Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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Subject: Strange bug
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
August 4, 2012 11:31 pm
Hi, I have never taken a photo of a bug before but this one was something I have never seen before. This bug was walking on my car on a cool summer day (August 4, 2012) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. We never have ”strange” bugs here because of the harsh winters (I think) so when I saw this I guess I kind of freaked out.
Signature: Mrs. Reiser

American Pelecinid

Dear Mrs. Reiser,
This is a female American Pelecinid, and your description of it being “strange” is very appropriate since it is the only member of its family found in North America.  The female American Pelecinid uses her long, flexible abdomen to lay eggs underground on or close to the subterranean grubs of June Beetles.  The American Pelecinid is classified as a parasitic Hymenopteran, an insect order that contains wasps and bees, however the American Pelecinid does not sting and is not a threat to humans.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Resend Please?
Location: Western North Carolina (outside Asheville)
August 4, 2012 9:50 am
I recently asked you about a bug identification of the attached photo. I just accidentally deleted your message (which was in my spam folder), and as it turns out, there’s no way to get it back. I didn’t even get to read the message. (Note to self: Drink more coffee before trying to do email in the morning.) Can you please resend your response? Thank you so much, and my deepest apologies for my morning-brain stupidity!
Signature: Starlie

Birch Sawfly

Hi Starlie,
We cannot recall if there was additional information in your original email.  This is a Birch Sawfly Larva,
Arge pectoralis, and we fear it is not well.  There is an unusual constriction in the body that makes us suspect that this individual might have fallen prey to a Tachinid or Chalcid or some other parasitoid that has laid her egg on the Sawfly which now has an internal parasite eating away at its internal organs.  Or, it might be that your aerial perspective shot shows the typical curve of the body with the terminal abdominal segments appearing to create a constriction.  You can refer to this BugGuide image as well as the BugGuide information page for more details on the Birch Sawfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant Ichneumon?
Location: Columbia, Maryland
August 2, 2012 3:48 pm
This bug rose helicopter-like up from the darkness of my garden weeds, leveled off, and flew away with it’s victim. An assassin bug? Looks like some pictures you have of an Ichneumon.
Signature: Linda

Hanging Thief captures Wasp

Hi Linda,
This is sure an impressive action photo.  The predator is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, a group commonly called Hanging Thieves.  The prey is some species of wasp.  Hanging Thieves get their common name from their habit of feeding on prey while hanging from a single leg.

Hi,
Thank you so much for such an instant response!
I like to take pictures of butterflies and occasionally “bugs.”  I just wish i had had the presence of mind to switch to video or off my macro setting to auto focus sports on my camera.  But at least I got one shot in focus.
Linda

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Black Mud Dauber???
Location: Athens, Ontario, Canada
August 2, 2012 7:07 am
My family and myself noticed these insects this summer flying around and crawling between the interlocking stone and the pool this summer. They keep flying around us whenever we swim and I’m worried somebody is going to get stung. I’ve also noticed them carrying locust into their nest which I figure is in our pool area. Is there any way I can remove these from this area?
Signature: Marla

Great Black Wasp Carnage

Hi Marla,
This is a Great Black Wasp,
Sphex pensylvanicus, and it is not an aggressive species.  You mentioned seeing the female with a locust.  BugGuide notes that they prey upon Katydids which earns the species an additional common name Katydid Hunter.  Since they are not aggressive, we would urge you to just let them cohabitate with you in your yard and to refrain from killing any more individuals of this magnificent wasp.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A velvet ant & unrequited wasp love. Attempt number two.
Location: Palmyra, NJ & Philadelphia, PA
July 31, 2012 11:58 am
Please forgive me if these two photos have been previously received. I attempted to submit these late last week, however I didn’t get a confirmation E-mail so I’m not sure if my submission was successful.
The photos were taken on Sunday July 22, 2012. The first one was taken at Palmyra Cove Nature Park in Palmyra, NJ. (Had I realized that August’s bug of the month was the cow killer I would have taken a few photos of that species when I was there yesterday.) It took two trips to the park and three encounters with this particular species of velvet ant before I was able to get a photo of it.
The 1st time we came across one, she ran and hid in her burrow before I was able to get my phone out and snap a photo.
The 2nd encounter was in a grassy area & due to the grass obstructing the wasp I wasn’t able to capture a photo. I tried to coax her out into the open using a small twig, but she started to make an audible squeaking sound that told me that it was time to back off.
Finally on the third encounter, we found one in an open sandy area. Though she tried to run, she had more than enough space to run for me to have the time to get out my phone and take a picture.
After doing some research, with the aid of your site, I believe that I’ve identified her as Dasymutilla Vesta. Though, I could easily be wrong as I am no expert on insects.
After returning home from the park I noticed this pair of what I believe are black and yellow mud daubers trying to get busy on the Helenium that I planted a few years ago. Though, I’m not sure if the female was interested. The male was jabbing away furiously at the female’s abdomen but he never seemed to find his mark. Perhaps we killed the mood by barging in on them, or perhaps she had a headache.
I’ve taken a few other photos of some other insects at Palmyra Cove that I wouldn’t mind sharing with you, provided that multiple submissions from one individual wouldn’t be a nuisance. I honestly think that I’m one of the few people who go to that park mainly to see the insect life over any of the other wildlife that lives there.
Thank you for your time.
Signature: Dave

Velvet Ant

Hi Dave,
Thanks for your persistence.  We did receive your original submission, and we intended to post it, but alas, we didn’t get to it and suddenly your email got buried under the deluge of summer identification requests we receive.  Thank you again for resending.  We cannot for certain identify the Velvet Ant to the species level, but another possibility based on BugGuide images and range information might be the genus
Ephuta.   We have heard the squeaking noise you describe and for such tiny creatures, Velvet Ants are able to make a disproportionate amount of noise.  We will nonetheless tag this as a Bug Love entry even though you didn’t actually capture the mating act with your camera.  We would love to receive other submissions from you, especially of species that are not well represented on our site or images that are exceptional for other reasons.
Please in the future, only submit one specimen at a time.  We like to have each posting be a distinct species unless there is some relationship between two species that is significant.

Black and Yellow Mud Daubers

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Nebraska bug
Location: Beatrice NE
July 30, 2012 1:51 pm
Hello bugman,
I was working in Beatrice NE and spotted a wonderful looking orange and black bug and was hoping you could tell me what it is.
Signature: Regards,

Cow Killer

We cannot help but to wonder if you were fortuitously wearing heavy gloves when you discovered this Velvet Ant that is commonly called a Cow Killer, or if you donned the gloves because the aposomatic or warning coloration caused you to suspect you might need them.  Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps that are reported to deliver a very painful sting if they are carelessly handled.  We have heard several different origins to the common name Cow Killer, and both seem plausible.  One explanation is that the sting is so painful, it could kill a cow, though that is something of an exaggeration, and the second explanation we have heard is that the sting could contribute to the death of a cow when the cow reacts to the sting.  The stung cow might run into a ditch or in front of a car or otherwise injure itself to the point that it must be euthanized.  You can read more about the Cow Killer, Dasymutilla occidentalis, by referring to BugGuide.  We decided several years ago that the reputed pain of the Cow Killer’s sting warrants it a spot on our Big 5 list of the most dangerous insects and arthropods.  Since we receive so many Cow Killer reports in August, we have decided to tag your submission as the Bug of the Month for August 2012. 

Thank you for the bug identification,
A gentleman I was working with was fortuitously wearing the gloves but felt more comfortable picking  the velvet ant up because he had them on.  He was very noticeable located in a  non vegetated area next to a large industrial complex out in the agricultural fields surrounding Beatrice NE.  Thank you for your assistance in identifying this bug and I look forward to using your website in the future.
Regards,
Lars Smith, Project Scientist
Sand Creek Consultants, Inc.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination