Currently viewing the category: "Scoliid Wasps"
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Subject: What’s this insect?
Location: Homosassa, Florida, United States
July 5, 2015 9:52 am
I live in the United States (Florida. I found this wasp floating in my swimming pool skimmer the other day. From what I’ve been able to determine, it is a male mammoth wasp. Is this a mammoth wasp? If so, are they now living in the United States. I’ve read that this species is from Europe. Thank you.
Signature: Melanie

Scarab Hunter Wasp:  Scolia bicincta

Scarab Hunter Wasp: Scolia bicincta

Dear Melanie,
Your wasp is
Scolia bicincta, a member of the family Scoliidae whose members are called Mammoth Wasps, Flower Wasps or Scarab Hunter Wasps.  We can assure you that your wasp is native.  This particular species is generally called a Scarab Hunter or Double Banded Scoliid, and the name Mammoth Wasp is generally reserved for the European species. 

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Subject: Wasp identification
Location: Vail, az
June 30, 2015 10:02 pm
Hello,
On a hot and sunny tucson summer day I found this curiosity burrowed in my grass, apparently trying to keep cool. I know it’s not a tarantula hawk from the antenna, but it was making stinging-like motion with its abdomen on the stick I used to relocate away from me and my children. Wish I had a clearer picture of the mouth, but, what say you?
Thank you for your wonderful site!
Signature: Jennifer

Scoliid Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Jennifer,
Thanks for the compliment.  We believe we have correctly identified your Scoliid Wasp as Triscolia ardens based on images that are posted to BugGuide.  Alas, BugGuide does not provide any information on the species, and the genus information is also very limited on BugGuide except for “a single species in our area, 2 total”, however, the family page on BugGuide indicates common names “Flower Wasps, Mammoth Wasps, Scarab Hawks, Scarab Hunters” and provides this information:  “Larvae are parasitoids of ground-dwelling scarab grubs, esp. Phyllophaga; adults take nectar.  Life Cycle  Female digs down to the host grub, stings it, and lays an egg on the paralyzed grub.”  Perhaps your wasp is hunting for Scarab Beetle larvae in the lawn.  Scarab Hunters are not aggressive wasps, but because you were thoughtful enough to relocate it due to concerns for your children’s safety rather than to kill it, we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award

Scoliid Wasp

Scarab Hunter Wasp

 

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Subject: Black wasp with yellow head
Location: Naracoorte SA
December 26, 2014 7:41 pm
Hi Mr Bugman, if love your help please! I’ve just been bitten or stung (several times it would appear!) by this wasp.
As is to be expected, it’s incredibly painful! I’m currently lying on the couch with ice applied – what a wonderful excuse to watch the cricket!!
I’m in Naracoorte SA and Im not at all familiar with this type of wasp however my mum tells me she has seen them about.
Can you please identify the wasp so that I may call my new nemesis by name!
By the way, it took half a dozen attempts to kill, his body must be extremely hard!
Many thanks in advance
Belle Baker
Signature: ??

Mammoth Wasp, we believe

Mammoth Wasp, we believe

Dear Belle,
Though we were not able to locate any matching images on iSpot or elsewhere on the internet, we believe that this is a Mammoth Wasp in the family Scoliidae based on its resemblance to this European species of Mammoth Wasp.  It is curious that we were not able to find any South African documentation on such a distinctive looking, large wasp.

Ed. Note:  Correction South Australia, not South Africa
Thank you, that’s really interesting. Naracoorte is in South Australia, not South Africa…
Warmest Regards, Belle

Thanks for alerting us to the South Australia location.  That makes a big difference.  We believe we have correctly identified your Mammoth Wasp as a Blue Flower Wasp, Discolia verticalis, thanks to the BushCraftOz website where it states:  “Large solitary wasps. Very hairy with dark blue body and yellow patch behind head. Adults have shiny dark blue wings and stoutly built. Nectar feeders, especially eucalyptus blossum. Females have spiny legs for digging in wood or soil searching for beetle larvae and other insects to parasite. Size – up to 59 mm. There are 25 species of flower wasps that belong to Scoliidae.  Note: Flower wasps will sting if disturbed. Multiple stings can cause systemic reaction.
Warning – if symptons indicate systemic reaction seek urgent medical advice.”  There is a distribution map on the Atlas of Living Australia

Update:  January 1, 2015
Subject: Blue Flower Wasp
January 1, 2015 2:57 pm
Thanks to your site we have decided on  the Blue Flower Wasp as the identity of a swarm (probably 10+ )of wasps buzzing around a Blue Gum for the last 2 mornings. They disappear through the day. They have never been seen to land and make a very low pitched buzz as they fly close to you.  In 25 years we have never seen them before.  They are not aggressive, even when (with some difficulty – they are fast!) we netted one for a close look.  We are in Beetaloo Valley, Southern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.
Signature: John Birrell

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Subject: Identification Needed!
Location: Georgia
December 1, 2014 7:56 pm
Hi! I am trying to identify numerous insects for an entomology course. My project is due in two days so I am desperate to identify these insects. Every insect I have came from the middle Georgia area and were found between August-November. Please identify as many as you can! I know the picture quality is not the best so even a guess will work! I will submit 3 photos per insect for you to see multiple views. I will be very grateful for your help!
Signature: Thank you so much!

Double Banded Scoliid

Double Banded Scoliid

We do not plan to call off work today to respond to your desperate plea to identify all the insects in the fifteen emails you sent last night.  We suggest that you use BugGuide and our own archives to do your own identifications based on the wealth of knowledge we are presuming you were taught in your course.  The most popular posting on our site continues to be What’s That Bug? Will Not Do Your Child’s Homework.  You need to pass (or fail) on your own.

Ed. Note:  This is a Double Banded Scoliid, Scolia bicincta, which can be verified on BugGuide.

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Subject: wasp?
Location: ohio
August 31, 2014 5:42 am
Do wasps collect nectar?
Signature: kelley

Blue Winged Wasp

Blue Winged Wasp

Dear Kelley,
This is a Blue Winged Wasp or Digger Wasp,
Scolia dubia, and like many wasps, adults feed on nectar.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults take nectar, may also feed on juices from beetle prey.  Larvae are parasites of green June beetles and Japanese beetles.”  Most young wasps are carnivorous, but they cannot hunt for food, so adult female Social Wasps hunt for prey and return to the nest with it to feed the young, or in the case of solitary wasps, they will sting and paralyze food to provide fresh meals when the eggs hatch and the larvae begin to feed.

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Subject: Wasp-like Insect
Location: Central Alabama
August 20, 2014 12:45 pm
Hello. Recently have seen several of these around, esp. near my flowering mint plants. Not sure what they are. I suspect they might sting, but are very docile in nature.
Signature: Wayne

Double Banded Scoliid

Double Banded Scoliid

Dear Wayne,
This beautiful Scarab Hunter or Flower Wasp in the family Scoliidae is commonly called a Double Banded Scoliid,
Scolia bicincta.  As you indicated, they are docile wasps that are solitary in nature.  While we acknowledge that they might sting if the are threatened or carelessly handled, there is very little chance of a sting if they are not bothered.  Scarab Hunter wasps are beneficial insects that help to control the populations of Scarab Beetles.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination