in our yard and surrounding farmlands).
We don’t know what they are (or whether they are a problem?) but they have a marvelous locomotion. They crawl on top of each other for awhile, then they all pause as if catching their breath, then resume. This video was taken on the road outside our house.
What are they and do they benefit or damage the plants and animals?
Signature: Bugged in Costa Rica

Sawfly Larva

Sawfly Larva

Dear Bugged in Costa Rica,
We do not believe these are Caterpillars.  We believe they are Sawfly Larvae, relatives of wasps and bees.  There are Australian Sawfly Larvae known as Spitfires that look similar.

Aggregation of Sawfly Larvae

Aggregation of Sawfly Larvae

Andrea Leonard Drummond, Nacho Gamboa liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?! Mutated wasp?!?! Please help!
Location: Windsor, ON Canada
October 27, 2014 12:49 am
Hi there! I’m from Windsor, ON Canada and I was raking leaves in my front yard today and this peculiar, very big and scary bug had landed on my arm. I immediately jumped and swatted it off and it landed on a leaf at my feet… My sister and I took a closer look because it appeared to be stunned or discombobulated so we took the opportunity to snap some photos and examine it. I have never seen a bug such as this, it looks like a mutated wasp and it bothers me to think there are more out there like this… I’m confused because it is now autumn and chilly where I live and most of the bees and wasps are no longer flying around for the season. I would really like to know what bug this is! It appeared to have a stinger, as well as some sort of tail? It did have black and yellow alternating stripes, long yellow legs and it was around 2 inches I would say.
Signature: Thanks so much!! -Sonia

Pigeon Horntail

Pigeon Horntail

Dear Sonia,
This Pigeon Horntail, which is sometimes called a Wood Wasp, is related to wasps, though Pigeon Horntails do not sting.  The female Pigeon Horntail uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs in dead and dying trees.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: TINY BEE?
Location: Fannie, Ark.
October 24, 2014 5:46 pm
This little bee (when I say little I mean smaller than the head of a pin) appeared in a photograph I took of another insect (Bluet). I literally could not see it until I had cropped the picture. It was on a Sicklepod Senna leaf. I didn’t think bees could get this tiny!
Signature: Bill

Chalcid Wasp

Chalcid Wasp

Dear Bill,
This is not a Bee, but rather a parasitic wasp in the family Chalcididae.  We believe we have identified it as
Conura amoena, and according to BugGuide:  “hosts: hairstreak butterflies (Theclinae).”  Most parasitic wasps prey upon the immature stages of insects, and we are guessing that this Chalcid Wasp was searching for caterpillars, though of the genus BugGuide notes:  “most attack Lepidoptera pupae; a few parasitize Coleoptera (Chrysomelidae, Curculionidae) and Diptera (Syrphidae); some are secondary parasites of Ichneumonidae and Braconidae.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this???
Location: South Texas
October 22, 2014 10:42 pm
I see these bugs all over my door at night where I live. What is it?? Do they bite/sting? Help..
Signature: Hannah Gohlke

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Hi Hannah,
This is an Ichneumon, a member of a large and diverse family of parasitic wasps.  Most Ichneumons are harmless, but some are capable of stinging, and this does appear to be on of those Ichneumons that sting.

Amy Gosch liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination