What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

HUGE swarm of…
Mr. Bugman,
I was out about an hour before dusk photographing a dragonfly when I stirred up what I thought was a huge swarm of mosquitoes especially considering the hour. However upon closer inspection ( What possessed me to want to get CLOSER to such a large swarm…I don’t know) anyways, they appear to be some form of wasp. They behave just like mosquitoes though, in that, I couldn’t locate any central “nest” they were simply perched on all the branches and leaves of the plants, when stirred up it just looks like a dense swarm of mosquitoes. I’m not sure if the photo is clear enough to ID from but that’s as close as I could get without stirring them up. They are approximately 1/2″ to 3/4″ long. By the way, by a HUGE swarm, I mean they were collected on the plants like in the photo covering an area about 75ft by 10ft. I found these in Southeast Alabama, almost to the Florida Border. Thanks in advance,
Clayton

Hi Clayton,
This is a aggregation of male Tiphiid Wasps, probably the Five Banded Tiphiid, Myzinum quinquecinctum. Over the years, we have received two other reports of this behavior with photos. The nonstinging male wasps form “bachelor parties” when bedding down for the night, though the reason is unclear.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

4 Responses to Aggregation of Tiphiid Wasps

  1. We “found” such an aggregation yesterday evening just outside Andover, Kansas. The description of them says that they are all “males” and that males do not have working stingers.
    Well, both my son and I were stung without warning – practically before we even saw them. I thought I had disturbed an unknown hive while pulling grass. For such little critters, they pack a Good Punch ! A few days ago, we had seen a small bee/wasp attacking a tomato worm – I can only imagine what that worm was feeling during and after being “stung” time and time again !

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for letting us know about your experience. We know of no instances of male wasps stinging, as they lack stingers, so we can only conclude that you encountered female wasps, and since there is no image attached, we cannot conclude that they were Tiphiid Wasps. This banding pattern is not unusual in wasps, so perhaps you encountered a nest of some social species, possibly Paper Wasps.

  2. Kelly says:

    I found an aggregation on my wisteria. Thankfully I found your info through pictures in Google. We recently had a May beetle frenzy about 2 weeks ago ( I call them June bugs) but any who, this large group of males has been hanging out in the evening on the wisteria. The fact that they attack the June Bug larvae makes sense! Huge congregations of June bugs in my rose bush, and one other flowering tree in my yard. I didn’t notice any in the wisteria as it is farther back in the yard. They have no interest in me thankfully, but they do get hyper if you get close to the wisteria. Thanks for the info. It is greatly appreciated!

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