Please tell me what this bug is
I retain rights to this image.

Hi Ted,
We are posting your image, but we are a non profit site and will not reproduce it in any future publications. Your Odd Looking Wasp is Pelecinus polyturator, a large and striking insect. According to Borror and Delong: “The female is 2 inches or more in length, shining black, with the abdomen very long and slender; the male, which is extremely rare in this country, is about an inch long and has the posterior part of the abdomen swollen. The females do not sting. this insect is parasitic on the larvae of June Beetles.” Our Audubon Guide also adds: “Female shoves its abdomen deep into soil to detect host larvae below, then lays eggs one at a time, each on a separate host. Pelecinid larvae burrow into hosts, killing them. They scavange on remains.”

21 Responses to American Pelecinid

  1. 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!

  2. Parker Desroche says:

    I just found one of these in Prince Edward Island, Canada tonight. It sure was creepy looking and coming too close to my infant son for my liking- so it was killed… Oooops!
    Glad to hear it’s not harmful to humans. I’ll know if I see one again.

    • Anonymat says:

      This is so interesting. I’ve been fascinated by insects my entire life and had never seen or heard of this one before.

      I was in PEI (Cavendish) this weekend also and saw one. Immediately searched the internet for classification and saw your comment.

  3. Marina Fata says:

    While watering my garden I noticed what I thought was a winged scorpion. I am afraid it met an untimely death. Since then I have found two more on my deck both joined their brethren. I guess knowing their usefulness (hate
    junebugs) I will be careful not to harm anymore.

  4. Barry M says:

    I have seen around a dozen of these around the yard here in Gagetown New Brunswick … Never saw one before … Google sent me here too !
    Looks like a black scorpion tailed mini-dragonfly / wasp !

  5. Lisa says:

    I just saw one on the side of my garage, next to the door when I was bringing our puppy back inside. I freaked out and grabbed him because he loves to eat bugs ?. I have seen some pretty creepy bugs in our area lately, but this one definitely takes the cake. (Near Pittsburgh, PA.)
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Peggy Estabrooks says:

    Just found one in New.
    Brunswick Canada…are they invasive?

  7. Shirley Boberg says:

    I just saw one here in Penobscot County, Hampden, Maine in my yard.
    Are they dangerous?

  8. 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!!!!

  9. Sherry says:

    Have seen two (or maybe one twice) in Detroit Lakes, MN. Sure glad we don’t have to continue to be freaked out by them.

  10. ForestTechGuy says:

    This is my first ever sighting of this insect anywhere, which happened in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada today.
    From what I could gather, they are a parasitic wasp of June Beetle grubs, which are abundant here. Although, we’ve also had some a recent new pest in the last few years called the Japanese Emerald Beetle which are currently coming out to mate and feed on various vines and deciduous trees but only endemic.
    My question for the experts is if this Parasitic Wasp also able to go after the Japanese Beetle grubs?
    Thanks for any info.

    • Robert Mitchell says:

      I’d be interested to know too. I see these in both Nova Scotia, and in Hawaii. There are no June bugs here in Hawaii, so what are they preying on?

  11. Cathy says:

    We had never seen these before, but found 2 this week on our deck. Creeped me out, but I don’t automatically kill bugs, so looked it up and got to this site. Glad to find it’s not harmful to humans and that they are after June bug grubs! Thanks for the info!

  12. Shirley #6 says:

    Seen this morning in French Village N.S. Moving east! We should tell the UK to watch out!

  13. i just had one land on my arm and thought I was going to loose my mind as it was so wierd looking and brushed it off and it went away. Never have seen one of these before, yuk.

  14. Melissa Tremblay says:

    Saw one of these on my window yesterday morning!

  15. Andrea says:

    I’ve seen them a few times now the last few days. First time I ever seen these weird black bugs on L’Ile-du-Grand-calumet, Quebec, Canada. I’ GLAD I found this item.

  16. Dorothy Guay says:

    Found one on my screen today and it was frightening. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I started looking on the internet and was able to identify it from my photo. I’m glad I got a picture before it flew away.

  17. Sheena says:

    Saw one in Selkirk Manitoba, Canada August 25 2021

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