Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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Subject: What that bug
Location: Louisville, KY
April 17, 2016 6:17 am
What is this bug?
Signature: Email

Braconid Dead on a Fly Swatter!!!

Braconid Dead on a Fly Swatter!!!

Dear Email,
Though we find the composition and color palette of your image quite nice, we somehow can’t get past the content of the dead Braconid on a Fly Swatter.  Like their close relatives the Ichneumons, Braconids are parasitic on mostly insects but also on spiders and other arthropods, though they are generally very host specific, often to the species level.  Some Ichneumons are capable of stinging, and the same may be true for some Braconids, but not ones with highly evolved, penetrating ovipositors like the one on your specimen.  We believe your individual uses her ovipositor to deposit her eggs in the stem of a woody plant that is infested with the larvae of wood boring insects.  The black and red color pattern resembles this individual on BugGuide, though we are quite certain it is a different species.  We have to label this submission as Unnecessary Carnage, and we hope next time you encounter a Braconid, you will part ways unscathed.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp?
Location: 70363
April 15, 2016 7:12 am
We found this bug but not familiar with it
Signature: Ryan duthu

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Ryan,
Your wasp is a parasitic Ichneumon.  According to BugGuide, there are:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Velvet Ants!
Location:  Paso Robles, California
April 10, 2016
This one is from our house in Paso Robles. I decided to take its photo in the weeds, rather than move it to a nicer photo location 😀

Find the Velvet Ant

Find the Velvet Ant

Julian Donahue Responds
Glad it was useful; interesting differentiation between venom and pain.
Clare: your “velvet ant” picture looks like 100% vegetation–couldn’t make out the wasp at all! :-)
jpd

Dearest Clare,
We love your image, especially because many insects try harder to blend in than to stand out.  We have cropped your image for the internet so that we can challenge our readers to “Find the Velvet Ant” and we are going to try to identify your straw colored
Dasymutilla species.  Perhaps we will just challenge our readers to “Find the Name of the Velvet Ant” after they have located the Hymenopteran in your image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red ant locking bug with black legs
Location: Corona, CA
April 10, 2016 11:14 pm
I found this little bug yesterday in the Cleveland National Forrest, Corona, CA. Can you tell what is it?
Signature: Peter

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear Peter,
This is a flightless female wasp known as a Velvet Ant and she is reported to have a very painful sting.  Your Velvet Ant is in the genus
Dasymutilla, possibly Dasymutilla aureola pacifica based on this BugGuide image, though we suspect dissection of the genitalia may be the only way to properly determine the species.  The species may be identified, according to BugGuide, because “Females (wingless): Covered with red vestiture; thorax as broad as long, and the head is broader than the thorax.”  Perhaps it is the camera angle, but the head on your Velvet Ant does not appear to be broader than the thorax.  Perhaps based on this BugGuide image, your Velvet Ant might be Dasymutilla vestita.  We include the Velvet Ant on our Big Five link of “Bugs” that may result in an extremely painful and/or possibly deadly encounter, though that deadliness is far more likely to occur in the “Bug” than the human.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ant/wasp…i dunno
Location: Zimbabwe, Harare
April 10, 2016 3:05 am
Hi bugman
I found this bug i’ve never seen before. Actually it found me…ouch! Please let me know what it is.
Thanks
Signature: R.C

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Dear R. C.,
Though they are commonly called Velvet Ants in North America, members of the family Mutillidae are actually wasps.  Males are winged and look like typical wasps, but flightless female Velvet Ants more closely resemble Ants.  Velvet Ants are reported to have a very painful sting.  If you are interested, our good friend Lepidopterist Julian Donahue just forwarded us this marvelous link to BBC Earth regarding Velvet Ants.

Thanks Daniel!
Very informative article.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Need help with ID
Location: Flower Mound, TX
April 9, 2016 8:01 pm
I saw this today on my back patio. I tried searching the internet, but I can’t find anything to definitively identify. Its behavior was odd … pincers opening and closing, legs moving in and out, abdomen raising and lowering. It also ended up on its back shortly after the pics were taken still performing the sane actions.
Signature: Kari

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Dear Kari,
This is an Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, a non-stinging relative of bees and wasps.  There is some variability in the coloration, but this BugGuide image is a good color match to your individual.  We don’t know what caused the unusual behavior that occurred just before death, perhaps it was just the death throes. 

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination