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

Subject: What is this?
Location: Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia
January 11, 2014 9:08 pm
Hi
We saw this large black flying insect all over the beaches in the Whitsunday Islands. They were about 1.5 inches long, maybe a centimetre wide. They burrow into holes in the sand. They didn’t seem very interested in people, mostly ignoring us.
What on earth is it??
Thanks
Signature: Jenny

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Hi Jenny,
We don’t believe we will be able to provide you with a species identification based on your photos, but we can give you a more general family and subfamily identification.  This is most likely a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the family Sphecidae, and we are basing this on the anatomy of the wasp in your images, specifically the narrow “wasp waist” as well as the burrowing behavior.  Furthermore, we believe it is in the subfamily Sphecinae.  The Brisbane Insect website describes the subfamily:  “Wasps in subfamily Sphecinae are usually black in colour, from medium to large size. They have the abdomen link with thorax with very slender cylindrical stalk-like petiole, i.e. the thread-waist. They predatory on Orthoptera, including grasshoppers and katydids. Females build nest for their young by digging long tunnel in sandy ground. “

Sphecid Wasp

Sphecid Wasp digging

Your photos are most interesting to us on a behavioral level of the subfamily rather than as images of a specific species.

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Thread-Waisted Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Theiron morio
Location: USA, Tarpon Springs, FL
January 8, 2014 1:56 pm
Greetings.
This seems to match a photo of Therion morio.
Thoughts?
many thanks
Signature: James

Ichneumon:  Therion morio

Ichneumon: Therion morio

Hi James,
You are correct.  This magnificent Ichneumon is
Therion morio.  According to BugGuide, the female parasitizes moth caterpillars, including the Fall Webworm.

Ichenumon:  Therion morio

Ichenumon: Therion morio

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bee/Wasp (?) from Peru
Location: Coastal Peru
January 6, 2014 6:24 pm
Dear Bugman,
today’s identification request refers to this flying insect from coastal Peru. It was pretty big and I was really in awe of it’s orange antennae and the length of its behind legs. Thank you again for your great help!
Signature: Frank

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Frank,
This is surely a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and we are relatively certain it is a Tarantula Hawk in the tribe Pepsini.  Many Tarantula Hawks have orange wings, but there are also black winged individuals.  We found a photo that was cached on Ebay that is a Peruvian Tarantula Hawk that looks similar.  Here is another Peruvian Tarantula Hawk on Etsy, but it has black antennae.  Bird Forum has a very similar looking Peruvian Tarantula Hawk tentatively identified as an Elegant Tarantula Hawk,
Pepsis menechma.  Continued research revealed that the Elegant Tarantula Hawk is a North American species that is pictured on BugGuide, but that does not mean it doesn’t range down to South America.  We cannot at this time provide a species identification, but you can be assured that this is a Tarantula Hawk.  Female Tarantula Hawks hunt Tarantulas.  They sting and paralyze the spiders and then bury them after laying a single egg.  The paralyzed Tarantula becomes a stationary, living source of food for the developing larval Tarantula Hawk.  We have several examples in our archives of Tarantula Hawks hunting Tarantulas, and even a photo where the Tarantula Hawk was eaten by the Tarantula, which is what can happen if you insist on hunting predators.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Shower Wasp?
Location: Dallas, Texas
December 28, 2013 12:46 pm
It’s December in Texas, and this flying bug (and lots of its relatives) has recently shown up in our shower. We see about 2-4 a day. The shower has an exterior wall, but we can’t find any holes around the tile or windows. It doesn’t seem to be aggressive, but it does look like a stinger-type body. Ideas?
Signature: LN

Wasp

Wasp

Ed. Note:
We did not recognize this wasp and we thought the situation was odd, so we contacted Eric Eaton with the following.
Hi Eric,
Happy New Year.
This Wasp is from Dallas Texas.  The person keeps finding them in an  indoor shower with an outside wall.  They find two to four a day.  This does not look like a social wasp to me.  Can you identify at  least family and possibly species?
Thanks
Daniel

Hi, Daniel:
Happy New Year to you, too.
This wasp is not a social wasp, but a solitary one in the family Crabronidae, tribe Larrini.  It *might* be Tachytes or Larropsis for genus, but they are difficult to determine to genus without having the specimen in hand.  Don’t know why they are emerging indoors at this time of year, but they are *not* harmful.
Eric

Dear LN,
We sought some assistance from Eric Eaton with your request and his response is included.  According to BugGuide, the Square Headed Wasps in the subfamily Crabroninae:  “nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. Prey is mostly flies, but some utilize other insects.”
  If you have sash windows, they might have emerged from a nest in the windowframe due to the warmth indoors.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flying insect
Location: Newcastle, NSW. Australia.
December 31, 2013 8:07 pm
Can you please help me identify this flying insect that has appeared in our garden in the past month (December 2013). There are quite a few of them, and they appear to like burrowing in the soil and lawn. They are not aggressive, but large enough to give you a fright!!
Signature: The bugman

Blue Flower Wasp

Blue Flower Wasp

Happy New Year.  This is our first posting of 2014.  This is a Blue Flower Wasp, Scolia soror, and we have also seen alternative common names including Black Flower Wasp, Hairy Blue Flower Wasp or Hairy Flower Wasp, depending upon the source.  According to the Victoria Museum fact sheet:  “These wasps will most likely be seen flying just above ground level and in particular flying near or around compost heaps, wood heaps or dead stumps of trees.”  The site goes on to explain:  “Adult female flower wasps are designed to dig. They are large and powerful wasps. The female wasps are often seen visiting compost heaps or wood piles or flying around the dead stump of a tree. They are searching for scarab beetle grubs (such as the Christmas beetle group) in the ground and are quite capable of digging into compost heaps or saw-dust of a tree stump to find beetle grubs.  …. However, many wasps have developed the technique of paralysing their prey and laying an egg inside the host. The hatched larva then feed inside the living host. Flower wasps are one such group of wasps.  Having located a beetle grub, the female stings and lays an egg inside it. The sting from the wasp does not kill the beetle grub but only paralyses it. There is a good reason why the female wasp does not kill the beetle grub. If the sting were to kill the beetle grub, then its tissue would immediately start to rot and decompose. When the wasp egg hatches inside the paralysed beetle grub it is surrounded by living tissue – the food that it needs to eat. The developing wasp larva knows which parts of the beetle grub to eat first to prolong the grub’s life for as long as possible; thus maximizing the chances of complete development of the wasp larva.”  We have read that female Blue Flower Wasps are capable of stinging humans, but they rarely do.  Carelessly handling a Blue Flower Wasp may result in a sting, but since they do not defend their young, there is little chance of being stung while observing a female in search of food for her offspring.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what kind of bug is this
Location: columbus ohio
December 26, 2013 5:47 pm
Hi,
Found this bug in my house, 12/26 in ohio…its freezing outside haven’t seen any sig of bug life so to find one inside puzzled me! What type of bug is this? Should I be concerned that there are more? It looks fire antish- I grew up in the south that was my first guess, never seen/noticed anything like it before in OH.
Thanks for any feedback!
Signature: M

Flightless Ichneumon

Flightless Ichneumon

Dear M,
We believe this is a flightless Ichneumon in the genus
Gelis.  Ichneumons are parasitic wasps that prey on a variety of insects and arthropods, though many Ichneumons are host specific.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination