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

Giant Winged Ant?
Location: El Cajon, CA 92021
September 1, 2011 11:23 am
It looked like a giant ant. It was approximately 2 inches long with a green body that was segmented like an ant and it had brown wings.
The climate when I saw the bug was over cast and cool. It was between 8-9 am. Between 62-70 degrees. It’s generally very hot in this area of San Diego but it’s a very mild morning. It was in the grass and then on a tree (palm).
Hope you can figure it out and let me know because I’m facsinated to know…
Signature: Thanks!

Tarantula Hawk

We really wish we had seen this magnificent Tarantula Hawk, Numero Uno on our Big 5 list of Bugs that really know how to defend themselves around silly humans.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant wasp with an extra stinger?
Location: Ontario, Canada
August 31, 2011 6:36 pm
Hello bugman! I found this GIANT wasp on my back deck hanging out on the wall. Take a look at the stinger area, there seems to be an extra stinger or something protruding from its bum! very bizarre, and I can’t find a picture like it anywhere! Hope you can help me find out what this is!
Signature: curious

Pigeon Horntail

Dear Curious,
What you have mistaken for a stinger is actually this female Pigeon Horntail‘s ovipositor.  She deposits her eggs beneath the bark of diseased and dead trees and the wood boring larvae help break down the wood as part of the complex decomposition process.  The larvae of the Pigeon Horntails are preyed upon by another frightening looking but harmless non-stinging relative of wasps, the Stump Stabber, a very colorful name for the Giant Ichneumon.

Pigeon Horntail

Wow, thats really neat!  Thanks for helping me identify my bug and making it bug of the month!  It looked terrifying, so I kept my distance.  Glad to know its harmless as I was a bit of a wimp while looking at it!  Thanks again

PIgeon Horntail

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Wasp type bug – drillig holes
Location: North Vancouver, Canada
August 30, 2011 10:15 pm
We recently noticed loads of sawdust on our deck one morning, looked up to find a few little perfect round holes in a wood support beam outside our apartment. Since then we seen quite a few of these wasp like bugs coming and going through the holes. Not sure what they are though??.
Signature: S

Square Headed Wasps

Dear S.,
Many Solitary Bees, both native and introduced, nest in small holes in wood.  Though they are solitary Bees, they often nest in colonies with each female provisioning for her own offspring.  We believe these are Mason or Leaf Cutter Bees in the family Megachilidae, though we are not certain of the species.  We don’t believe the Bees have excavated the holes, but rather, they are utilizing the exit holes of some wood boring insect.  See BugGuide for additional photos and information on these fascinating Bees.  Gardeners who want to encourage native Bees to nest near plants that need to be pollinated might enjoy this informational Make a Bee Hotel web page. 

Square Headed Wasp

Correction Courtesy of Eric Eaton
Ah, well, they are not bees, for one thing!  These are square-headed wasps in the family Crabronidae, subfamily Crabroninae, and tribe Crabronini.  Genus?  Not sure, but Ectemnius and Lestica are both possibilities.  Ectemnius hunt flies, while Lestica hunt moths.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Wasp look-a-like damselfly
Location: Pandora, Ohio – NW OH Rural town on Creek
August 30, 2011 8:51 pm
Saw this giant bug today by the woodpile. I thought it was some sort of damsel fly, but it has antennae!? Sort of looks like a giant wasp too? Very weird. I live in NW Ohio on a creek. We were cutting down trees, and it was hanging out with a smaller mate, on the wood pile. Very docile and calm. Can you identify it ?
Signature: Itching to find out

Male Giant Ichneumon

Dear Itching to find out,
Stop your scratching.  This is a male Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, probably Megarhyssa macrurus. The Giant Ichnuemons, we recently learned, are called Stump Stabbers because of the long ovipositor of the the female.  We rarely get photos of male Giant Ichneumons, so we are very pleased to be able to post your beautiful images.

Male Stump Stabber

The hole in the wood in the lower right of one of your photos is most likely the exit hole of either this individual, one of its siblings, or possibly, its host insect the Pigeon Horntail.  Giant Ichneumons parasitize the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail.  Ichneumons are classified with wasps and bees in the order Hymenoptera.  Thank you for including a photo with a human finger for scale.

Male Giant Ichneumon

Awesome !  Thanks for the info – – glad I could be of help as well !   I will go out again today to see if I see them again !



What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

So sorry to send so many
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 29, 2011 6:14 pm
Here is one that is on a flower that I haven’t been able to identify. I do know that it’s tiny flowers go to seed much as a dandelion. Guess I should pull it up right away if I don’t want my whole garden to be taken over. Just wanted to wait until I could get a somewhat decent photo of this tiny guy. Can you help? I’m sending a photo of a bloom with a Mexican Sunflower leaf behind it so you can get an idea of the size. We know you’re very busy right now, but would appreciate any help you can give.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Carrot Wasp

Hi Again Anna,
We actually identified this one much more quickly than we anticipated.  We opened the digital photo up yesterday before we did any research and this morning we zeroed in on the Carrot Wasps in the genus
Gasteruption on BugGuide.  There is not too much information on the information page on BugGuide, except the unexplained common name Carrot Wasp and this statement regarding food:  “Adults take nectar; larvae are predators or predator-inquilines of other Hymenoptera that nest in twigs or other woody sites.”  We suspect the adults are fond of taking nectar from the umbel blossoms of carrots and related plants, including many herbs like parsley, dill, and anise.  Your specimen is a male, as he lacks the ovipositor of the female.  This Cirrus Images website has some beautiful photographs and from there we were directed to the Tree of Life website that more thoroughly covers the parasitic habits of the group.

Thanks very much!  This is such a small wasp and is very hard see, much less get in focus.  I’m so glad you were able to identify it for me.  I also appreciate the links to Cirrus Images & Tree of Life websites.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large Wasp/Hornet – Demise of elm
August 29, 2011  3:44 PM
Dear What’s That Bug,
(I have tried to use the online submission page but was not working very well.  I have a new ID request.)
I have (had, I should say) a “Liberty” Elm tree planted in the yard of the office. In the past two weeks, the tree has folded and has almost given up the ghost.  Since it has a few green leaves left, I will wait till it is finished before I do the autopsy. The insects are having a field day on the tree literately sucking the life out of the tree.  The ants were first to the party but now it has broken out into a  veritable sugar stick attracting all of the resident insect populations.  The giant wasp/hornet was in the 2in+ category and not very aggressive.  I am thinking European Hornet. What does the “What’s that Bug” crew have to say?  Did the hornets cause the holes?  And for bonus points, can someone tell me what is the most likely cause of death of the poor elm?
Thank you,
Jim Kirkland
University of Illinois
Illinois Forest Resource Center
R.R. 1, Box 255
Simpson, IL  62985

Cicada Killer drinks sap from a compromised Elm Tree

Hi Jim,
This has to be one of the most cheerful photos we have ever received of a Cicada Killer.  Even the photos of Cicada Killers with Cicadas are about the Cicada Killer providing for her brood, or in a sense, doing housework.  Here she is just taking a break and enjoying a sweet and nutritious drink.  With enough sugar in her, she will be able to hunt Cicadas for a long time.  We don’t know what is wrong with your elm tree, but we suspect it involves boring larvae, either Pigeon Horntails or Buprestidswe imagine.  Because we don’t know what is eating the trees, we will tag this as a mystery.   Your declining Elm tree is a marvelous study of the web of life that will surround it as it dies.  If you send us future updates, please continue to use the title Demise of Elm.

What's Eating the Elm Tree

Dear Daniel,  Thank you for the reminder, I am sure that at one time I knew that info.  Yes, the scavangers are doing their work, making sure that nothing goes to waste.  The ants were the first, now the party is very interracial and everyone is enjoying the sweet wine at the elm table.  Skippers, ants, wasps and bees, they are all enjoying the sweet smell of demise.  I especially enjoyed your description of a “cheerful” cicada Killer”! Every cicada killer is partying hard this year (especially since this is the year of majicicada emergence). They have  been drunk since the beginning of May when the singing began! This is their party your of good fortune!
Thanks, Jim Kirkland

Hi again Jim,
Since the
Magicicada species emerge periodically in prodigious numbers, they contribute a great deal to the food chain, however, they also emerge in late May and early June, significantly earlier than Cicada Killers, so we don’t believe Cicada Killers benefit from the various broods of 13 Year and 17 Year Cicadas.  That bounty benefits predators that are not species specific in their preferences.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination