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

Subject: WTB
Location: Seattle wa
July 20, 2014 7:13 pm
found this in my backyard. there as only one that i have ever seen
Signature: Rae Ann

Horntail:  Urocerus albicornis

Horntail: Urocerus albicornis

Hi Rae Ann,
We are positively thrilled to be able to post your magnificent image of a very impressive Horntail,
Urocerus albicornis, a species with a range limited to the Pacific Northwest.  Horntails are classified in the order Hymenoptera which includes Ants, Bees and Wasps, but Horntails, which are frequently called Woodwasps, cannot sting.  The female uses her impressive ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the surface of trees or stumps, and the wood boring larvae feed on the wood.  According to BugGuide:  “hosts include fir, larch, spruce, pine, Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western red cedar.”  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “Some are serious pests of trees and spread as larvae with lumber trade.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange wasp? Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, MA
July 21, 2014 5:56 am
My niece was in Cape Cod last year and couldn’t identify what this (wasp?) is. I’ve never seen anything like it. She asked several scientists that were there too and they couldn’t either. I don’t know if any were entomologists. It was just hanging out on a picnic table I believe.
Signature: Joe

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Hi Joe,
We sincerely doubt that any of the scientists were entomologists, because even those that specialize in other insect orders should recognize a Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber in the genus
Megarhyssa.  Despite the formidable looking ovipositor, Giant Ichneumons are not aggressive and they are not capable of stinging humans.  With that stated, the ovipositor is used by the female to lay eggs beneath the surface of dead and dying trees and stumps that contain the wood boring larvae of Horntails and Woodwasps, so it might be possible for the ovipositor to pierce human skin, though we think it is highly unlikely for a Stump Stabber to mistake a human limb for an infested tree.  Several members of the genus look very similar, so we are reluctant to attempt a species identification.  Another distinctive member of the genus, Megarhyssa atrata, is our featured Bug of the Month for July 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mason Wasp?
Location: Western Pennsylvania
July 21, 2014 12:02 am
I found this on a walk through the woods today and after thorough investigation, I couldn’t quite find a match to any other wasp. The blue tinted wings and black/white body pattern lead me to believe it’s a mason wasp(?), although I don’t know enough about bees/wasps/hornets to confirm. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the legs and antennae were both bright yellow, which I have yet to see on a Google search of any other. Help me identify? Thanks!
Signature: c.g.

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Dear c.g.,
This is an Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, and though Sawflies are classified in the same order, Hymenoptera, as Wasps, they are not true wasps and they do not sting.  The larvae of the Elm Sawfly are frequently mistaken for Caterpillars.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s on the caterpillar?
Location: Southeastern Virginia
July 21, 2014 12:33 pm
A friend has a caterpillar in her garden and she found it like this today. It was fine a few days ago…What in the world is going on with it?
Signature: Crystal

Carolina Sphinx Before

Carolina Sphinx Before

Dear Crystal,
This caterpillar is a Carolina Sphinx or Tobacco Hornworm,
Manduca sexta, and they are frequently found feeding on tomato plants and related plants in the garden.  Your second image documents the results of a parasitization by a Braconid Wasp, Cotesia congregata.  The female Braconid lays her eggs inside the caterpillar using an ovipositor and the larval wasps develop inside the caterpillarfeeding on the caterpiller beneath its skin.  When the larvae mature, the make their way to the surface and spin cocoons, and that is what is shown in the second image.  The caterpillar will not live to maturity even if the cocoons are removed.  See BugGuide for additional information on the Braconid.

Carolina Sphinx parasitized by Braconids

Carolina Sphinx parasitized by Braconids

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big flying bug in western PA
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
July 19, 2014 11:06 pm
Hi – I’ve attached a photo of a flying bug that I found on my porch in Pittsburgh, PA. It was about two inches long – I’ve never seen anything like it ever.
Thanks!
Signature: Yinzer

Pigeon Horntail

Pigeon Horntail

Dear Yinzer,
This impressive creature is a Wood Wasp known as a Pigeon Horntail.  Your individual is a female and the organ that looks like a stinger is actually her ovipositor, which is used to deposit eggs  beneath the bark of dead and dying trees.  The larva are wood borers.  Pigeon Horntails do not sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: hamilton michigan united states
July 19, 2014 4:16 pm
This bug flew into our window when we drove into town …Kind of scary looking! what is it and should we be concerned?
Signature: Tammy Davis

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Hi Tammy,
This Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, is commonly called a Stump Stabber.  The female of the species possesses an ovipositor that can approach five inches in length which she uses to deposit her eggs deep beneath the surface of trees and stumps that are infested with the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  The larval Stump Stabber feeds on the Horntail larva and then pupates, emerging from the stump as a winged adult.  Male Stump Stabbers which lack the ovipositor, can sense the emergence of a female through the release of pheromones and will congregate and await her coming to the surface in order to mate.  You have nothing to fear from the Stump Stabber unless a female mistakes an arm or leg for an infested log.  Wasps do have mandibles, and since both male and female Stump Stabbers must chew their way to the surface of the stump they developed in, they might also bite a person, but we do not believe such a bite would hurt or cause any problem.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination