Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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Flying Bug on Yarrow
Location: Austin, TX
April 30, 2011 6:59 pm
This bug was found at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX – I believe the flower that it’s visiting is called yarrow. Taken on April 26, 2011.
Signature: Jennifer H

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Jennifer,
Ladybird is our favorite first lady because of her campaign to beautify America by planting trees and shrubs.  This magnificent Spider Wasp is a Tarantula Hawk, a member of several genera that hunt Tarantulas to feed to their young.  The female Tarantula locates a Tarantula and stings it which paralyzes the Tarantula, but does not kill it.  The female Tarantula Hawk then buries the spider after laying an egg.  The larva of the wasp then feeds on the living but paralyzed Tarantula which ensures the meat is fresh.  The vital organs are eaten last.  The sting of a Tarantula Hawk is reported to be quite painful.  Only the female stings.  These large distinctive wasps, generally with black bodies and red wings, are frequently seen taking nectar from flowers including milkweed.  You can find more information about Tarantula Hawks on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this?
Location: Fanling, Hong Kong
April 17, 2011 1:22 am
Hello, I am on a trip to Hong Kong and yesterday spotted several large flying things, black in colour with a red head and red/black abdomen. They were hanging around in groups of 4 or more, and circling in flight in pairs – any idea what they are?!
Thank you
- Roo
Signature: Roowilliams

Digger Wasp

Dear Roo,
We didn’t think getting an identification on this distinctive looking Red Headed Bee would be difficult, but that identification is proving to be quite elusive.  Perhaps one of our readers will supply an identification.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your quick reply! I forgot to mention that these things are huge, around 5cm in length! I have more pictures but am still on my trip in HK and using a small netbook which is frustrating to do any photo editing on, so I will submit when I return to the UK.
Best wishes

Update:  Digger Wasp not Bee
April 19, 2011
We just received a comment identifying this as a Digger Wasp,
Megascolia azurea.  The Siam Insect Zoo website has some photos that seem to corroborate this identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Orange beetle eating/killing a spider?
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
April 6, 2011 5:28 am
Hi Bugman,
My sister took this photo in her backyard in Melbourne, Australia,
She said that it appeared that the beetle/bug was dragging the spider along and thought that the spider was the prey. Eventually the bug dropped the spider and she didn’t see what happened to either of them. You can probably tell from the photo that both spider and bug were pretty massive.
I thought the bug might be some sort of assassin bug but it doesn’t really look too much like any of the photos of them I’ve been able to find on the net.
Any ideas?
Signature: Madeleine

Spider Wasp with Huntsman Spider

Hi Madeleine,
This magnificent predator is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae and we believe it is
Cryptocheilus bicolor which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect website.  The drama would seem to imply that the Spider Wasp is going to enjoy a large meal, but in fact, Spider Wasps feed on nectar.  Female Spider Wasps provision a nest with Spiders that are paralyzed, but not killed, by a sting.  The Spider Wasp lays a single egg on the paralyzed Spider which then provides a fresh meal for the larval wasp.  If the Spider was killed first, it would dry up and the wasp larva would starve.  Keeping the Spider paralyzed ensures a fresh meal for the larva.  Many Spider Wasps are selective about the types of Spiders they hunt, and Cryptocheilus bicolor is generally associated with Huntsman Spiders.  The nest is of this species is an underground burrow, and once the prey has been paralyzed, the Spider Wasp must transport the heavy load to the nest.  We believe the Spider Wasp climbs to a high point and glides with the prey since taking off in flight with so much weight would not be possible.  The bricks in this photo provide a nice sense of scale.

Spider Wasp with Huntsman Spider

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for your quick and very informative response!
This is definitely the insect that is pictured – the photo and behavioural traits match exactly… What an interesting life cycle!
I will pass this information on to my sister who will be very pleased to see the “mystery” solved.  She will perhaps also be happy to know she has a native creepy crawly that is keeping the huntsman numbers down a little!
Thanks again for getting back to me.
Kind regards

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Canned larvae
Location: San Antonio, TX
April 4, 2011 1:06 am
Hi Daniel,
This caterpillar(?) was in my rosebush dirt, and at first it looked like a grub, but then I plucked him out and he definitely had caterpillar legs. He was maybe half an inch long and very grubby looking. Anyways, I have no idea what he is. Doesn’t he look as if he’s just popped out of a can?
Signature: Bughugger

Sawfly Larva

Dear Bughugger,
You probably realize that many caterpillars are difficult to properly identify, but we do not believe this is a Caterpillar.  In our opinion, this is a Sawfly Larva, and Sawfly Larvae are often confused with Caterpillars.  Many Sawfly Larvae are difficult to properly identify to the species level, but we did find a very close match on BugGuide, but alas, it is unidentified.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What bug is this?
Location: Metro, Sydney.
March 31, 2011 11:59 pm
Dear Bugman,
Can you please help identify what this bug is.
I live in metropolitan Sydney and I took a photo of this in my back yard. Its approximatly 1cm in length, shiny black with features that resemble a cicada, fly and a grasshopper. Can you help me know who my neighbour is. Thank you!
Signature: Damian

Ensign Wasp

Hi Damian,
This is an Ensign Wasp, and it really needs to be recognized as it performs a significant function.  Ensign Wasps parasitize the oothica or egg cases of Cockroaches, though to the best of our knowledge, there have not been any studies on how effective Ensign Wasps are in controlling Cockroach populations.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tampa Bay Florida swamp bugs
March 26, 2011 3:18 pm
Hello you wonderful people.
I am hoping you might help with this. They and many others of their kind were mostly in pairs, attached and motionless to the underside of some mangrove or perhaps myrtle bush leaves at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, St Petersburg, FL 33707 (or close to that zip). I asked one of the guides who said, Hmmm, I don’t know.
Perhaps you could help me and I’ll help them?
Signature: margo rose

Sawfly Larvae

Dear Margo Rose,
We are relatively certain that these are the Larvae of Sawflies, but beyond that, we have not had any luck finding a species name.  Sawflies are related to Wasps and Bees, and the larvae of many species resemble caterpillars.  Some species of Sawflies have larvae that gregariously feed in great numbers, often defoliating trees.  You may have better luck than we have had by browsing through the images on BugGuide.  Knowing the host plant for certain should help narrow the search.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination