Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"

Subject:  Wasp/hornet identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Tacoma, Washington
Date: 07/31/2021
Time: 03:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This little guy had been flying around my yard, he’s about an inch long, at least twice the length of the honey bees, he’s pictured on oregano flowers that may help with size. He is long and thin, he seems to be alone.
How you want your letter signed:  Christine Payne

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Christine,
This is a Great Golden Digger Wasp, a solitary wasp that preys upon Katydids to feed its brood.  Great Golden Digger Wasps are found throughout the continental United States and they are not aggressive.

Subject:  bee type  bug
Geographic location of the bug: Halifax, MA
Date: 07/29/2021
Time: 12:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  makes in ground nest every year like an ant hole about a 1/2 inch.
Sandy soil, most nest are by driveway edge a patio edge
How you want your letter signed:  Tony

Sand Wasp

Dear Tony,
This looks like a Sand Wasp in the Tribe Bembicini, and the activity you describe is consistent with Sand Wasps.  Alas, we cannot provide a species identification.  According to BugGuide:  “About three quarters of the species prey on Diptera (Flies including disease carrying House Flies found around garbage), and it is believed that fly predation is ancestral in the group” which makes them beneficial.  Sand Wasps are not aggressive and the chances of getting stung are very unlikely.

Subject:  Flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Coquitlam, BC
Date: 07/27/2021
Time: 06:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this creepy flying insect while landscaping, never seen anything like it before curious what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Zach Rayner


Dear Zach,
This is a Horntail in the genus Uroceros, a type of Wood Wasp whose larvae bore in wood.  There are three similar looking species in the genus found in British Columbia.  It appears your image was shot in late afternoon sunlight, and when we corrected for the warm golden color that lighting at that time of day imparts to the subject it falls upon, we believe this is the White Horned Horntail Wasp,
Urocerus albicornis, which is pictured on BugGuide.   According to BugGuide:  “hosts include fir, larch, spruce, pine, Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western red cedar.”

Thank you very much for your quick response to my question it is highly appreciated
For a second I thought I had discovered a new species of insect because I had never seen anything like it before in my life
Thanks again!

Subject:  Unidentified bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Bryn Mawr, PA
Date: 07/21/2021
Time: 11:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We couldn’t figure out what this is? It is always coming to the same spot and stay on the same leaf of our pepper plant almost all day long.
Thank you:  How you want your letter signed:  Gozde Ayaz

Cicada Killer

Dear Gozde,
This magnificent solitary Wasp is a Cicada Killer.  Because of their large size, Cicada Killers often fall victim to Unnecessary Carnage at the hands of folks that kill things that they fear.

Subject:  Black Flying Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Upstate New York
Date: 07/20/2021
Time: 06:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Helli, We have these insects around our deck for the first time this year. We have lived here for 30+ years. Are they wasps, hornets or something else? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Susan

Common Blue Mud-Dauber Wasps

Dear Susan,
We believe these are Common Blue Mud-Dauber Wasps,
Chalybion californicum, which are pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “A large, active, blue-black wasp with irridescent blue wings. Frequents flowers for nectar and buildings for nest sites.” and “Females construct mud nests in sheltered areas, often under the eaves of buildings, and provision them with spiders.”  We suspect they are searching for mud near your deck for nest building.

Subject:  iD this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  South Carolina
Date: 07/20/2021
Time: 05:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This flying insect along with many more of the same were swarming low to the ground around some blooming flowers. However they seemed more interested in the pine straw than the nectar. Will he sting? Children pass through here often.
How you want your letter signed:  Kim

Male Velvet Ant

Dear Kim,
There is a group of flightless female Wasps in the family Mutillidae that are commonly called Velvet Ants because they resemble Ants, and they are known to deliver a very painful sting.  Only the females are flightless and though the family is referred to as Velvet Ants, it is only the females that truly deserve that name, but for the sake of convenience, we will call this a male Velvet Ant.  We believe based on this BugGuide image that the species is
Dasymutilla occidentalis.  The stinger of a Bee or Wasp is a modified ovipositor, an organ used in the laying of eggs.  Male wasps do not lay eggs, do not need an ovipositor, and consequently, they cannot sting.  Watch for the flightless female Velvet Ants called Cowkillers.  They do sting and the sting is reported to be quite painful.