Currently viewing the category: "Parasitic Hymenopterans"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tan flying bug
Location: Central New Jersey, United States
August 26, 2014 6:55 pm
The big just bit my wife. She is pregnant. Should I be concerened? It’s August (obviously) and hot out.
Signature: Mike

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Hi Mike,
This looks like a parasitic wasp known as an Ichneumon to us, and we believe she was stung, not bitten.  We don’t believe there is any cause for concern, but we are not medical professionals nor are we entomologists, so if you have any doubts, we would urge a visit to the doctor.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unidentified wasp?
Location: Fannie, Ark.
August 25, 2014 8:57 am
Found and photographed a couple of days ago in Montgomery County, Arkansas. I think its a wasp but would like to know what kind. Thank you.
Signature: Bill Burton

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Bill,
We believe this is a Parasitic Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, a large and diverse family.  According to BugGuide:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”  It looks very similar to this image of
Saranaca elegans posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the larval food is the caterpillar of “Darapsa myron”, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx is found in Arkansas.  We may be way off base with the species, but we are confident that we have at least gotten the family identification correct.

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flying Scorpion? Panorpa nuptialis?
Location: Fort Collins, CO
August 22, 2014 2:30 pm
I found this yesterday in an old pot.
Live in Fort Collins, CO.
I am afraid I killed it, even though it bothered me to do so, but it looked somewhat dangerous!
Have never seen anything like this! A friend in Mexico sent me news of Panorpa nuptialis… “flying scorpion” but I am not sure it is enough similar…
Ideas?
Signature: mes

American Pelecinid

American Pelecinid

Dear mes,
This is an American Pelecinid,
Pelecinus polyturator, the only member of its family in the continental United States.  This parasitic wasp uses its long abdomen to deposit eggs underground in the proximity of Scarab Beetle Grubs which the larval wasps eat.  American Pelecinids are not known to sting, but whenever we write that an insect is harmless, or not aggressive, someone writes in to dispute us.  In our opinion, this beneficial insect was killed unnecessarily, and we are tagging the posting as Unnecessary Carnage and we hope that you will be understanding if you encounter another American Pelecinid.  This is most definitely not a Scorpionfly, which is how Panorpa nuptialis is classified.

THANK YOU for this post, and for the education.
I am generally not squeamish around insects (having lived 17 years of my adult life in Mexico) and I sincerely regret falling into the “ew” category with this American Pelecinid. I was feeling mother bear I think…
Thank you so much for the identification which I will post around to try to atone for having lost this one!
Thanks for the good work you do
Mes

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Freaked out mom
Location: Maryland/Pennsylvania
August 11, 2014 3:03 pm
Found this bug up at grandpas farm. Wondering what it is worried if it stings the kids. Found it a few weeks ago hanging around the dead walnut tree.
Signature: Concerned

Stump Stabber laying eggs

Stump Stabber laying eggs

Dear Concerned,
This is a female Ichneumon in the genus Megarhyssa, commonly called a Stump Stabber.  She is in the process of laying eggs.  Stump Stabbers are not aggressive towards humans.  The eggs layed beneath the bark will parasitize the larvae of Wood Wasps that are feeding on the dead or dying tree.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this an American Daggar Moth Caterpillar?
Location: Cleveland, OH
August 8, 2014 5:28 pm
I have seen so many of these caterpillars this year in my backyard! I think this is an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar, but why does it have these weird things on its back? All of these caterpillars are surrounding my pool and sometimes fall in.
Signature: MissX

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar with Parasitoid Pupae

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar with Parasitoid Pupae

Dear MissX,
In our opinion, this is a Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Halysidota harrisii, and it is host to the pupae of a parasitoid wasp, most likely a Braconid.  Parasitoid Wasps are often very host specific, preying upon a single species or genus.  Parasitoids feed on the internal organs of the host species, eventually killing the host.  See this matching image on BugGuide and this matching image on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange wasp? Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, MA
July 21, 2014 5:56 am
My niece was in Cape Cod last year and couldn’t identify what this (wasp?) is. I’ve never seen anything like it. She asked several scientists that were there too and they couldn’t either. I don’t know if any were entomologists. It was just hanging out on a picnic table I believe.
Signature: Joe

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Hi Joe,
We sincerely doubt that any of the scientists were entomologists, because even those that specialize in other insect orders should recognize a Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber in the genus
Megarhyssa.  Despite the formidable looking ovipositor, Giant Ichneumons are not aggressive and they are not capable of stinging humans.  With that stated, the ovipositor is used by the female to lay eggs beneath the surface of dead and dying trees and stumps that contain the wood boring larvae of Horntails and Woodwasps, so it might be possible for the ovipositor to pierce human skin, though we think it is highly unlikely for a Stump Stabber to mistake a human limb for an infested tree.  Several members of the genus look very similar, so we are reluctant to attempt a species identification.  Another distinctive member of the genus, Megarhyssa atrata, is our featured Bug of the Month for July 2014.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination