Help identifying this “long skinny bee”?
June 10, 2010
These flying insects just began to appear last week. I have some children’s toys (inflatable pool, large molded plastic slides, large molded plastic playhouse) and these insects just appear to be swarming around them. There’s about 15-20 bugs around each toy and they never appear to really land on them, they just fly around them. I looked inside the playhouse and under the slides and couldn’t find any nests. It has been very hot and humid, 90+ degrees lately. The insects look like long skinny bees, and they don’t fly like a wasp. I’m no expert, but it looks like a stinger poking out of the end of the body. I found a dead one in the kiddy pool and attached some pics.
Hernando, Mississippi (northwest mississippi)
You have Five Banded Tiphiid Wasps, Myzinum quinquecinctum, a solitary wasp that sometimes forms aggregations of males like this example on BugGuide. Of the genus BugGuide indicates “Adults found on flowers, take nectar” and “Larvae are parasitoids of white grubs (scarab larvae), especially May Beetles, Phyllophaga. Female lays one egg per grub in soil. Larvae hatches, penetrates host, first feeding on non-essential tissues, later feeding on essential organs and killng host. Pupae overwinter in soil and adults emerge in early summer, with one generation per year.” Of the species, BugGuide indicates: “Males are more slender than the females and have an upturned black hook at the end of the abdomen.” Based on that description, we believe your specimen is a male, and male wasps cannot sting. Eric Eaton ponders on a BugGuide posting: “Is it possible male wasps are social because they have no defense mechanism, like a stinger, thus need ‘group’ protection?“