Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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

Strange Bug?
Location: Zumbro Falls, MN (Mississippi River Vally)
August 14, 2011 3:59 pm
We where camping and found this bug on a almost completely dead tree. What we though was a large wasp but after a closer look it wasn’t a wasp but some wasp/mayfly looking thing, we stood there and ask a lot of people walking by, and everyone was stumped, can you help?
Signature: ?no idea?

Giant Ichneumon Ovipositing

Hi Lars,
This Giant Ichnuemon,
Megarhyssa atrata, is in the process of laying eggs.  She is a parasitoid member of the wasp and bee order, and her prey are the wood boring larvae of a wood wasp known as the Pigeon Horntail.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Feeding the Cicada Killers
Location: Cumberland Plateau, rural southeast Tennessee
August 14, 2011 4:42 pm
Hello Daniel,
We have recently had at least two wasps, which I believe are Cicada Killers, feeding at our Hummingbird feeders. I noticed that you had a photo of one feeding on a tree and mentioned not having many photos of them feeding. Trust me that the hummingbirds are not amused to have these visitors chase them away from their perches at the feeder! Thanks as always, for your continued work.
Signature: Bob Kieffer

Baldfaced Hornet

Hi Bob,
You have mistaken this Baldfaced Hornet for a Cicada Killer.  We once accused them of being aggressive, but we have since softened our assessment.  Baldfaced Hornets are not an aggressive species, however, they are social wasps and they will defend their nest from any perceived threats.  See this posting for an image of a large paper nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cicada Killer…Killing a cicada!
Location: Morningside Park, Manhattan, New York
August 14, 2011 4:56 pm
I guess this wasp must be one of those Cicada Killers, judging by the fact that it is clearly killing this cicada! I saw this thing flying at me across a busy intersection near Morningside Park. The two bugs together made quite a large mass of buzzing insect, and at first I couldn’t figure out what it was, and just stepped back in fear of getting stung. Then I realized it was this wasp carrying its prey through the air. It landed on a nearby lamppost and I was able to snap a few shots, of which one came out decently. I hope you like it!
Signature: Jenny Jo

Cicada Killer preys upon Cicada

Hi Jenny Jo,
Though we have no shortage of Cicada Killers preying upon Cicadas on our site, what makes your letter so intriguing to us is your concise eye witness account as well as your location.  It is wonderful to know that both Cicada Killers and Cicadas can be found in Manhattan.  Your description of the Cicada Killer and its freight flying through the air and landing on a lamp post is critical to understanding the Cicada Killers instincts.  It is highly likely that the load weighs more than the carrier, and getting airborne from the ground is probably very difficult if not highly unlikely.  We have read that Cicada Killers climb up a tree or pole so that they do not have to take off from the ground, adding needed altitude to the flight.  It expends considerably less energy that way.  The fact that the Cicada Killer that you witnessed chose a lamp post as a landing field ensured that it would not have to search for a structure to climb while on the ground on a busy street in Manhattan, ensuring its survival until it reaches the site of its underground nest.  Thanks so much for submitting a photo to our site that did not require an identification.  As an aside, Annual Cicadas in the genus
Tibicen, especially the northern species Tibicen canicularis, is frequently called the Dogday Harvestfly.  See BugGuide for verification.

Thanks for the note!  The wasp landed near the base of the lamp post
an did, indeed, climb upward after landing.  I didn’t have time to
stick around until she took off, though.  I love how she is able to
hang onto the texture of the paint with only one foot.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Like our good friend Susan Lutz of Eat Sunday Dinner, we find ways to procrastinate.  Susan now procrastinates by cooking and developing new recipes, like her Procrastination Spaghetti Sauce, and though we have other commitments, we frequently defer them by turning to all the marvelous email requests that are sent to What’s That Bug?  We are supposed to be writing a letter of recommendation for Elizabeth who is applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award, and as the deadline looms upon us, all of the writing to date has been in our mind.  We turned to an old computer for some historical records involving Elizabeth, and we realized that a marvelous photo taken by Joshua Stanley and Marnia Johnston of the Tarantula Hawk on Milkweedfrom our archives was there in its high resolution form.  The photo predates both the acquisition of our new office computer and the site migration we underwent several years ago.  From the current computer and our current WTB? access, only a thumbnail version of this photo was available, and we are now thrilled to republish the image in a higher resolution form.  Just click on the photo to see an enlarged version.  You can do this with all of the photos that were posted after our site migration.

Tarantula Hawk and Milkweed Longhorn on Milkweed

The reason we are especially interested in having a larger resolution version of this photo available is that we have become very interested in the complex ecosystem surrounding milkweed, and we have recently created a Milkweed Meadow tag.  We want to propose a slide presentation and talk to the Theodore Payne Foundation on the insects associated with milkweed, with a concentration of Southern California species that depend upon Esclapias eriocarpa,  Indian Milkweed, and other native Milkweeds that can be purchased at the TPF nursery.  To bring our procrastination full circle, that is Elizabeth weeding recently in Elyria Canyon Park.

Elizabeth Weeds in the Elyria Canyon Park Milkweed Meadow


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination