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

Subject:  bee or wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Baltimore Ontario
Date: 09/18/2017
Time: 10:11 PM EDT
I found this little guy walking back and forth on a milkweed plant. I did not realize (until I reviewed my photos) that one of his wings is damaged. I feel sorry for the little guy. I don’t know if this is a bee or wasp. I am leaning towards a bee. Hope you can tell me would be great to know. Thanks
p.s. may have sent this twice computer issues.
How you want your letter signed —
terri martin

Square-Headed Wasp

Dear Terri,
The head-on view you provided made it easy for us to identify your Square-Headed Wasp in the subfamily Crabroninae, and though it is not the same species, it looks very similar to this BugGuide image.  Because of the striping pattern on the abdomen, and the yellow legs and antennae, we suspect your individual is in the genus
Crabro like this BugGuide image.

Square-Headed Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Huge wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Connecticut
Date: 09/01/2017
Time: 01:59 PM EDT
Hey there – We have some ginormous wasps from time to time in our yard. Almost hummingbird-like. I just found a dead one on our front walk (which is also a little strange, but that’s another story). No nests in sight. Any ideas what kind it is and how to take care of them?
How you want your letter signed:  Stinger

Cicada Killer

Dear Stinger,
This is a Cicada Killer, and there should be no need to “take care of them” because in all the years we have been writing What’s That Bug?, we do not have a single verified account of a person being stung.  Female Cicada Killers prey on Cicadas to feed the developing brood.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant bee?
Location: East coast Virginia, USA
August 15, 2017 7:10 pm
This monster was waiting for me as I went out to clean my pool one morning, luckily I caught it by surprise and was able to capture it under the filter basket before it had a chance to attack me. After a few shots of hornet spray, I changed my underwear and took a few pictures. Is this a spawn from hell, a just a really big bee? (Pictured next to a quarter for scale)
Signature: Nokturno

Cicada Killer Carnage

Dear Nokturno,
This is not “spawn from hell” nor is it a “Giant bee”.  This is a wasp known as a Cicada Killer.  Because they are big and scary, Cicada Killers frequently wind up dead when they encounter humans.  They are not aggressive and though female Cicada Killers are capable of stinging, they do not attack humans, so there was no need to spray it to death.  We hope your next encounter does not end in Unnecessary Carnage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unusual bee
Location: Suburbs of Chicago, IL
August 9, 2017 7:37 am
This was on our screen, and we have never seen a bee like this one. It was about 1 1/2 inches lond and its stinger was pulsing. Very scary! If possible, please let us know what it is and if it’s dangerous. Thank you!
Signature: Linda & Justin Meyer

Cicada Killer

Dear Linda and Justin,
This large wasp is a Cicada Killer.  Males defend territory and may buzz at humans, but they are perfectly harmless as they do not have stingers.  Female Cicada Killers are not aggressive.  They use their stinger to sting and paralyze Cicadas to feed to their brood which is housed in an underground burrow.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Predation
Location: Sussex County, NJ
July 31, 2017 8:44 am
I witnessed a square-headed wasp (Family Cabronidae, I believe) take down a large syrphid fly this morning and thought I’d share the photos. Also, wondering if you might be able to narrow down my ID on the wasp for me?
The attack was remarkably fast with the wasp landing on the fly and quickly subduing it. Eventually the wasp dropped the fly as it seemed that it was too large for the wasp to carry more than a very short distance. Interestingly, an hour later, the body of the syrphidae was gone – so did it recover or did something else come along and dispose of it? Fascinating.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Dear Deborah,
Thanks for sending in your amazing images that are greatly enhanced by your written observations.  Speculate is the best we can do for the subsequent exploits of the Drone Fly, but we can be certain that it was alive after the encounter.  We would like to speculate that after that spectacular attack, the Square-Headed Wasp partially glided, and partially dragged her prey to her nest to serve as fresh meat for her developing brood.  Of the Square Headed Wasps in the subfamily Crabroninae, BugGuide states:  “Some nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. Prey is mostly flies, but some utilize other insects.”  Exactly a year and two days ago, you submitted a very similar Food Chain image. that appears to be of the same species, both predator and prey, and at that time, we identified the genus as possibly
Ectemnius.  We will look into this more thoroughly.

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your very informative response!  And forgive my senior moment in forgetting the photo I sent to you last year.
I actually wondered if the wasp had just paralyzed the Drone Fly, or if it was dead.  But it certainly makes sense that it would be alive, especially as it would be a food source for the wasp-kids.  I have a small colony of Great Golden Diggers and frequently see them carrying very large katydids into their nests.
I have found with insects that the more I learn, the more I want to know.  J
Best,
Deborah

You are most welcome Deborah.  We can always depend upon you to send in great images.

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange Flying Insect, Dangerous?
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
July 29, 2017 8:21 pm
I was visiting Culver’s with my family and my son, we we’re having a nice time dining indoors. I’d gone outside for a smoke break with my mum, when we noticed these large, frightening looking insects flying about. Due to the fact that my father is allergic and there is the possibility that i may be myself (i’ve never been stung), it caused me a significant amount of concern. Though my curiousity seemed to override that as i Had to snap a picture of one. I’ve never seen it before.
Signature: With Great Interest, Kara

Cicada Killer

Dear Kara,
This is one of our favorite summer identification requests, the impressive Cicada Killer.  Male Cicada Killers act defensive and they are territorial, guarding good nesting areas in the hopes a female will arrive.  Male Cicada Killers are perfectly harmless as they do not have stingers.  Female Cicada Killers are not aggressive, and though they have the ability to sting, we cannot confirm anyone actually being stung.  Female Cicada Killers use the stinger to paralyze Cicadas that are dragged back to the burrow to serve as a live food for the developing brood.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. We had not expected it to be harmless what-so-ever, it’s such a large bug (though i suppose it would only make sense as cicadas are larger bug themselves). Thank you again.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination