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

Subject: Red and black bug
Location: Southside Virginia
July 26, 2014 1:39 pm
What kind of a bug looks like a giant ant that is red and black and fuzzy. Lives in Southside Virginia?
Signature: Gayle

Cowkiller

Cowkiller

Dear Gayle,
This Cowkiller is a Velvet Ant, a type of flightless female wasp reported to have an extremely painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp or Hornet?
Location: Truro, MA
July 26, 2014 7:39 am
I live in Truro, MA. This insect sits on the corner of my deck each morning that it is sunny but not when it is cloudy or in the evenings. It is quite large (over an inch), and stays all day making the deck unusable. I can’t get close enough to spray because it immediately flies and appears aggressive. Can you tell me what it is and if it is really aggressive.
Thank you.
Signature: Bill

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear Bill,
This is a solitary wasp known as a Cicada Killer, a species that preys upon Cicadas.  This is likely a male, and male wasps are incapable of stinging.  He is likely defending territory against other males in the hope of luring a female into mating and digging a nearby burrow.  Female Cicada Killers are capable of stinging, but they are not aggressive.  We would urge you to abandon your attempts to spray this impressive Cicada Killer.  Normally, we get numerous Cicada Killer identification requests each summer, but this summer your submission is the only one we have received.

Thank you Daniel, for your help.  I will not spray.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: WTB
Location: Seattle wa
July 20, 2014 7:13 pm
found this in my backyard. there as only one that i have ever seen
Signature: Rae Ann

Horntail:  Urocerus albicornis

Horntail: Urocerus albicornis

Hi Rae Ann,
We are positively thrilled to be able to post your magnificent image of a very impressive Horntail,
Urocerus albicornis, a species with a range limited to the Pacific Northwest.  Horntails are classified in the order Hymenoptera which includes Ants, Bees and Wasps, but Horntails, which are frequently called Woodwasps, cannot sting.  The female uses her impressive ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the surface of trees or stumps, and the wood boring larvae feed on the wood.  According to BugGuide:  “hosts include fir, larch, spruce, pine, Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western red cedar.”  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “Some are serious pests of trees and spread as larvae with lumber trade.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange wasp? Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, MA
July 21, 2014 5:56 am
My niece was in Cape Cod last year and couldn’t identify what this (wasp?) is. I’ve never seen anything like it. She asked several scientists that were there too and they couldn’t either. I don’t know if any were entomologists. It was just hanging out on a picnic table I believe.
Signature: Joe

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Hi Joe,
We sincerely doubt that any of the scientists were entomologists, because even those that specialize in other insect orders should recognize a Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber in the genus
Megarhyssa.  Despite the formidable looking ovipositor, Giant Ichneumons are not aggressive and they are not capable of stinging humans.  With that stated, the ovipositor is used by the female to lay eggs beneath the surface of dead and dying trees and stumps that contain the wood boring larvae of Horntails and Woodwasps, so it might be possible for the ovipositor to pierce human skin, though we think it is highly unlikely for a Stump Stabber to mistake a human limb for an infested tree.  Several members of the genus look very similar, so we are reluctant to attempt a species identification.  Another distinctive member of the genus, Megarhyssa atrata, is our featured Bug of the Month for July 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mason Wasp?
Location: Western Pennsylvania
July 21, 2014 12:02 am
I found this on a walk through the woods today and after thorough investigation, I couldn’t quite find a match to any other wasp. The blue tinted wings and black/white body pattern lead me to believe it’s a mason wasp(?), although I don’t know enough about bees/wasps/hornets to confirm. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the legs and antennae were both bright yellow, which I have yet to see on a Google search of any other. Help me identify? Thanks!
Signature: c.g.

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Dear c.g.,
This is an Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, and though Sawflies are classified in the same order, Hymenoptera, as Wasps, they are not true wasps and they do not sting.  The larvae of the Elm Sawfly are frequently mistaken for Caterpillars.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black and White Herringbone Caterpillar
Location: Western Massachusetts
July 21, 2014 8:12 am
Bugman,
We found this guy in our native butterfly garden and after researching with fields guides, we still can’t seem to figure him out. We found it around aster and nettles and various native plant species. It likes to coil up like it is pictured.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Project Native

Unidentified Caterpillar

Sawfly Larva

Dear Project Native,
We have delayed posting your images while we unsuccessfully attempted to identify your Caterpillar.
  Our best guess is that this might be an Owlet Caterpillar closely related to the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars in the genus Cucullia, which feed on asters, but none of the examples posted to BugGuide look exactly like your individual.  According to BugGuide, the larvae are:  “usually smooth (hairless) and very colorful, with mixed patterns of spots, stripes, and/or patches of mostly yellow, red, green, blue, and black – the range of variation between species is too complex to describe in general terms.”  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck than we have had.

Unidentified Caterpillar

Sawfly Larva

Daniel,
I believe we figured out what our insect was. It is a type of sawfly larvae Tenthredo grandis
Here it is on bugguide http://bugguide.net/node/view/213637
It makes sense as it was near the turtle head.
Thanks,
Project Native

Dear Project Native,
Thanks for getting back to us on this.  We had considered that it might be a Sawfly Larva, but there was a difficulty in seeing the legs because of the way the individual was curled in your images and we only can devote so much time to research.  We are correcting the posting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination