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

Giant Bee?
Location: NC
August 17, 2011 6:13 pm
This was stuck on my screen door. It was dead when I found it. It’s huge and the stinger looks deadly! Thanks for your help in identifying this monster.
Signature: Sue in NC

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Thank you so much for identifying my Cicada Killer. Your website gave me lots of  information on this marvelous creature. I would never kill one. The one that I found got stuck between some screen wire and died. The old saying “she wouldn’t hurt a fly”…definitely applies to me! I’d  open a door or window to let a fly escape before I’d harm it.
Sue in NC

Oh my goodness Sue,
We had to resurrect your letter from the trash and it made us sad that we cannot also resurrect this Cicada Killer.  Photos of dead Cicada Killers break our collective heart because we receive so many letters of Unnecessary Carnage and Cicada Killers are high on the list of frequent species-discrimination fear, rage and hate crimes.  We consider your testament to reading about the Cicada Killer, educating yourself and making an informed decision about how you would react upon encountering a Cicada Killer a worthy reason to be named to the Bug Humanitarian Award.  We could never claim that a Cicada Killer would never sting a person, and we would also concede that should a sting occur, it would most likely hurt, but we firmly believe that Cicada Killers would much rather use their gift of inducing paralysis on Cicadas than on people. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Great Golden Digger Wasps
Location: Eugene, Oregon
August 17, 2011 7:33 pm
Hi this is my first year seeing these bugs and they have taken over a corner of my sand riding arena. I was weed wacking around the edge of the arena and at least 40 of them came out of their little burrows and just sat on the top of the sand (probably trying to figure out what that noisy irritating thing was doing and whether it was going to attack them). They never made any aggressive movements towards me so I wasn’t concerned about their presence (I am however intensely allergic to wasps so once I saw them so I kept my distance for my own safety)
My problem is, I need to be able to ride in this arena and I’m afraid if my horses big hooves stomp on a bug or onto one of their burrows they might feel the need to get aggressive. Is there a way to gently encourage them to find another home? preferably before they take over the entire arena? I have no idea how many larvae they lay each year but I would assume it could get out of hand with 40 or so adults in one spot this summer.
I’d prefer not to use pesticides, as much for the bug’s benefit as for the horse’s (horses can metabolize insecticides through the sole of the hoof and cause irreversible damage to the internal structure of the hooves and liver).
Any advice would be appreciated. I was thinking maybe dragging the arena more often with a tractor might encourage them to find another home. do you think that would work?
Signature: Teresa Hetu

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Hi Teresa,
Alas, we have no suggestions on how to solve your dilemma.  It seems you have too many restrictions (your allergies, horses reactions to insecticides, need to use corner) to make any decision that will meets all your qualifications.  Insects are like any other living creature.  They nest where conditions are suited to their needs, like food and shelter.  Once humans begin to alter the landscape, things change.  Creating a sandy arena for riding has produced conditions that made that specific area attractive to a large number of wasps.  Dragging the area with a tractor will not encourage them to find another home, but if you dig deep enough, you may destroy the broods that are there.  A female Great Golden Digger Wasp
Sphex ichneumoneus, expends a great deal of energy hunting and paralyzing a single cricket or katydid that will provide the necessary food for a single egg.  She will provision each chamber of her nest with enough food to sustain a single offspring and her instincts tell her when to plan for another offspring.  If she is lucky enough to survive predation herself, she may produce several offspring.  For some reason, the conditions in your area supported a large population this year.  You cannot expect that to keep happening because the habitat would not sustain ever growing populations of predators.  Nature seeks balance.  Good luck with your quandary.

It is odd that so many showed up this year when we have never had any before. or at least never saw any. We’ve had the arena for 10 years now and this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this. I have a tiller that I can use on their area perhaps that would work. How deep do they usually dig their nests? I suppose if all else fails I can just block off about a 20 foot diameter location and they can do their thing and hopefully move on next year.
Thanks for your help

Perhaps weather conditions produced more Katydids than normal last season.  Did you place new sandy substrate recently?  That might attract them. 

nope, same thing it’s been for 10 years. would watering down the area make a difference? (I’m thinking soaking it?)

We love that idea.  Try it.

I’ll let you know the results… I have to daisy chain like 8 hoses to get all the way out into the corner but it’s sure worth a shot.

We have never heard that term used with hoses.  We believe that hosing down the area will not make any difference to the developing larvae, but it may discourage the mothers from remaining and continuing to provision the nests for additional offspring.

Update:  September 26, 2011
Daniel, just wanted to let you know how the “experiment” went with the wasps. I’m sad to say it was a miss. they just relocated all over the arena rather than one corner after I soaked it.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Possible fire ant
Location: Memphis tn
August 15, 2011 11:31 pm
My brother was laying on the floor playing with his Ipod and felt something crawly on him he shifts and next thing he knows lots of pain. I would like yo know what bug this is. I stomped it 6 times and it’s still alive. Under further investigation I saw it had a red 2mm long and .1mm or smaller wide singer (not visible in picture) which was completely retractable into the abdoment.
Signature: Ender670

Velvet Ant

Dear Ender670,
This is not a Fire Ant.  It is a Velvet Ant, but Velvet Ants are not true ants.  They are flightless female wasps, which is why your brother got stung.  The sting is reported to be very painful.  We believe your species is
Dasymutilla quadriguttata based on images posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Weird insect never seen before ever!
Location: Bathurst, NB. Canada
August 15, 2011 10:18 am
Hi i’d like to know what kind of bug this is, my friend found this is her yard. The weather has been changing from hot to cold and raining. Nobody has ever seen this insect before? is it poisonous, is it safe? what family of insect is it from? and where does it come from? what does it do?
Signature: Jenna

Pigeon Horntail

Hi Jenna,
The Pigeon Horntail,
Tremex columba, is not harmful to people.  It does not sting and it is not poisonous, however, the larvae of this Wood Wasp are borers that infest dead and dying trees.  Here is a photo from our archives of a Pigeon Horntail ovipositing.  You can also find additional information on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

odd parasitic wasp
Location: Beaverton, OR
August 15, 2011 8:09 pm
Found this little lady trying to bore holes in the side of our mason bee colony we made out of a 4×4. It’s ovipositor is extending from the first joint of the abdomen, I’ve never seen this before. Hopefully the photos will give you an idea of what this thing is. I’m dying to know!
Signature: Jason

Chalcid Wasp

Dear Jason,
Your photo is stunning, and perfectly composed to show the distinguishing features of this parasitic wasp.  We believe your wasp is a Chalcid Wasp, more specifically,
Leucospis affinis, and about a year ago, we posted a photo of one.  We originally identified it on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it is “Parasitic on Megachilid bees” which is consistent with your observations.  We will be copying Eric Eaton because he is currently developing a blog post about Chalcid Wasps, and he may request permission to use your photograph.

Thank you! I’m very happy to have this gal identified. I hope she manages to lay a few successfully, that wood’s pretty tough. I’d be happy to allow the use of this photo in Mr. Eaton’s blog post, just let him know to mail me at this address so he can have direct confirmation from me. Thanks again for the compliment and a fantastic web site for us budding entomologists!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Billericay, Essex, UK
August 15, 2011 7:27 am
OK so I live in Essex in the UK and this beast came flying into our house. It was about two inches in size (including what I can only assume is it’s sting that was coming from its body)
We live in a suburban area, there are some woods about half a mile away though. It came into the house at about 1pm. Was a sunny day but not incredibly warm.
Any ideas what it is??
Signature: Alex

Wood Wasp

Hi Alex,
This is a Great Wood Wasp or Horntail,
Urocerus gigas.  You can read about it on the UK Safari website where it states:  “Sometimes called ‘horntails’ for obvious reasons. The female (above) has a long pointed tube at the back of her body, and this is often mistaken for a stinging organ. In fact it’s an ovipositor, which she uses to lay her eggs in the trunks of coniferous trees. Despite their appearance, these insects are quite harmless.” 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination