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

Subject:  Large bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Berks County Pennsylvania
Date: 05/20/2018
Time: 11:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman —
This bee was found in my garage. I’ve never seen one so big. Unfortunately it was killed before I could get to it. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s about the thickness of a pinky finger. The giant Asian hornet is the only thing I could find that looked similar. Should I be worried?
How you want your letter signed:  Oswald

European Hornet

Dear Oswald,
This is a European Hornet, a species introduced to North America toward the end of the Nineteenth Century.  It has naturalized.  Though European Hornets are not aggressive, they will sting to defend a nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bald faced hornet nest
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington D.C. Metro area, USA
Date: 05/19/2018
Time: 07:57 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  A couple weeks ago I was surprised when I noticed a “beehive” (I know they’re not bees) newly under construction right to the side of my garage. I was really surprised because it’s being built ON the siding! I was able to find out it’s a bald faced hornets nest. Now I need to figure out what to do about it. From what I’ve researched it should only be the Queen in there right now…which would explain why I’ve only ever seen one hornet on it. I don’t wanna kill her like everyone keeps telling me to but I do need to remove it. What is the best way to do so where I’m not gonna get killed by this thing or kill her?!
*I may have a slight irrational fear of all things “bee”.
The first pic I included is of the nest about three days ago. The second pic is just to show where on the house the nest is located.
How you want your letter signed:  Christine O.

Bald Faced Hornet Nest

Hi Christine,
We can see by the images you provided that this Bald Faced Hornet nest is positioned so it is near the entrance to your home.  Hornets are social wasps that will defend the nest.  While we acknowledge your quandary regarding this matter, alas we do not provide extermination advice.  We would advise you to act before the queen Bald Faced Hornet’s first brood become adults as the workers will help her to defend the nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Slovakia, central Europe, mixed oak-pine woods
Date: 05/19/2018
Time: 11:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this bee while hiking through the woods picking up mushrooms (I assume it’s a kind of a carpenter bee, something from Xylocopinae) but I can’t seem to find one that looks like it on the internet. It’s May currently, pretty warm outside already (20°C), but I’m not sure how long has the specimen been lying on the ground (I found it dead already). Also, I should mention, it has tentacles with orange endings wider than the rest of the tentacle.  There’s no section that would visibly divide between the abdomen and chest area. Also, the bee has really long hind legs with slight yellowish colouring at the end of them. It’s almost 3cm long. Has see-through wings about the same length as the bee itself. Has visible mandibulae and maxilae.
How you want your letter signed:  T.


Dear T,
This is not a Bee.  It is a Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of Bees and Wasps.  It might be a Birch Sawfly,
Cimbex femoratus, which is pictured on iNaturalist.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Hot wasp lovin’
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Grande Nature Center, Albuquerque NM
Date: 05/18/2018
Time: 04:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!  We were in the nature center and came upon dozens of these wasps.   The smaller ones, which we assumed are males, were flying maybe an inch or so above the ground and clearly searching for something.  The larger one, which we assumed was a female, suddenly emerged from underground and the smaller ones went crazy.
She kept trying to get away but couldn’t fly because her wings weren’t dry.  I believe I caught the actual act of mating in one of the photos.  Are these scarab hunters?   It’s the closest we could come in identifying them, but there wasn’t an exact match in the field guide.
How you want your letter signed:  Mike

A pair of Scarab Hunter Wasps

Dear Mike,
Your images are awesome, and your written commentary is a marvelous observation.  We agree that these are Scarab Hunter Wasps in the family Scoliidae, but we are not certain of the species.  Our best guess is perhaps
Crioscolia alcione (see female here on BugGuide and male here on BugGuide) or possibly Trielis octomaculata which is also pictured on BugGuide.  Members of this family exhibit sexual dimorphism, and males are smaller and often with markings different from those of the females.  Based on your observations, the males sensed the pheromones of the female that was about to emerge, and they waited for her to dig to the surface. 

Mating Activity among Scarab Hunter Wasps

Thank you!  That certainly looks like them.  There were dozens and dozens of the males searching everywhere.  They were quite friendly and just zipped around us with mild interest.

Male Wasps are physically incapable of stinging. 

Mating Scarab Hunter Wasps

Oh yeah, right?  The stinger is a modified ovipositor.
The sheer number of searching males was the most impressive thing.  There were easily 4-5 per square foot.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterflies or Moths
Geographic location of the bug:  Taiwan
Date: 05/11/2018
Time: 03:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I was wondering if you could help me identify this caterpillar.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks! Libbi

Ichneumon Pupa

Hi again Libby,
We are greatly troubled as we are nearly certain we have identified a very similarly looking suspended pupa in the past, possibly from Australia, but we cannot recall what it is.  We are posting this as unidentified and we hope our readership will assist in the identification.

Update:  Ichneumon Pupa
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, he directed us to this BugGuide posting of an Ichneumon pupa from the genus

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Iridescent wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Delmont, Pennsylvania
Date: 05/12/2018
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This spectacular wasp was found dead on my car seat.
It is just about a half inch long, living, I estimate.
How you want your letter signed:  Albert in Western PA

Cuckoo Wasp

Dear Albert,
This little beauty is a Cuckoo Wasp in the family Chrysididae.  According to BugGuide:  “Parasitoids feed on the larva of the host and cleptoparasites ‘steal’ the host’s food. The food-stealing behavior of cleptoparasite species resembles that of the cuckoo bird and gave rise to the cuckoo wasp’s name. Hosts of parasitoid species include bees, sphecid wasps, potter wasps, sawflies, silk moths, and the eggs of stick insects. Cleptoparasitic species feed on provisions of sphecid wasp nests, which may include dead spiders, true bugs, aphids, or thrips.”  They are harmless and cannot sting.

Cuckoo Wasp

Thank you very much!
It’s really stunning. It must have overheated inside the car.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination