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Interesting Alaska Bug in June
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
August 21, 2011 12:53 am
Hi, we just found your site and have already found it really interesting. We are hoping you can help us identify an insect we saw in June at our house in Fairbanks, Alaska. As you can see, it was on a dandelion. We’ve looked, but we can’t figure it out. We’d really appreciate any help. Thanks!
Signature: Mother and Son bug fans

Elm Sawfly

Dear Mother and Son bug fans,
This magnificent creature is an Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, a nonstinging relative of bees and wasps that has a foliage feeding larva that resembles a caterpillar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Sphex nudus?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 20, 2011 6:02 pm
I think, thanks to a hint that Eric Eaton posted on, that I have this properly identified as a Sphex nudus (Katydid wasp). Can you please confirm?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Spider Wasp

Hi Anna,
Goodness, you have sent us a few tough identifications, and though we spent some time trying to research identities, we didn’t have much luck.  We are not sure which comment attributed to Eric Eaton has caused you to believe this is a Katydid Wasp, but we are not certain the Katydid Wasp is found in California based on the BugGuide distribution map.  There are similarities between your individual and the Katydid Wasp, and it is possible it is a similar looking relative that is not represented on BugGuide.  We wish you had a photo that showed the face better.  We believe this is most likely one of the Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae, however, we were unable to find a match on BugGuide.  These are the family characteristics that have influenced our opinion:  “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.   Tibiae of rear legs have two prominent spines at apex (distal end, next to tarsi).”  We will contact Eric Eaton to try to get his opinion.

Spider Wasp

Eric Eaton provides Spider Wasp identity
Your first instincts are correct.  This is a spider wasp, Episyron coterminus posterus:
Nice images, too.

Hi Daniel,
I’m sorry to have sent you tough identifications.  You know, as I continued looking at distribution maps and the faces of the Katydid Wasps, I started to doubt my identifications.  I figured I’d just wait to hear from you.  Thanks very much.  If you have a chance, will you please also thank Eric Eaton for me?
As I read more on this wasp, I’m surprised at how long it held still for me – almost 5 minutes.  I really do have to think about getting a little better camera.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Wasp type creature in back yard
Location: Jackson, MS
August 20, 2011 11:59 am
I found two of these dead in our back patio. I have no idea where they are coming form or why they are dead, but I’m glad! If you need another picture, let me know.
Signature: Rebecca

What Killed the Cicada Killer???

Hi Rebecca,
Your wasp is a Cicada Killer, but we are very intrigued as to what might be causing these deaths on your patio.  We have two theories, and we will begin with the more offensive one.  Perhaps they are being poisoned by one of your neighbors.  Cicada Killers are large and scary, though they are not aggressive.  They build underground nests which the female provisions with paralyzed Cicadas to feed her brood.  Many people are frightened by the nesting activity and they try to eliminate the wasps.  We have also received a large number of reports of large Robber Flies this year.  Robber Flies are predators that take prey on the wing.  They have mouthparts adapted to sucking fluids from their prey, so they would not leave bite marks nor would they chew the prey.  Perhaps these Cicada Killers are falling prey to a large Robber Fly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s That Arachnid/What’s That Wasp
Location: Central Alabama
August 20, 2011 8:35 am
Dear Bugman:
It is August in Alabama and I feel like I live in the Amazon. It’s hot, humid, and all of the giant spiders and bugs have come out to play. I found this spider in the corner of my porch next to some type of wasp nest. Could you help me identify both? Thank you!
Signature: Southern Belle Besieged By Bugs

Fishing Spider and Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Southern Belle BBB,
What a crazy photo this is.  The spider is a female Fishing Spider in the genus
Dolomedes, and they are generally found not far from water.  The wasps are Paper Wasps in the genus Polistes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

need help identifying Bug and Bee
Location: Island of Curaçao in the Caribbean
August 19, 2011 7:08 pm
Hi, I am Garrick Marchena, from the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean and I need help identifying these two insects.
I know one of them is a bee, but i need to know what type of bee. Its certainly a type I’ve never seen or heard of before.
The other is an insect known to our island as one that brings luck. It is called ”Mamoendenge” by our local people, but i need to know the official name. It kinda looks like a Mud Dobber wasp but i don’t think it is. Its back part bobs up and down as it walks.
I really appreciate if you can help, but if you can’t maybe you might know someone who does?
thanks you very much,
Garrick Marchena.
Signature: Garrick

Carpenter Bee: Xylocopa muscaria

Hi Garrick,
Though we don’t recognize your bee, and we have been unable to locate a match online, we suspect it is some species of Carpenter Bee.  The other insect which you call Mameondenge we find very interesting because of the notion that it brings bad luck.  This is a beneficial Ensign Wasp, so named because of the bobbing of its abdomen which is thought to resemble a flag.  The Ensign Wasp parasitizes the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches, helping to reduce their population.  We wonder if the name the locals have given it is a reference to dengue fever which is spread by mosquitoes.  You might want to educate the locals as to the importance the Ensign Wasp plays in Cockroach control.

Ensign Wasp

Thanks for the fast response!!!
Locals say that the Esign Wasp (or Mamonedenge) brings GOOD luck actually! Sorri i wasn’t clear on that.
Now that i know this information I’m gonna love this bug even more!
From what I’ve searched on the internet the bee does look like a carpenters bee. Also seems to be a type of solitary type bee.
This is really awesome!
Let me know if you are going to use the pictures because i would like to add a copyright on them first if you don’t mind.
Thank you very much for your help.

Sorry Garrick,
We somehow inserted the word “bad” before luck in your letter.  The images are already posted live and we have cropped them, lightened them and formatted them to our site.  Your name is printed with your original email.

Correction courtesy of John Ascher
April 22, 2012
Xylocopa (Schonnherria) muscaria (Fabricius, 1775) female:

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Daniel,
…  However, how about checking out the flocked insect I have loaded up today.
Thank you,
Jim Kirkland
University of Illinois
Illinois Forest Resource Center

Butternut Woolly Worm

Hi again Jim,
Thanks for sending us this nice photo of a Butternut Woolly Worm,
Eriocampa juglandis, the larva of a Sawfly.

Dear Daniel, Thank you very much for the use of the pic.  Thank you also for the id of the butternut woolly worm found last summer in a Black Walnut plantation near Glendale, Illinois.  Jim

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination