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

Subject: Spanish beetele, Andalucia
Location: Ayamonte, Andalucia, Spain
May 28, 2012 12:41 pm
Here it is, it landed on my wife, and it was very large… about two inches long minimum
I cant find it on your website. Please advise what it is….
Signature: Andy W

Mammoth Wasp

Hi Andy,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a Mammoth Wasp and there are several submissions in our archive including one from Spain.  The Mammoth Wasp feeds on nectar and it is frequently seen visiting flowers, but the helpless larva feeds on the grubs of Rhinoceros Beetles.  The female Mammoth Wasp hunts for the Scarab Larva and stings it to paralyze it.  She then lays an egg, thus providing a fresh food supply for each of her progeny.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown bugs
Location: Belleville Ontario Canada
May 23, 2012 7:41 pm
Hi, i found these 2 bugs in my wood pile do you know what they are? and would they sting you?
Signature: thanks Pam

Stump Stabbers: Giant Ichneumons

Hi Pam,
This is a marvelous photo of two female Giant Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurus, and they are using their lengthy ovipositors to lay eggs beneath the surface of these stumps.  The larval Giant Ichneumons parasitize the larvae of a Wood Wasp known as the Pigeon Horntail.  Giant Ichneumons are also commonly called Stump Stabbers.  They will not sting you, however, we concede that it is possible that if they are carelessly handled, the ovipositor might pierce the skin.

Megarhyssa macrurus females ovipositing

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beautiful nightly visitor
Location: Austria
May 23, 2012 5:12 pm
Dear Bugman,
I’ve just been visited by one of the most beautiful insects I have ever seen and wanted to ask you if you could identify my nightly guest?
One strange thing I noticed is it had what seemed like three extra eyes on the top of its head right between the two big eyes, on the base of its antennas.
A pretty exciting sight, I don’t see such exotic looking insects around here very often.
Greetings from Austria,
Signature: Michael


Hi Michael,
We really enjoy getting requests from people who think insects are beautiful that other folks might find repulsive.  This Ichneumon is a parasitic wasp that preys upon other insects and arthropods.  The female lays her eggs within the host by using an ovipositor.  Some wasps have evolved so that the ovipositor has adapted into a stinger and many Ichneumons have very long ovipositors.  A group of North American Ichneumons in the genus
Megarhyssa can have ovipositors as long as five inches in length and they are known as Stump Stabbers since the female uses her ovipositor to lay her eggs in wood that is infested with wood boring insects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Elm Leaf-miner
Location: Fort Collins, CO
May 20, 2012 5:03 pm
There’s more than one species of Elm Leaf-miner, and I can’t discern between them, but this is one of them anyway.
Signature: Lee

Elm Leafminer

Hi Lee,
Thanks for sending your photos.  This is a first for our site and we did a bit of quick research and we believe we have a proper identification for you.  The problem with the common name Leafminer is that it is a name that cuts across many taxonomic orders.  Like Galls which can be caused by Flies, Moths, Mites and Wasps, the same can be said of Leaf Miners.  According to the Colorado State University Extension website:  “Leafminers are insects that have a habit of feeding within leaves or needles, producing tunneling injuries. Several kinds of insects have developed this habit, including larvae of moths (Lepidoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), sawflies (Hymenoptera) and flies (Diptera). Most of these insects feed for their entire larval period within the leaf. Some will also pupate within the leaf mine, while others have larvae that cut their way out when full-grown to pupate in the soil.”  The site goes on to state:  “Sawfly Leafminers. Most sawflies chew on the surface of leaves, but four species found in Colorado develop as leafminers of woody plants. Adults are small, dark-colored, non-stinging wasps that insert eggs into the newly formed leaves. The developing larvae produce large blotch mines in leaves during late spring. The sawfly leafminers produced a single generation each year..  Elm leafminer (Kaliofenusa ulmi) is the most important species, being locally common in several Front Range cities where it develops on American, English and Siberian elms.”  A different scientific name is provided for the species on BugGuide, where it is identified by the abbreviated name Fenusa ulmi.  The University of Illinois Extension Home, Yard & Garden Pest website identifies a weevil that is also called the Elm Leafminer, but we believe your culprit is the Sawfly.  The Elm Flea Weevil is Rhynchaenus alni.

Elm Leafminer

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Wasp hovering over paralyzed spider
Location: Kisantu, Congo
May 14, 2012 2:24 pm
Dear Bugman,
We found a wasp guarding a spider that was upside down and looked dead. Did this wasp attack the spider and can you tell us was species they are ?
Signature: Katy and her dad

Probably Spider Wasp and Orbweaver

Dear Katy and her dad,
The behavior you describe is very consistent with that of a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae.  Spider Wasps prey upon spiders not to eat, but to provide food for their young.  A female Spider Wasps stings the spider and paralyzes it, but doesn’t kill it.  That way the spider remains alive and fresh and provides a living meal for the developing wasp larva.  Spider Wasps are often very family specific when it comes to their prey.  Your was appears to be a Spider Wasp, and the description on BugGuide includes:  “Typically dark colored with smoky or yellowish wings; a few are brightly colored.  Slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen.”  These are characteristics of the wasp in your photo.  Based on the eye pattern which is pictured here on BugGuide, we believe your spider is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  Exact species identifications are not possible at this time.

Probably Orbweaver

Thanks so much Bugman!!  We are glad that there are no giant wasps that can do that to us !


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What am I seeing?
Location: Cornville, AZ
May 14, 2012
Hi Daniel -
Another pic attached for you, strange one.
What am I seeing here?
We have 10 Italian Cypress appx. 25 ft. tall here that we found the
Sawfly Larva on.  Did not want to take a chance on losing them so I
sprayed them all with Spinosad to kill the larva very early this morning.
Went back a few hours later to see if any of the larva were dead, collected
a few twigs in a plastic pail.  Some larva were dead, some still alive.  Shot
some pics and ran across the attached image.
Is this a newly hatched Sawfly of some other type of insect?
Thanks -
Lou Nigro

Sawfly Larva and what might be a Chalcid Wasp

Hi Lou,
We are creating a brand new posting for this image and linking to your original submission.  The other insect looks like a parasitic Hymenopteran, possibly a Chalcid Wasp.  There are some similar looking Chalcids, but they have larger hind legs.  Perhaps it is just the camera angle.  The Chalcid is a Parasitic Hymenoptera.  The female lays eggs within a host, usually the larva of a moth, fly or beetle.  It stands to reason that they might also parasitize Sawfly Larvae.  Most parasitic Hymenopterans are host specific.  It is possible that this Sawfly that is underrepresented on the world wide web has a species specific parasite that preys upon it.  We are going to tag this posting as Food Chain even though much of our response is speculation. 

Eric Eaton identifies the Mining Bee
The “wasp” is a bee in the genus Perdita.  How it got there I have no idea.

Hi Daniel -
Looks like you are right on, took a few more shots from different angles.
Could be a species specific one as the coloring is a bit different.
Depth of field this close is limited, wish the pic was sharper, will shoot a
few more later.
See attached -
Canon 7D, Tamron 180mm Macro Lens, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f18 using a Canon flash on
ETTL, manual exposure, handheld.
I’m glad to see that there are wasps in the area, even though I killed some of them,
that are helping me out.  Further spraying will be kept to a minimum.
Wasp measured appx. 2mm in length.
Thanks -

Hi again Lou,
Since we were wrong about the Wasp and it actually being a Bee, we suspect it was collateral damage from your insecticide.  We are not sure why it was found on the Sawfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination