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

Subject: Wasp ID and damage?
Location: North East NJ
September 4, 2016 9:49 pm
Hi Bugman, love the site, always informative and always entertaining. I cam across this wasp today. At first I thought perhaps it was a sand wasp and the protrusion on its face would help it dig, but the more I did research, the more I think it was some type of damage it received, (Not from me!)
Any idea of ID and if this was inflicted damage or a weird clypeus perhaps?
Signature: Thank you!!

Unknown Wasp with unusual Clypeus

Weevil Wasp with unusual Clypeus

Do you have any other images of this individual?  Perhaps a shot of the entire insect and a dorsal view?

Hi and thanks for the response!  I have two other shots, all from the side. I could not get a front shot due to the leaf and I did not want to disturb the wasp. Not knowing what type it was, I didn’t know it’s aggressiveness or habits. I will say the wasp was alive and did move slightly but not much at all for as close as I was. Perhaps dying? I could not find any other damage, or distinguishing features. I hope I attached the photos correctly. Thank you again!

Wasp with unusual Clypeus

Weevil Wasp with unusual Clypeus

Thanks for sending additional images.  We wanted to get an idea of the entire body structure of this unusual Hymenopteran.  Though we have searched for some time, including using the word “cowcatcher” to describe what appears to be an unusually structured clypeus, which we needed to look up on BugGuide, we have not had any luck locating anything similar looking.  We do not believe any damage or injury is evident.  The symmetry is too perfect.  We have written to Eric Eaton for assistance.  We are posting your submission and tagging it as unidentified and we hope to get back to you soon with an identification.

Wasp with unusual Clypeus

Weevil Wasp with unusual Clypeus

You rock! And I didn’t get intellectual enough to try ”Cowcatcher”. I did however try bee horn or wasp snout.  😊 Thank you for all your help. I love a mystery and your help is very appreciated. I also wondered if there was some kind of parasite that crawled out of there.

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
It is a species of Cerceris.  The females hunt weevils or jewel beetles as food for their larval offspring.
Eric

Ed Note:  Though Eric Eaton has provided us with the genus name Cerceris for the Weevil Wasps, we have not been able to verify a species identity based on the images posted to BugGuide which notes:  “The faces of females are modified with unusual projections on the clypeus and clypeal margin.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Most Cerceris species prey on adult beetles, but some also prey on bees and wasps. At least one species, C. halone, preys exclusively on acorn weevils (Curculio nasicus).”  According to InsectIdentification.org:  “”Members of the genus Cerceris are hunters and gatherers of weevils and other beetles.  Females dig nests in the ground along roads or in areas with loose sand or soil like basevall fields, parks and beaches.  They compact the material and create cells where they lay a fertilized egg.  They fly off, in search of future food for their larvae.  Female Weevil Wasps bite their prey and paralyze them.  The weevil or beetle is then brought back to the nest and stuffed inside a cell where they will remain paralyzed.  A hatching wasp larva will immediately begin feeding on the living, paralyzed weevil or beetle.  Once the wasp has grown, it will pupate into its adult form and leave the nest.  This BugGuide image looks close, but it is not identified to the species level.  After finding this BugGuide image, we are going to speculate this is Cerceris clypeata.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hornet / Wasp
Location: Grapevine Texas
August 30, 2016 4:13 pm
Found these 3 on my back patio and haven’t luck figuring out what they are. I have found similar looking ones but the sizes are always listed quite a bit smaller than these bad boys.
Signature: – Tegan

Cicada Killer Carnage

Cicada Killers found Dead

Dear Tegan,
Looking at your image of three dead Cicada Killers saddens us.  Cicada Killers are large and scary looking, but they are solitary wasps that are not aggressive towards people.  Cicada Killers prey upon Cicadas.  The female Cicada Killer stings and paralyzes her prey, which she then drags back to her subterranean nest to provide food for her brood.  We hope you will learn to tolerate Cicada Killers in the future.

Thank you for the info Daniel!  If it makes you feel better I did not kill them.  I came home from a trip and they had gotten through a hole in my screened in patio and were unable to escape.  Thanks again for taking the time to look at this!!!
– Tegan

Thanks for letting us know that this was NOT Unnecessary Carnage.

I won’t lie, they freaked me out a bit when I found them as I have never encountered wasps that big.  Glad to know I am not their prey :)  Hole in the screen is patched so hopefully it won’t happen again!  Thanks again for taking the time!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Subject:  Sand Wasps attracted to Mint
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 20, 2016
The mint is continuing to attract Honey Bees as well as Skippers, Marine Blues, Syrphid Flies and some gorgeous wasps, like this Sand Wasp in the genus
Bembix.  According to BugGuide, the habitat is “Usually sandy areas; nest holes are dug in the sand; best opportunity to observe individuals is on dunes or where vegetation is sparse.”  BugGuide continues:  “Females provision their nest with flies which the larvae feed on (a single developing larva may eat more than twenty flies)” and “Provisioning is progressive. The females provide a greater number of prey over subsequent days during larval growth. Adults are excellent diggers and can disappear below the surface of loose sand within seconds.”

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Nice Cicada-killer wasp with prey
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, US
August 11, 2016 3:38 pm
I actually have two of these in front of my door — one burrow is beneath a corner of my front walk, the other is apparently under a nearby holly tree. Here’s a pic I got of the former carrying a cicada
Signature: Dave H,

Cicada Killer with Prey

Cicada Killer with Prey

Dear Dave,
You don’t know how refreshing it is for us to receive an image of a Cicada Killer with its prey that we can tag with Food Chain as opposed to tagging it with Unnecessary Carnage since we receive so many images of dead Cicada Killers.  So many people have irrational fears about Cicada Killers, and we concur that they are large and quite formidable looking, but as the host to two underground broods, we would love to have you write back so we can verify to our readership that Cicada Killers are not aggressive toward humans.

A Facebook Comment from Wanda
In all my years of weeding and tending my Rain Garden, I have never – repeat never – been approached or threatened by a Cicada Killer Wasp, even those who were larger than my thumb! I can safely say the same for the other wasps in my garden: Northern Paper, Great Black, Great Golden Digger, Potter and others. They are all more interested in the nectar from the plants, especially the milkweed. I walk past them, they fly past me as I work, they don’t even land on me. I welcome them for the pollinating work they do.

Dave H. confirms Cicada Killer Docility
Subject: Re:  Indeed, Cicada-killers are quite mellow
August 12, 2016 11:42 am
I’ve watched them often as I stood outside smoking,  and they’ve never even made a warning swoop toward me.   Surely one of the biggest wasps most folks will encounter, but also one of the least dangerous.
While I’m at it, I just wanted to compliment that picture of a molting cicada — that one is truly spectacular, and the little girl in the background just underlines the wonder of the moment.
Signature: Dave Harmon

We agree that it is a wonderful image Dave.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large flying black and yellow insect
Location: Hamilton OH
August 6, 2016 8:38 am
Found this flying around our wood deck mid morning on Aug 6, 2016. My husband knocked it down with a flyswatter and trapped it in a peanut butter jar. Our five grandkids are fascinated and want to know what type of insect it is. My husband wants to know if it will destroy our deck.
Hope you can help!
Signature: T. Spears

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear T. Spears,
Your deck is safe from this Cicada Killer Wasp, a non-aggressive species that will basically ignore humans, though humans often kill them out of irrational fears.  The female Cicada Killer will excavate an underground nest that she provisions with paralyzed Cicadas that provide a living source of fresh meat for her growing brood.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Predation
Location: Andover, NJ
July 28, 2016 8:16 am
I was lurking around my butterfly garden this morning and happened to see this small wasp (Eumenine maybe?) subduing a large syrphid. Amazingly, the wasp took off with her prize with seemingly little effort!
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Square Headed Wasp preys upon Hover Fly

Square Headed Wasp preys upon Hover Fly

Good Mornind Deborah,
What an amazing image.  This is a Square Headed Wasp in the subfamily Crabroninae, and we believe that based on this image from BugGuide, that it is in the genus
Ectemnius.  According to BugGuide:  “most nest in decayed wood (logs, stumps), sometimes in sound wood; provision the nests with Diptera.”   The prey appears to be a Drone Fly.

Thanks so much, Daniel!  I was a bit off on my wasp ID, wasn’t I?  Even with multiple field guides, I still find it rather challenging to get the subfamily correct.  But it sure is fun trying!  I just wish our summers lasted longer – once winter comes, I’m lucky to find a shield bug.
Debbi

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination