Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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Subject: pearly abdomen
Location: trinidad and tobago
August 20, 2012 11:16 am
this guy is just hanging out on the wall in my staircase…what is it?
Signature: danielle

Unknown Wasp

Hi Danielle,
We have been away from the office for three days and email requests have really piled up.  Identifying your wasp might take considerable research and we will have to return to that task.  The photo and creature are amazing looking and we want to post it as unidentified for now.  Hopefully one of our readers, who does not have several hundred emails to answer and make posts of the most interesting of them, can assist with the identification.

Karl identifies Nocturnal Paper Wasp
Hi Daniel and Danielle:
It looks like a Nocturnal Paper Wasp (Vespidae: Polistinae), probably in the genus Apoica.  As far as I can tell there are three species of Apoica in T&T (A. pallens, A. gelida and A. pallida). I am not sure which one this might be but it looks very similar to A. pallens, a species that occurs throughout much of Central and South America, and the Caribbean region.  Regards.  Karl

Thanks Karl,
As always, you are awesome and your contributions are greatly appreciated.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp Id?
Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
August 12, 2012 6:45 pm
Dear Bugman,
What kind of bug is this?
Signature: ???

Thyreodon atricolor

Hi Chris,
This is a parasitic Ichneumon,
Thyreodon atricolor.  According to BugGuide:  “Although most members of the huge family Ichneumonidae are difficult to identify, this large species is an easily recognized, day active, slow flying parasitoid of sphinx moth caterpillars.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this fly or bee dangerous to homeowner?
Location: South Eastern Massachusetts (Cape Cod)
August 12, 2012 5:28 pm
Hi guys!
This little fella is about 1/4 inch long and seems docile enough, but a client has several of them (she calls it an infestation – I counted six) in an enclosed entryway into her beachside, Cape Cod home. She thinks they are entering through the floorboards and that they burrow in the sand. I saw no evidence of burrowing. She is considering major renovations and other drastic measures. I would like to identify this insect, its food source and be able to tell her that tearing out the floor is not an answer and that they are not dangerous to humans. Can you help me out? Thanks again!
Signature: Tim Crowninshield

Chalcid Wasp

Dear Tim,
This is exactly the kind of letter we enjoy researching.  You have provided us with plenty of information as well as excellent photographs.  Additionally, you seem genuinely interested in learning about this creature to prevent its needless elimination.  We could tell immediately that your insect was a Chalcid Wasp, a group of parasitic hymenopterans, but we needed to identify it so that we could provide more specific information.  According to BugGuide‘s superfamily page on Chalcid Wasps:  “most parasitize eggs or immature stages of other insects or arachnids” and “Some are used to control insect pests (Lepidoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera).”
  We than found a matching photo on BugGuide identifying it as Brachymeria fonscolombei with the cryptic information:  “A whole group of these colorful chalcidids showed up in an office building. It turned out that a pigeon had died on the roof next to a ventilation duct. The larvae had crawled into the shaft to escape the summer heat and pupate.”  Intrigued we continued to research, but alas there was no helpful information on the species page, so we continued to search individual postings in the hope of learning more.  Another image on BugGuide provided this information:  “Emerged from a fly puparia.”  A third image on BugGuide contained this helpful bit of information:  “This species is a parasitoid of fly maggots. It can often be found hanging around road-kill.”  With all that information, we are now ready to pass on information for you to advise your client that this Chalcid is not harmful to her or her home.  It is actually a beneficial species that will help to control the fly population near her home.  If these Chalcids are actually emerging from the floor boards, it is possible that some animal died and rotted beneath the floor.  If she never noticed an odor, than it was most likely too small to be a problem during decomposition.  If Flies already found the rotting corpse, than the Chalcids have already done their job of consuming the maggots that would have eventually metamorphosed into adult flies.  The appearance of these Chalcids is most likely an indication that trying to remove the dead animal would not be necessary at this point as nature has already taken its course.  Again, we want to stress how much we enjoyed doing this particular bit of research.

Chalcid Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle with metallic pink abdomen, green head
Location: Minsmere, Suffolk, UK
August 11, 2012 5:40 pm
I wonder if you can help here. The beetle was small and fast and the photo is poor, but I can’t find any pink and green beetles like it. Seen 11 Aug 2012, RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk, UK … sunny afternoon on a tank trap block (concrete) between beach and marsh. I took the photo.
Signature: CGill

Ruby Tail Wasp

Dear CGill,
This is not a beetle, but rather a Hymenopteran, the insect order that contains bees, ants and wasps.  After some careful internet research, we found an insect with this particular color pattern on the Heathland Solitary Wasps website, and it is called the Ruby Tail Wasp,
Hedychridium roseum.  The Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) website has a map an Suffolk is included in the limited UK range of the Ruby Tail Wasp.  We learned on that the Ruby Tail Wasp is classified as a Cuckoo Wasp, meaning that instead of providing for its own young, the female Ruby Tail Wasp lays an egg in the nest of another Hymenopteran and the developing larva eats the food that was collected for the host species larva.

Thank you, Daniel, so much for all this extremely interesting and helpful information. I’m only sorry the photo was so poor … it was a rush to get a pic. at all as the creature was scuttling towards a dark crevice in the concrete clock at break neck speed!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bug and nest material
Location: Rochester, New York
August 7, 2012 1:50 pm
Hi. I keep getting bugs of some kind nesting between wood casement windows and the jambs…a teeny tight space. Sometimes I find clumps of dry grass, other times little dried mud tubes(maybe a different species). I’m amazed they can squeeze in there and can’t figure out what the attraction is. They aren’t damaging the wood, but messy when I open a window that’s been closed for months, and the stuff falls into the room. In today’s cleaning I found actual bugs (a brighter green than the photo shows). Thank you!
Signature: Hiawatha

Grass Carrying Wasp Nest provisioned with Tree Crickets

Dear Hiawatha,
The insects in your photo did not make this nest.  They are what appear to be Tree Crickets and they are the prey of the nest maker, a Grass Carrying Wasp in the genus
Isodontia.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are fed Grillidae (particularly tree crickets) or other Orthoptera” and “These wasps commonly make their nest in the narrow track found above outer windows.”  See BugGuide for additional information on the Grass Carrying Wasp.  The mud nests you found were most likely the nests of Mud Dauber Wasps and they are generally provisioned with spiders to feed the larvae.

Grass Carrying Wasp Nest

Wow…thanks, Daniel!  That was a fast response and very comprehensive.  I really appreciate your taking the time to answer.  There’s probably nothing I can do to keep the grass carrying wasps out of the narrow track above the windows, but at least I know what I’m up against.
Again, thanks very much,
Jim Dierks
Rochester, NY

Hi again Jim,
Neither Grass Carrying Wasps nor Mud Daubers are aggressive species and you should not fear getting stung.

Good to know, Daniel.  Thanks.  I’ll just let the little guys do their thing, and with all the other troubles I’ve had with these windows, at least the wasps are just using some convenient space and not harming the windows at all.
Jim Dierks

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bees, scorpions, and dragonflys breeding?
Location: Island in New Hampshire
August 6, 2012 6:34 am
Found this insect on an island in New Hampshire beginning of August. Was sitting in a knot in a tree very docile. A similar looking mate was flying around outside. This one barely moved as I got close to take pictures. Looks like it had a stinger like a scorpion, head and upperbody if a bee, and body and wings of a dragon fly. Also had large black like whiskers pertruding off the sides. Very strange insect indeed would love any direction you could point me in with this. -Eric P.
Signature: Eric P.

Stump Stabber

Hi Eric,
This is a Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurusGiant Ichneumons are commonly called Stump Stabbers. The female stabs a stump using her long ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the surface of dead and dying trees that are infested with the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Wow…such a quick reply, thanks so much! I guess my family and I have picked out names for our discovery in vain. So much for a rare island insect being undiscovered yet!
Thanks again!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination