Currently viewing the category: "Horntails, Wood Wasps and Sawflies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bright Orange Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Goshen, New Hampshire
Date: 08/23/2019
Time: 09:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I’ve been trying to figure out what this little guy might be, but I haven’t found anything. It’s bright orange with a single black stripe down the back. The head is white and has many small white dots down the body. I know you don’t respond to all submissions, so thank you if you read mine.
How you want your letter signed:  Haley

Elm Sawfly Larva

Hi Haley,
While this might look like a Caterpillar, it is actually an Elm Sawfly larva. According to the University of Wisconsin Madison Master Gardener Program site, the “Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, is a native species which feeds preferentially on elm and willow, but sometimes attacks maple, cottonwood, poplar, birch and other trees. This is one of the largest species of sawfly in North America with full-grown larvae ranging from 1½-2 inches long. The white, light gray, yellow or light green (and occasionally pink) larvae with a rough, pebbly texture have a black stripe running down the top of the body with a row of black dots (spiracles) on each side. They often curl up into a circle when not feeding on the leaves.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this some type of very large wasp or hornet? Please help!
Geographic location of the bug:  St. Paul, Minnesota
Date: 08/13/2019
Time: 03:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!
This very large wasp/hornet-looking insect was on a tree in my front yard. It was at least 2 inches long, with a very thick/large stinger. The striping was almost an orange on it’s abdomen. Very curious what this is!
Thank you in advance
How you want your letter signed:  Sure

Pigeon Horntail

I think I just figured out what it is!
I believe it’s a Pigeon Horntail female. Apparently they lay eggs to feed on dying trees (which the tree it was on has died…).

Hi Matt,
You are correct.  This is an ovipositing Pigeon Horntail.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  North Central Pennsylvani
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 05:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just want identification of these caterpillars.
How you want your letter signed:  Angelo V

Dogwood Sawfly Larvae

Dear Angelo,
This was a quick identification for us because we encountered an image of Dogwood Sawfly larvae while trying to identify this Introduced Pine Sawfly larva, an identification that took us considerable time. Sawflies are non-stinging relatives of Wasps and Bees that have larvae that are frequently mistaken for caterpillars.  According to BugGuide:  “Young larvae are covered with a powdery white waxy coating. Mature larvae are yellow beneath with black spots or cross-stripes above.”  It is great that your image depicts both waxy coated individuals and those without the coating.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  NW corner Connecticut
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 07:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Looking for an ID. Consulted the Exec Director of Audubon here in CT and he did not know.
How you want your letter signed:  Lori Welles

Introduced Pine Sawfly Larva

Dear Lori,
We thought this was going to be an easy identification, but more than an hour later, we can state unequivocally that we were way wrong.  Our mistake began by not looking at your image that closely, and thinking we were trying to identify one of the Hooded Owlet Caterpillars in the genus
Cuculia, but after ponderously searching BugGuide, we realized we were wrong.  Our search next took us to The Moth Photographers Group where the Zebra Caterpillar looks similar, but not the same, and the Scribbled Sallow Moth Caterpillar pictured on The Moth Photographers Group and the Toadflax Brocade Moth Caterpillar, also pictured on The Moth Photographers Group also looked similar but not the same.  The solid black head on your individual and the round yellow lateral spots were quite distinctive and not found on any caterpillars we could locate.  Something about the head did not seem right, so we decided to count prolegs, and there appear to be seven pairs, which caused us to think this must be a Sawfly larva.  According to ThoughtCo: “Caterpillars may have up to five pairs of abdominal prolegs (tiny limbs) but never have more than five pairs. Sawfly larvae will have six or more pairs of abdominal prolegs.”   Once we searched for Sawfly larvae, we came to Wildlife Insight where we found images that match your individual that are identified as Diprion similis.  Armed with that information, we returned to BugGuide and located matching images of the Introduced Pine Sawfly larva, but the individual in your image does not appear to be eating pine.  Upon what plant did you find it?  According to BugGuide:  “hosts: pines (Pinus); 5-needled pines (Subg. Strobus) are preferred, but others may be infested as well.”  This BugGuide image contains the information:  “This one was on a poplar plant, and the other was eating oak leaves.”  Thank you for submitting this challenging identification request.

This was feeding on Cosmos. Glad it was a challenge as many friends including the Exec director of Audubon here in CT. could not ID.
LBW
Welles, The Ballyhack

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Unknown Pinkish Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Motley, MN on a 22acre island on Lake Shamineau
Date: 08/17/2019
Time: 11:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
My sons and I were on a Father/Son retreat and we discovered this pinkish caterpillar w/ one long black strip down its back from its head to its rear-end.  It also had several black stripes that ran perpendicular to its one long black stripe.  The total caterpillar length was roughly 1 and 3/4 inch in length.  We know that their are likely many undiscovered insects and maybe caterpillars.  We’re wondering if the caterpillar we discovered on a small tree branch is already identified as we could not find it when searching for caterpillars in MN.  The photo attached is in my Sons terrarium and the red mushroom looking thing next to it is only a decoration.  We didn’t want to touch the caterpillar for a better picture for fear of a sting, or rash.
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Richard Parkos and Sons

Elm Sawfly Larva

Dear Richard,
Thanks for clarifying the identity of that red decoration with the spots.  As we were formatting the image and color correcting it for posting, we obsessed on its identity.  This is not a caterpillar.  We suspected it to be a Sawfly Larva, but the markings are unusual, but our internet search produced several images that confirm our suspicions that this is the larva of an Elm Sawfly.  We have received images in the past of Elm Sawfly larvae that are yellow, green or pink, and they have a black stripe running the length of the body on the dorsal surface, but those traverse stripes are unusual.  There is a small image on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website with a caption that indicates “Elm sawfly larvae are typically yellow; it is uncommon to find the pink form” but it does not mention the traverse stripes.  Additional images on Insects Galore and Forestry Images also document these unusual markings.  The adult Elm Sawfly is a non-stinging relative of wasps and bees.  Elm Sawfly larvae will not sting and they will not produce a rash.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Worm found on oak tree
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia beach, VA
Date: 08/16/2019
Time: 05:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found these on my oak tree this morning. 8/16/2019
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, Duane Heidler

Sawfly Larvae

Dear Duane,
These are Sawfly larvae.  Sawflies are non-stinging relatives of wasps and bees with larvae that are frequently mistaken for caterpillars.  Based on the appearance of the individuals in this BugGuide image, and that the host plant is oak, we suspect your individuals are in the genus
Arge.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination