Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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

Subject:  Winged insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Nepal (Annapurna region)
Date: 11/05/2019
Time: 08:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
I was on a trek recently (Oct 2019)in the Annapurna region of Nepal. U cane across this winged insect. Would love to know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Andy

Mammoth Wasp

Dear Andy,
Your image of this amazing insect is awesome.  This is a Mammoth Wasp in the family Scoliidae.  We located this FlickR posting that identifies it as a female
Megascolia azurea and the posting indicates:  “another rare record.”  It is also pictured on ResearchGate and iNaturalist.  Mammoth Wasps prey on the larvae of Scarab Beetles, not to eat, but to provide food for the young.  Ray Cannon’s Nature Notes has a nice posting of an encounter in Thailand.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for your quick response.  Thats amazing. Im so please to have have found out what this insect is. Ive posted it on Instagram, I’ll mention that you helped me i-d it.

Hi again Andy,
You got lucky with the “quick response” because Daniel was traveling to Washington DC with a group of award winning Journalism students for five days during which time he didn’t respond to any identification requests.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Digging in the dirt!
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Nevada
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 03:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  While out to lay pavers in our yard we got to watch a fascinating insect we’d never seen before. We watched for some time as it dug in our soft dirt, buzzing in the hole, moving rocks (sometimes as large as it was!) and at one point it unearthed a grub of sorts! Biting it behind the head it held in… it didn’t appear to sting it, and eventually the grub ceased to move. For an hour we watched as our friend dig holes, and then moved on to another spot. On one hole we watched her start to fill it back in, going in to buzz excitedly, then back to digging. I have a couple of videos too, if you’re interested.
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Kristi Shaffer

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Dear Kristi,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the family Specidae, and the prey is a Cutworm.  The Wasp will not eat the Caterpillar.  Rather, the female Wasp has paralyzed the Caterpillar which it will bury and the paralyzed Caterpillar will provide food for the developing Wasp larva which will feed on the helpless, but living Caterpillar.  We believe we have correctly identified your Wasp as
Podalonia argentifrons thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are provisioned with caterpillars exclusively from the family Noctuidae.” 

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Thread-Waisted Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination