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

Black and Gold Wasp
Location: Pace, Florida
August 25, 2011 11:56 pm
Dear Bugman, I found this black and gold wasp, dead unfortunately, on the pavement at work. As you can see in the picture, that’s a quarter lying next to it for general measurement purposes. I have never seen anything like this before now. It may not even be a wasp but perhaps a fly of some sort. Any ideas???
Signature: Jimmy

Unknown Gold Backed Wasp

Hi Jimmy,
When it comes to flashy yet understated elegance, this unfamiliar Wasp wins tail’s up.  We might have an identification in the near future.

Eric Eaton provides an identification
Hi, Daniel:
This is a female Sphex habenus.  The species is in the family Sphecidae and they prey on katydids.

Thanks Eric,
We will link to the BugGuide information page on the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

European hornet or Cicada Killer or something else?
Location: Central NJ
August 24, 2011 12:47 pm
We’d love to know if these guys are European Hornets, Cicada Killers or something else.
We have a lot of them in and around our house in Cental NJ during July and August.
Signature: Erik

European Hornets gather bark for nest

Dear Erik,
These are in fact European Hornets, and they are in the act of gathering bark from this shrub.  The hornets will chew the bark into pulp that they use to construct chambers for housing larvae in a communal paper nest.

Thank you very much.  Does “communal paper nest” have any implications about whether it’s likely or unlikely they live inside the tree on which they are pictured in the photo?  We can’t find their nest on the shrub (which has a truck covered with ivy), but during the late afternoon there are a large number of the hornets on the branches (maybe 20-30).
Thanks again.

These European Hornets are foraging for bark, and the nest might be a considerable distance from your shrub.  We would not recommend looking too thoroughly for the nest, as the Hornets might sting if they feel the nest is being threatened.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this some kind of stump stabber?
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
August 24, 2011 5:17 pm
Hi, I was washing my car today and found this resting in one of the doors. It is just over an inch long, black with yellow highlights on legs, head and antennae, and two rather long pointy extension on its abdomen. One located above the other and about half as long as the other. I have never seen an insect like this and would like to know what it is and where it is from. Thanks.
Signature: – John D. Williams


Dear John,
Indulge us if we go off on a tangent prior to responding to your questions.  You had us at your lead with the tantalizing question regarding a Stump Stabber.  We have a vague recollection of hearing the name in the hazy past, but at any rate, it immediately conjured up a picture in our minds of a Giant Ichneumon, a somewhat unwieldy common name for
Megarhyssa atrata, and her close relatives.  One would never call the male Giant Ichneumon a Stump Stabber, as he lacks the 5 inch long ovipositor the female uses to lay eggs that hatch into larvae that feed on the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail, a type of Wood Wasp.  

So, we looked up the name Stump Stabber and we found the Canadian Talk About Wildlife website and sure enough, a Stump Stabber was pictured to be a Megarhyssa, possibly Megarhyssa macrurus.

Your Hymenopteran, Urocerus albicornus, is a Horntail Wasp that lays her eggs in “hosts include fir, larch, spruce, pine, Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western red cedar” according to BugGuide.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the info. I got the term Stump Stabber from a bug field guide I got as a kid, “Bugs of British Columbia, a Lone Pine Field Guide by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon”. I just thought it was that kind of bug because of the ovipositor and the long hind legs. I got a better picture of it when I let it go onto a plant. It is attached if you’re interested.
Thanks again,
John Williams

Horntail: Urocerus albicornus

Thanks for sending us a new photo of this elegantly beautiful Wood Wasp that clearly shows her ovipositor.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

unicorn wasp
Location: Jamestown, RI
August 24, 2011 5:01 pm
Rescued this little guy from a bowl of water then decided to take a walk up my arm.
Signature: PeeGee

Potter Wasp

Hi again PeeGee,
This looks to us like one of the Potter Wasps or Mason Wasps in the subfamily Eumeninae, and you can find many of the similar looking genera on BugGuide.  We believe the antennae stuck together because of the water, giving your individual the appearance of only one horn.  For your valiant rescue, we are tagging you as a Bug Humanitarian.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

identity unknown
Location: pulau ubin, singapore
August 23, 2011 8:51 am
hello mr bugman, please Identify my black fly. i found this bug digging in the white sand until it make a whole.
Signature: anything

Thread Waisted Wasp in our opinion

Dear anything,
We believe this is a Thread Waisted Wasp in the family Sphecidae, and we are struck by the similarity between your wasp’s face and this Great Golden Digger Wasp posted to BugGuide.  We believe your Asian species may be closely related to our North American species.  The female Great Golden Digger Wasp provisions her nest with paralyzed Katydids to feed her brood.

Thanks for your effort. But thread-waisted wasp has a red color near the its tail but my one is a pure black . For a moment i will use the name you given to me. Thanks

The family Sphecidae is known as the Thread Waisted Wasps and it probably contains thousands of species world wide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Whats this?
Location: Wigan
August 23, 2011 5:56 am
Hi, can you identify what this bug is and if it needs getting rid of? its in my dogs yard and quite near to our front door. I see them coming in and out of the nest frequently.
Signature: Jenny

Square Headed Wasp

Hi Jenny,
As we prepared to post your identification request, we needed to research Wigan since we were uncertain if it was a location or a typographical error.  We did locate a Wikipedia entry that identified Wigan as a town in greater Manchester, England, so we are indicating your location as U.K.  We believe this is a Square Headed Wasp in the subfamily Crabroninae, and we learned on BugGuidethat “Some nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. Prey is mostly flies, but some utilize other insects.”  Assuming that your individual is one that hunts flies, you can determine if you want a predator that reduces the number of flies attracted to your dogs’ feces and potentially entering your front door or not.  These are solitary wasps, and though you may have numerous individuals nesting in the same vicinity, each is excavated by a single female who provisions the nest with flies for her developing larvae.  Solitary Wasps do not defend their nests in the same aggressive manner as social wasps like Yellowjackets.

Square Headed Wasp Nest


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination