Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is it
Geographic location of the bug:  Yarra glen 3775
Date: 03/24/2020
Time: 12:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Whats this bug please
How you want your letter signed:  Jen

Hairy Flower Wasp

Dear Jen,
This is a Flower Wasp or Scarab Hunter in the family Scoliidae, and based on the image posted to Museum Victoria Collections, we are relatively confident it is the Hairy Flower Wasp,
Austroscolia soror.  The site states:  “Austroscolia soror (previously in the genus Scolia is the most frequently seen species of Flower Wasp found in Victoria back yards. During the summer months Museums Victoria’s Discovery Centre receives many enquiries from people who are curious about a largish blue wasp. These wasps are usually identified as this species. These wasps will most likely be seen flying just above ground level and in particular flying near or around compost heaps, wood heaps or dead stumps of trees where the female wasps are looking for beetle larvae, (usually scarab beetles but sometimes weevils). Unlike the European Honeybee, European Wasp, and some native species, the Hairy Flower Wasps do not make a nest or form colonies. If several are seen flying around a compost heap or tree stump it simply means that several wasps are investigating for beetle larvae at the same time. The wasps are strong burrowers and when they find a beetle larva they sting and paralyse it and lay an egg on it. On hatching the young wasp has a live, paralysed food source waiting for it. Adult Hairy Flower Wasps drink nectar and so are frequent visitors to flowers where their size and colour make them easy to see when sitting on a flower. Nectar provides them with food energy in the form of sugars that they use to power their wing muscles. Hairy Flower Wasps do possess a sting, but they do not have a communal hive to defend and so tend not to be aggressive.”  Here is an image from our archive with a female Hairy Flower Wasp and her Scarab grub prey.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Lots of these hovering in yard with sandy soil about 20 feet from our pond
Geographic location of the bug:  Chesapeake, VA
Date: 03/26/2020
Time: 03:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These act like Scoliid wasps, but don’t look like them.  What are they?
How you want your letter signed:  Ruth

Digger Wasp

Dear Ruth,
The family Scoliidae contains several species of Flower Wasps or Scarab Hunters that resemble your individual.  The long antennae leads us to believe this individual is a male, and it looks like it might be
Dielis plumipes which is pictured on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Spider wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Wilderness, South Africa
Date: 03/08/2020
Time: 02:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thank you for posts that helped us to identify this wasp in our garden today. It was carrying a spider and defended its catch aggressively
How you want your letter signed:  Debbie

Spider Wasp

Dear Debbie,
This is indeed a beautiful Spider Wasp, but alas, we don’t see the Spider.  It looks very similar to this beauty in our archives.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Not sure if it’s a wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Mombasa, Kenya
Date: 12/30/2019
Time: 10:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve been wanting to post here for a while. I’m Kenyan and our bugs are not available on the internet as much as in Western or Asian countries. Since I live in a coastal area, I see so many insects that I would love to have identified. My home area has a lot pf insects that usually find their way into the house. I found my sister, Sian, had killed this one and upon closer inspection wanted to know if it’s a spider wasp, a great black wasp or even a wasp at all (though it has the tell tale slim “waist”). The species I found online of the spider wasp all have antennae that are brightly colored but this one only had orange tips. I thought it was a great black wasp, because of the sudden increase in grasshopper populations, but most sites say they are large and have no colored antennae. The body is hairy (including the abdomen) and shiny and it has “gradient” wings which change between a dark blue to black depending on the angle. Hoping to post more bugs in future…
How you want your letter signed:  Danson, future regular poster…

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Danson,
This is definitely a wasp, but it is not a Spider Wasp.  In our opinion, it is a Flower Wasp or Scarab Hunter in the family Scoliidae, a group that preys upon the underground grubs of large Scarab Beetles, and Africa has numerous species of large Scarab Beetles, so there is a food supply for the Scarab Hunter Wasps.  We have not had any luck providing you with a species match.  According to BugGuide, a North American site, Scarab Hunter Wasps are “Robust, hairy, medium-sized to large.”  We look forward to your future submissions.

Thank you very much for the fast response… I’ll definitely post more…and you’re right, I think it’s a species of flower wasp…

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Emperor moth caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Plettenberg Bay. South Africa
Date: 01/02/2020
Time: 03:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugma:  We have noticed these beautiful caterpillars at the same time each year. This year quite a few of them have “eggs” attached to them. It looks like these caterpillars die. Could this be a parasite wasp?
How you want your letter signed:  Jenny

Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillars with parasitoid Wasp Pupae

Dear Jenny,
We believe we already responded to a comment you posted to another posting on our site.  Alas, these Cabbage Emperor Moth Caterpillars,
Bunaea alcinoe, appear to have fallen victim to a parasitoid Wasp, probably a Braconid or Chalcid Wasp.  According to Siyabona Africa:  “The Bunaea alcinoe (common emperor) caterpillars mentioned above, had been discovered by a tiny specie of the large family of parasitoid Braconid wasps (Braconidae). The adult wasp had penetrated the live caterpillar(s) with her ovipositor and laid eggs inside the caterpillar. The eggs had hatched into larvae which fed within the caterpillar.  The larvae, on reaching full size, cut their way out of the caterpillar and formed tiny, white cocoons, within which they pupated, on the outside of the caterpillar. Within a few days the mature wasps cut their way out of the cocoons to repeat the cycle. The caterpillars, denuded of their nutrients and depending on their rate of leaf consumption, slowly shrivel and die.”

Many thanks for this detailed and interesting reply. Much appreciated.
Kind regards

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this yellow wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsuala
Date: 12/09/2019
Time: 05:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there! I’m living in Costa Rica and accustomed to all manner of crazy bugs, including having many, many paper wasps making my home their home. I’ve come across a very pretty wasp today, however, which I’ve never seen before. Any time there’s only one of something and it’s abnormally pretty, I start to wonder. I was hoping you could help me identify my new kitchen guest and let me know if I should be nervous about the surprisingly long stinger or not.
(sorry about the dust…it’s a daily accumulation, it’s crazy down here!)
Thanks in advance!
How you want your letter signed:  Monique

Unknown Ichneumon

Dear Monique,
We believe this is a parasitoid Ichneumon, a harmless solitary Wasp, but we have not had any luck finding any similar looking individuals online.  According to BugGuide:  “arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates”  and “Ichneumonids are notoriously hard to identify: aside from the sheer number of species, there are numerous cases of distant relatives that appear almost identical. Any identification based solely on comparing images should be treated as suspect unless an expert has said there are no lookalikes for the species or group in question.”  Ichneumons are important biological control agents and many species prey on caterpillars.  The female uses her long ovipositor (not a real stinger) to lay eggs inside the body of the living host and the larva that hatches will feed on the internal organs of the host, eventually killing it.

Thank you Daniel!
I used your identification in Google Images and, instead of getting moths like searching my image did, I found many similar images, so I completely trust your ID. She really was pretty and I hope that she finds a nice caterpillar nearby to help her hatch a lovely family.
Thanks for such a quick reply!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination