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

Subject: Identify Wasps
Location: South Central MN
July 30, 2015 7:54 am
Since 2013 I’ve been caring for a large rain garden on Faribault County, MN. The pollinators have been late to return, but now I have several of them and of large size, too. I took some photos yesterday and include three below, which to my untrained eye look like wasps. They have never gone after me, even when I’ve been working in the garden, preferring instead to to move from blossom to blossom.
Image 1 is pictured on the leaf of an achemilla plant. I rarely see this wasp, so for me this was a lucky shot.
Image 2 was a surprise close-up. It looks very much like Image 3 along the abdomen but the head is different in color and markings. To my eye the antennae also differ.
Image 8196 is the most common in my garden. These vary in size from small to as big as my pinky. Right now they are in the large range, approaching thumb size. They are are hefty in weight; blossoms droop when they land on them. They seem to favor milkweed and ratibida (yellow coneflower).
There are a couple others I see now and again, such as the the Great Black and a red version of same with black tip on base of abdomen.
Then there’s one with long legs that trail in flight, though I’ve not been able to capture a photo. Again, I feel safe enough in my garden; I do my weeding thing and they do their thing on the blossoms. I wear a hat and long sleeves with gloves, which I think helps.
Can you identify them? Are they native or exotic?
Thank you.
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Unknown Wasp

Potter Wasp

Goodness Wanda,
There are at least ten times more words in your request than in most of the phrases we generally receive.  We miss the chatty identification requests from days gone by before everyone was able to connect to the internet with cellular telephones and people began to forget how to write.  Your first Wasp is not something we immediately recognize, though we suspect it is a Potter or Mason Wasp.  It looks very similar to this 
Ancistrocerus adiabatus posted to BugGuide.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Your second Wasp is a Paper Wasp in the genus Polistes, and a quick glance at BugGuide has us believing it is the Northern Paper Wasp,  Polistes fuscatus.  According to BugGuide:  “Adult P. fuscatus feed mainly on plant nectar. The species is considered insectivorous because it kills caterpillars and other small insects in order to provide food for developing larvae. Foragers collect various prey insects to feed to the larvae. The wasp then malaxates, or softens the food and in doing so absorbs most of the liquid in the food. This solid portion is given to older larvae and the liquid is regurgitated to be fed to younger larvae. (Turillazzi and West-Eberhard, 1996)”

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Your hefty behemoth is a magnificent Cicada Killer, and your indication that there is a significant population of them indicates a ready food supply for the larvae.  Female Cicada Killers sting and paralyze Cicadas to provision an underground nest.  There is one generation per year and where they are found, Cicada Killers make seasonal appearances.  None of your wasps are considered aggressive.  Thanks again for your entertaining submission.  Your rain garden sounds like it has a very healthy ecosystem.

Sue Dougherty, Ann Levitsky, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A beautiful type of wasp?
Location: Phoenix arizona
July 28, 2015 6:02 pm
I found this awesome little dude in my laundry room and I’m dying to know what they are.
Signature: Brooke c

Western Cicada Killer

Western Cicada Killer

Dear Brooke,
This positively gorgeous wasp is a Western Cicada Killer,
Specius grandis.  Though Cicada Killers are not aggressive and we have not gotten any legitimate documentation of a person being stung by a Cicada Killer, the possibility does exist and we imagine a person might be stung if carelessly handling a Cicada Killer.  We get many more identification requests for the Eastern Cicada Killer, and images of Western Cicada Killers are not too common in our archives.

Ann Levitsky, Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug
Location: Lake Kiowa, TX
July 4, 2015 4:20 pm
Hi Bugman!
My kids & I are visiting north Texas and we came across this extremely large flying bug. I’m including 2 pics, one for scale.
Signature: Curious Traveller

Deceased Cicada Killer

Deceased Cicada Killer

Dear Curious Traveller [sic],
This magnificent Cicada Killer looks quite dead and we can’t help but to wonder what happened during your encounter to take it from being an “extremely large flying bug” to one that will fly no more.  Cicada Killers are not aggressive and we have never received an authenticated account of a person being stung by a Cicada Killer.

Thanks for the response. My youngest daughter was in my parents’ backyard playing frisbee with her cousins when the cicada killer was spotted. She ran in to get me (terrified), and by the time I got out there, one of her cousins had killed it.
Thank you for your help identifying it. We are better informed now!

Sally Hodges, Jessica M. Schemm, Bonnie Whitt, Marieke Bruss liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp bumblebee hybrid
Location: Louisiana
June 28, 2015 7:39 pm
I saw a half wasp half bumblebee bodied flying insect today. What is this thing called and what is its potency when stinging.
Signature: Glf1sse

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear Glf1sse,
Though your image is very blurry, we are quite certain that this is a Cicada Killer, a large wasp that preys on Cicadas.  This is our first posting of a Cicada Killer this year, though we still have two weeks of identification requests to attempt to answer, and there may be an image of a Cicada Killer there.
  We have no confirmed reports of anyone being stung by a Cicada Killer, a non-aggressive species.

Heather Duggan-Christensen liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Pollinator for Orange Coneflower
Location: North Carolina, United States (near Chapel Hill)
September 14, 2014 8:36 am
Hello, I have recently been studying bugs and have been unable to identify the little bugger you see below. The bug itself seems to hang around the orange coneflower (rudbeckia fulgida) quite a bit and always lands on the outer extensions of the head of the flower before heading to the center portion. Thanks!
Signature: Connor McFadden

Possibly Square Headed Wasp

Possibly Square Headed Wasp

Dear Connor,
Your image is not sharp enough to be certain, but we believe this might be a Square Headed Wasp in the subfamily Crabroninae, and it looks similar to this image posted to bugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: rose borer wasp?
Location: Floyd County Virginia
August 6, 2014 11:45 am
Cutting off some sickly stems of my knockout roses, I found the stem (about 1/2″ in diameter) to be hollow inside. I slit the stem lengthwise and found these guys inside. I looked them up using whatever search terms I could think of, but found nothing similar. The wasps (?) are about 1/4″+ in length, and they appeared to be newly “fledged”…just beginning to spread their wings. Perhaps they were about ready to bore their way out, having passed through their larval stage?
Signature: Laurel Pritchard

Small Carpenter Bees

Square Headed Wasps

Hi Laurel,
We didn’t think these seemed like the usual suspects, Small Carpenter Bees in the genus
Ceratina, so we checked with Eric Eaton.  Here is his response.

Eric Eaton identified Square Headed Wasps
Daniel:
These are square-headed wasps, family Crabronidae, and probably Ectemnius continuus.  They nest in pith like small carpenter bees, certain mason bees….but they stock the tunnels with paralyzed flies as food for their offspring.  So, still beneficial, just in a different way.
Eric

Square Headed Wasps

Square Headed Wasps

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination