What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this pest???
Location:  Houston, Texas
July 12, 2011 8:46 PM
I found these two pests flying around my home yesterday and tonight July 11, 2011.  I recently moved into my new home and I now have a new pest to deal with.  This bug has hind legs similar to a grasshopper; wings like a fly; a bulb bottom like a wasp stinger; blue eyes; and is extremely hard to kill!  I placed the first one in this baggy and it lived for an entire day.  The second bug is still alive after I smashed it with a fly swatter and its been inside a closed bag for ten hours.  What is this scary looking mutant?
Lola @ Houston, Tx.
Teachers Make All Other Professions Possible!

Ensign Wasp Carnage

Dear Lola,
We find your letter most troubling and we hope we can use our response to educate you.  Our first challenge to you is to question why you automatically assumed that these Ensign Wasps are pests?  How do you define a pest?  We propose this to you because Ensign Wasps are harmless creatures that cannot sting humans.   Ensign Wasps parasitize the oothecae or egg cases of Cockroaches.  The wasp larva consumes the cockroach eggs before pupating within the now empty ootheca, helping to naturally control the population of cockroaches.  Without a natural means of control, Cockroaches will multiply and that might necessitate frequent visits from the exterminator which costs money and introduces poisonous pesticides to the home.  If there are Ensign Wasps in your home, that is probably an indication that a food supply is nearby.  We noticed your tagline that “Teachers Make All Other Professions Possible!” and we applaud you for using the internet to identify the creatures you have encountered in your home, but we wish that you had decided to educate yourself about them first before swatting and suffocating these beneficial creatures.  Not everything you encounter in your new home is a pest.

First and foremost, thank you very kindly for your quick response to my inquiry.  I am happy to finally put an identity to this new insect I have never before encountered.
Now, as far as my naming this wasp a “pest”, I find it completely fitting and I can briefly explain why (as you ask for my definition).  My four year old son became fearful of these wasps as they seem to purposely fly near our faces and around us and are not just spending time on a wall or in and out an open door or window.
Yes, as my tag mentions, I am a teacher and find it interesting that you mention it as some sort of way to belittle my wanting to rid this home of an insect I am unfamiliar with.  Though I do have great scientific interests, I find my son’s peace much more priority and anything disturbing him that I encounter will become secondary.  You mention I should have “educated” myself beforehand and I ask you, how else would I have been able to capture the photos, get a closer look, and educate myself had I not swatted these FAST flying wasps and placed it in a bag?
Truly you may want to consider proofreading your outgoing mail before hitting send and turning a newly interested reader to your site into someone who finds this more personally based than that of sharing knowledge.
Thanks again as I now have learned more than the name of this new insect.
Next time someone encounters your site and is genuinely seeking assistance in identifying an insect they’ve never before encountered don’t make it personal.  It takes away from your own credibility, as well as your site.
Thanks for this one time exchange.
Teachers Make All Other Professions Possible!

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Texas

13 Responses to Ensign Wasps suffocated and swatted

  1. aussietrev says:

    Gee some people are so touchy. Once captured they could easily have been photographed and identified without killing them since you “had one in a bag for a whole day”and then you could have educated your son about beneficial insects so he wouldn’t be so scared in future. Thankfully you point out this is a one time exchange so we won’t have to see your unnecessary carnage popping up again.

  2. lauraof131 says:

    I agree with Trevor and Bugman. When I read that the teacher kept live creatures in a bag with no air for hours I was shocked. Why not just let them go outdoors. Seems like that would be a nice lesson in compassion for the child.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you Laura, for your interesting perspective on what might have become a marvelous learning experience in both science, pesticide free pest control (Cockroaches are rumored to be associated with asthma in children, and we suspect use of pecticides might be the true catalyst for the syndrome), and social skills.

  3. cmiller says:

    OH no, she killed an insect, the world is gonna end! I agree, you did seem to be kind of rude to her. I’m all about getting educated about what this or that is in the house but if I encounter something in my home that appears to have a stinger, whether it does or not, whether beneficial or not, I’m going to kill it and then find out what it is. If its not harmful, I’ll decide next time whether or not to kill or catch and release…. Anyway, I had to register and comment because of how people are acting over killing a bug. How many insects do you murder everytime you drive your car… wow

    • bugman says:

      In hindsight, we probably were a bit sarcastic. You might enjoy this old posting entitled Car Grill Road Kill. Our editorial staff commutes using public transportation, but trains and buses don’t break for bugs either.

    • lil bug says:

      I liked the way she played both the teacher and the mommy cards to justify her worldview of fear and cruelty.

      I also liked the way she colonized her son’s interest while spanking The Bugman as though he were a six-year-old who should crumple at her mighty mommorial authority.

      Once upon a time people said, “It’s just a slave, who cares?” “It’s just a dog/cat/horse, who cares?” “It’s just a river, who cares?” “It’s just a pit mine, who cares?” “It’s just a permanently irradiated desert, who cares?”

      “It’s just a bug, who cares” is more of the same thinking: human ignorance and ego that quickly justify their actions, slap down all challenges to their assumptions, and cut off the bearer of viewpoints they don’t wish to hear.

      I’d hate to have my tax dollars paying THAT teacher’s salary.

      • bugman says:

        We maintain that our mission at What’s That Bug? is to promote an understanding of the interconnectivity of all things on our planet (and beyond) and an appreciation and tolerance of the lower beasts.

  4. dongswatter says:

    You guys are assholes who gives a shit about that ugly ass bug there are plenty left.

    • bugman says:

      Dear Dongswatter at Cheesepooter33,
      There is no need for us to call you any names because you have done a much better job than we ever could at giving yourself childish, scatological pseudonyms.

  5. Meg says:

    I have a giant fear of parasitic anything, and I’m also sorry to say that coming across this bug, I killed it. It looked like a spider, and it could fly — I just don’t like bugs. However, I want to learn more about this bug; do they lay eggs in humans? Could it be possible to use humans as a subsitute? If I found one, is there more to follow? Please answer, I know its harmless, but still…

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