What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large Predatory Wasp
Location: Waterford, CT
July 16, 2011 2:44 pm
Hello,
Every year without fail a few large wasps make burrows around our yard and attack anyone who dares walk past. We were under the impression they were cicada killers, so we left them alone up until now. This one burrowed right by the door, and went after me, so we have to kill it to make sure it didn’t go after our 1 year old daughter. To our surprise, it is not a cicada killer, but it is scary. What is it?
Signature: Therese

Great Golden Digger Wasp Carnage

Dear Therese,
This poor dead creature is a Great Golden Digger Wasp.  They prey upon Katydids, which they sting and paralyze.  Then the Katydid is dragged to a burrow and buried after an egg is laid upon it.  Adult Great Golden Digger Wasps are pollinators.  They are a beneficial species and it is our opinion that they should not be killed because of the fear of a potential sting.  It is also our opinion that if your one year old daughter managed to let herself out of the door, there are far greater dangers awaiting her in the world than a solitary wasp that is trying to provide for her own brood.  Solitary Wasps do not tend to be aggressive, and the chances of being stung by one are not very great.

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

7 Responses to DEAD: Great Golden Digger Wasp

  1. Juliet says:

    It’s nice to see a rational, considered approach to other living things. I do sometimes find the selfishness of people to be staggering – does something deserve to die just because you are scared of it? My general approach to insects and other invertebrates has been a live and let live one coupled with an interest in what they do. Strangely, even though I spent 15 years in the tropics and now live in the UK, I’ve never been overrun by anything and the only times I’ve been stung by anything was when it was my fault. I’ve often fed european wasps lemonade from the tip of my finger and never been stung.

  2. ryan says:

    Dear What’s That Bug,
    I disagree, this is not “unnecessary carnage,” it was necessary, or at least at the time. I do not think the one year old has to be ALONE to get stung, it is possible that this one year old could have been stung while in the arms, or alongside the parent as they exit the door.
    I feel as though protecting one’s children become the most important issue, and proper research of the creature should be done as soon as the problem arises, rather than after the child is stung and on the way to the hospital with a possible allergic reaction. Clearly I’m making assumptions but, in my opinion one cannot be too safe. unaggressive astray
    I love insects and have a great deal of experience with them, always have, but I feel as though WTB takes much too much offense from the death of any insect, even potentially dangerous ones and should not try to downplay a parent’s protective action. I have seen this before on WTB.
    What should have been said was something along the lines of: “We appreciate you protecting your child, and we would like to let you know that we deem katydid killers as beneficial benevolent creatures and in the future should not be killed…. unless of course they become a danger to your child.”
    I realize the species at hand (Great Golden Digger Wasp) is not normally aggressive, but I also acknowledge the potential they have at stinging a one year old child.
    I’ve had these opinions for awhile as I check WTB regularly, and I thought I should speak up. I don’t think I am the only person that feels this way, as I believe you folks at WTB receive emails from other readers’ in which they voice their similar opinions.

    Longtime WTB reader, and supporter of insect AND human life/wellbeing everywhere,
    Ryan

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for your perspective Ryan. Again, we would never want to imply that killing a harmful creature that is posing an imminent threat to any person, child or adult, or even beloved pet should be viewed senseless. Perceived threats are different from actual threats. We are merely voicing an opinion, that of our editorial staff, that education cannot begin too young. Granted the one year old daughter might not be able to comprehend the difference between sparing the life of a Great Golden Digger Wasp and killing one, but at some point, people do need to learn that many beneficial creatures have defense mechanisms and they need to be respected. It is impossible to kill every single perpetrator of a potential insect or arthropod attack without obliterating all life on this planet. We personally believe that mankind is moving in that direction and even the tiniest gesture toward the respect for any life may result in the grandest of gestures in the future. We hope our belief has not soured you to WTB?

    • bugman says:

      One more thing Ryan: Your email has inspired us to create a new tag: The Big 5 or Five Potentially Dangerous “Bugs”

  3. ryan says:

    Bugman,
    I’m glad to have been an inspiration! Thanks for hearing me out.

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