What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp?
Location: Central Michigan
July 27, 2012 10:33 pm
A quick survey brought some suggestions… one of which was an ichneumon wasp. Are we right? This guy landed of the window of our business after a nasty hail storm today in Six Lakes, Michigan.
Signature: Gina

American Pelecinid

Hi Gina,
Ichneumon Wasp is a good guess, but not correct.  This American Pelecinid is the only member of its family found in North America, and like the Ichneumon, it is a parasitic Hymenopteran.  The female uses her long abdomen to deposit eggs underground and the larvae feed upon the grubs of June Beetles.

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

7 Responses to American Pelecinid

  1. just_chillin says:

    I have to say, I’m happy this site exists and I now know what it is I pulled out of my hair today while driving in my car! I must admit I was screaming while doing so and believe I will have nightmares tonight, as you can see I am a wimp when it comes to bugs! What I would like to know is, are these bugs harmless and how long do they stick around? I’ve only just noticed them today…I live in Ottawa, ON Canada

    • bugman says:

      For the moment we are going to just speculate and not research. We hope your nightmares are not too severe because the American Pelecinid poses no threat to you. The female uses her long, jointed abdomen to locate the grubs of June Beetles underground and she lays an egg on or near each grub which subsequently gets eaten alive by the growing Pelecinid larva. A female Wasp that needs to locate living prey for each egg she lays usually lives long enough to lay six or seven eggs. If it is a very good year for prey, she may lay considerably more eggs. That really depends on the hunting. We are guessing, based on the duration of time that we are in receipt of letters requesting that we identify Stump Stabbers, Cicada Killers and Great Golden Digger Wasps, that female predatory, solitary wasps live up to six weeks. In a specific region, they have a limited time when they can be observed.

  2. just_chillin says:

    Thank you bugman, I appreciate the info and you have put my mind to rest! I wish now I would have taken a picture while it was sitting in the passenger seat of my car! I don’t think I will ever get over the feeling of pulling it out of my hair but at least I know they are not harmful. We did have many June beetles here this year, or so I thought but I really haven’t noticed them around for probably at least 3 weeks now. Is that an indication that these bugs will soon not have anything to reproduce with until next year?

    • bugman says:

      American Pelecinid females prey upon larval June Beetles. If there were many June Beetles this year, they probably produced many eggs and future grubs, too early for the American Pelecinid you discovered to take advantage of that bounty, however, there might be numerous grubs this year as well.

  3. PMcP says:

    The reason I am here is one of these turned up in my back yard, September 21 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

    Pretty far north and pretty late in the year by the sounds of it.

    I certainly have never seen one before!

  4. T says:

    Thank goodness.
    I couldn’t find nemotodes anywhere and had major grub issues in my backyard.
    Would like to know if these pose a threat to any vegetation I might be growing.
    In particular, cucumber, tomato, peppers etc.
    Looking forward to feedback,
    As it stands now it looks as though this insect is a true blessing!!!!

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