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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

Weird lookin bug!
August 20, 2011
So we just pulled into a campsite outside of Mobil, Alabama and saw this little guy running around. Never seen them were I’m from any ideas?
Sean Reid


Hi Sean,
We hope our response got to you before you tried picking up this Velvet Ant.  Velvet Ants are flightless female wasps and they can sting.  This species,
Dasymutilla occidentalis, is reported to have a sting that is so painful they are called Cowkillers.  Once a reader supplied a comment that when cows get stung, they often begin running, sometimes falling down and injuring themselves to the point that they have to be put down, hence the name Cowkiller.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Some sort of spider wasp
Location: Bel Air, Maryland, U.S.A.
August 20, 2011 6:14 pm
I was coming back to the house from the garden. I walked around the corner and noticed a wasp fly up and away from a spider. I got to the door and it returned to the spider. I grabbed the camera and tried to get a couple shots. I couldn’t get very close without it flying off. So I snapped a picture from as close as I could get. The spider is pretty large, just slightly smaller than a quarter.
It was about 4 p.m. on August 20 near Bel Air, Maryland. Temperature was about 88F and it was rather humid since we’ve been having thunder storms pretty much ever evening.
I have a larger photo if it will help.
Signature: Greg in Maryland

Spider Wasp attacks Wolf Spider

Dear Greg,
We are very happy to be posting your thrilling photo to our Food Chain page.  You are correct that this is a Spider Wasp.  We have identified it as
Tachypompilus ferrugineus based on photos posted to BugGuide.  Though the curled position of the spider does not permit us to be certain of its identity, we thought it must be either a Wolf Spider or a Funnel Web Spider, but the genus page for Tachypompilus on BugGuide indicates:  “Females provision nests mainly with Lycosids.”  That would indicate that the spider in your photo is a Wolf Spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination