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

Subject: Red wasp with bright blue wings
Location: Loon Lake, CA — near Tahoe in El Dorado National Forest, very close to the lake
September 2, 2012 12:01 pm
This bright, beautiful little critter completely surprised me – I’ve never seen anything quite like this! I’d love to know what it was.
Signature: Christy

Spider Wasp: Tachypompilus unicolor

Hi Christy,
We are nearly certain that this is a Spider Wasp,
Tachypompilus unicolor, though some details are difficult to discern in your photograph.  The wasp appears to be searching the ground, which is a major factor in our identification as Spider Wasps hunt spiders in this manner, especially since they prey upon Wolf Spiders to feed their young.  You may refer to BugGuide for additional information, including that the preferred habitat is :  “Varied, but they are usually found in open habitats.”

I really appreciate the ID!  Yes, it was down on the gravel-y ground, a few feet from the lake in one direction, and about 20 feet from a pine forest the other direction.  I only saw it on the ground for about a minute, and then it flew away.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Huge wasp-like insect
Location: Smyrna, Ga
August 31, 2012 9:17 am
Hi, I found this guy on a tree in a parking lot in Smyrna, Ga. Any idea what it is?
Signature: Howard

Cicada Killer

Hi Howard,
This is a Cicada Killer and it is late in the season for a sighting.  We suspect there is sap oozing from the tree and the Cicada Killer is feeding on the sap.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Food chain: cicada killer in action
Location: Takoma Park MD
August 24, 2012 4:41 pm
Hello WTB,
This cicada killer startled me somewhat as I was out weeding the garden. I initially thought it had deposited a bit of trash. When I realized the ”trash” was an annual cicada, I dashed in to fetch the camera and thought you’d like to see the outcome.
Signature: Takoma Park animal lover

Cicada Killer with Annual Cicada

Dear Takoma Park animal lover,
Wow, what a marvelous series of photos. 

Cicada Killer with food for her brood.

The female Cicada Killer is really a powerfully built wasp to drag and glide back to her burrow with a paralyzed Cicada for each egg she lays.

Female Cicada Killer provides for her offspring


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beautiful bee or a blue tail fly?
Location: Auburn, NJ
August 23, 2012 9:25 am
This regal creature somehow managed to find it’s way into my kitchen, where I discovered it hanging on a coffee mug the other morning. I got the camera and managed one clear focused shot before I gave her a lift outside. In sunlight the tail end appeared almost a translucent green, which I’m sorry I can’t show.
I’ve been scanning here and at bug guide, but can’t even determine if I’m looking at a bee or a wasp or a fly? The antennae and eye shape suggest one thing, the body size another. Any clue you could offer? I don’t recall ever seeing another like it.
Signature: Creek Keeper

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Creek Keeper,
This jewel-like creature is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  The females lay eggs in the nests of other hosts in the order Hymenoptera to which they also belong.  We suspect that each species of Cuckoo Wasp is very specific as to its host, though we are not sure if it is limited to species, genus or family.  We also have problems differentiating one Cuckoo Wasp from another at the species level, though they are quite distinctive as a family.  According to
BugGuide:  “Most species are external parasites of wasp and bee larvae; one subfamily (Cleptinae, one genus, Cleptes) attacks sawfly larvae, another subfamily (Amiseginae) the eggs of walkingsticks.”  BugGuide further clarifies:  “Some species are parasitoids and others cleptoparasites. Either way the host larva dies” and then further clarifies “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is it?
Location: wirral, UK
August 19, 2012 6:06 pm
just trying to ID this?
Signature: ian

Lesser Willow Sawfly Larvae

Hi ian,
These are Sawfly Larvae and we found a photo on FlickR that looks identical that identified them as Lesser Willow Sawfly Larvae,
Nematus pavidus.  We verified that ID on BioLib as well as on Naturespot UK.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: mass of bugs on downed sycamore
Location: Baltimore, MD
August 20, 2012 11:08 pm
I noticed masses of this bug on a sycamore that had been downed by a recent storm. This part of the tree was leaning, not on the ground. The tree is located in a park in woods near freshwater wetland.
I’ve included one photo with a bee to provide size comparison.
Signature: Martha

Giant Bark Aphids and Yellow Jacket

Hi Martha,
You have submitted photos of Giant Bark Aphids,
Longistigma caryae, and here is what we learned about them on BugGuide:  “This is the largest aphid in North America with adults averaging about 1/4 inch long. They also have long legs which makes them appear even larger. Males and some females are winged but egg laying females are wingless. They are brown with black markings (giving them somewhat of a mottled appearance) and have short, black cornicles. When alive they are often partially covered with a bluish white, waxy secretion.  BugGuide continues:  “Activity usually begins in late April in Oklahoma. An adult female gives birth to live young and a colony is formed on the underside of the branches of the host tree. Several generations occur during the summer and fall. Activity continues into mid-November in some years. Late in the fall females lay eggs in bark crevices or on the smooth bark of smaller limbs. The eggs are yellow when laid but later turn black. They are the overwintering stage.”  Sycamore is listed on BugGuideas a host plant and the complete list of host plants is:  “American elm, pin oak, live oak, post oak, blackjack oak, pecan, hickory, sycamore, and golden rain tree. Other trees which might be infested include maple, basswood, birch, beech, walnut, chestnut, and willow.”  We suspect the felled tree was oozing sap which attracted the Yellow Jacket.

Giant Bark Aphids


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination