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

Subject:  Tarantula hawk?
Geographic location of the bug:  Highlands of Chiriqui, Rep of Panamá
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 04:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this approx 2 inch wasp? scuttling across a spare lot on our community today. We do see tarantulas reasonably often and wondered if it was a female hunting for a host. Is there any way to differentiate between a male or female? Never seen another one in our 8 years in Panamá, the colours looked beautiful in the sunshine. Thanks, Carol
How you want your letter signed:  Carol

Spider Wasp

Hi Carol,
We are very confident this is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, but we cannot state for certain that it is a Tarantula Hawk.  Your individual resembles this image posted to FlickR.  The hunting behavior you witnessed indicates this is likely a female.  Males do not hunt for spiders, and they can generally be found nectaring.

Spider Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Stumpstabber – Megarhyssa sp.
Geographic location of the bug:  Sierra Nevada range route 88
Date: 06/23/2020
Time: 01:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My friend took this pic and because she knows my love of all things “bug” asked if I could find out anything about it.  Been doing some poking around and the  closest I could find was family Ichneunonidae Megarhyssa nortoni.  It’s quite striking in coloration.  Just wanted to share because I haven’t found a photo anywhere that matches
How you want your letter signed:  Terriann

Parasitic Wasp

Dear Terriann,
This is definitely a member of the superfamily Ichneumonoidea that includes the family Braconidae as well as the Ichneumon, and we believe this might be a Braconid, possibly in the genus
Atanycolus that is represented on BugGuide.  A definitive identification might not be possible as this is a huge superfamily with many unidentified members.  According to BugGuide:  “Next to impossible to identify this genus from images alone, however it is one of the more common genera in the subfamily. Identification of images on this guide page are NOT absolute! “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Strange caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Virginia
Date: 06/14/2020
Time: 07:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I spotted a strange caterpillar at Weyanoke Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk,and pointed it out to my father. I got my phone out and snapped a few pictures of it. I guess my phone hit one of the branches and about 3 of them put their head back and exposed their chest that I saw was covered in spikes (They may have been sharp legs, but I couldn’t tell). They stayed like that for a bit until I backed away. I tried to find them on google, and I looked on a few bug Identification websites, but I saw none that looked like it. I was wondering if you knew what it was!
How you want your letter signed:  Lydia Simon,age 13

Red Headed Pine Sawfly Larva

Dear Lydia,
Though they look very much like caterpillars, these are actually Red-Headed Pine Sawfly larvae,
Neodiprion lecontei.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Sawflies are non-stinging relatives of bees and wasps.  When larvae are numerous, they may defoliate trees.  According to Featured Creatures:  “After mating, female sawflies lay eggs in slits sawed in pine needles. Small larvae feed on outer needle tissues; larger larvae consume entire needles. Most species prefer older foliage, but all foliage is susceptible at end of growing season. Larval colonies may migrate from one tree to another, especially upon complete defoliation of the host tree or high feeding competition.”

Red Headed Pine Sawfly Larvae

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