Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"

Subject:  Which wasp is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  SW Missouri
Date: 09/23/2021
Time: 07:18 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I noticed this wasp in some goldenrod this past afternoon.  I did not recognize it.
Can you help identify it, please?
How you want your letter signed:  Dave

Sand Wasp: Stizus brevipennis

Dear Dave,
At first we mistook this for an Eastern Cicada Killer, but the white markings on the abdomen did not seem right.  Upon researching the Eastern Cicada Killer on the Missouri Department of Conservation site, we realized this was a similar looking Sand Wasp,
Stizus brevipennis.  According to BugGuide which has a visual comparison between the two species:  “This species looks superficially quite like Sphecius speciosus (the eastern cicada-killer wasp), but the abdominal banding is much less ‘ornate’. These markings lack a hooked structure and are overall broader and smoother. The scutellum and postscutellum are also marked in yellow, unlike in S. speciosus.”  This is a new species for our humble website and for that we are grateful to you, however, considering how similar these two species look and considering the large number of Eastern Cicada Killer postings on our site, we suspect that one or more might actually be misidentified Stizus brevipennis.  Also, your individual is nectaring on goldenrod, a very important plant to many species of insects, and we are tagging it as Goldenrod Meadow as well.

Subject:  Insect That has Taken South Central Alaska by Storm
Geographic location of the bug:  Anchorage Alaska
Date: 09/19/2021
Time: 12:20 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I am looking to ID this insect. They seem to be appearing everywhere over the last two weeks in Anchorage AK. This particular specimen may have a missing leg, but most do not. It seems similar to wood wasps I have seen before, but is smaller at ~1” long. Thanks for the help!
How you want your letter signed:  Scott P

Ichneumon we believe

Dear Scott,
We believe this is an Ichneumon, a parasitoid wasp, or possibly a Braconid, also a parasitoid wasp, and both are in the superfamily Ichneumonoidea, which is according to BugGuide:  “A very biodiverse and important group. Many are valuable biocontrol agents that control populations of agricultural and forest pest insects. Wasplike in appearance, but (with rare exceptions) do not sting. “

Subject:  Paper Wasps
Geographic location of the bug:  Chesapeake, VA
Date: 09/08/2021
Time: 10:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman!
Some resourceful paper wasps have taken advantage of the gap in the screen of our daughter’s bedroom window.  She was initially afraid of them but we are using the nest as a teaching tool since they’ll likely be gone once winter hits.  The nest has really grown since they moved in, and it’s so interesting to watch.  She is four and loves the “bugs that make the paper”.
It’s interesting to see their antennas reach toward the window when we open the blinds, but beyond that, they don’t seem to be phased by our presence.
How you want your letter signed:  S Reyman

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear S Reyman,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Paper Wasp nest and your plan for using its development as a teaching tool. We believe these are introduced European Paper Wasps which are pictured on BugGuide.

Paper Wasps

Subject:  What’s this bee, hornet, wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwestern pa. South of Pittsburgh
Date: 09/06/2021
Time: 10:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  At a local playground South of Pittsburgh pa. This thing was on the sign. The larger bug was between 1 and 1.25 inches long not including legs. It appeared to be eating/mating with a “normal” sized bee/wasp. Is this one of those “murder hornets”? I haven’t heard of them in this area yet… Or is this just some large wasp… Thanks for any info.
How you want your letter signed:  The Robe

Red Footed Cannibalfly Eats Wasp

Dear The Robe,
This is neither a Bee, nor a hornet nor a wasp.  It is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, a predatory Robber Fly that feeds on large flying insects, including bee, hornets and wasps.

Subject:  Large Insect Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Indiana
Date: 09/02/2021
Time: 10:19 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This insect was trying to get into my ear. I swatted it away and it came back. I killed it on my shirt. I have also seen a dead one in my garage and one buzzing me outside. It is 1 1/2 inches long. I have not notice them before. Looks like a bee to me.
How you want your letter signed:  G Riley

Pigeon Horntail

Dear G Riley,
This is a Pigeon Horntail, a type of Wood Wasp that lays eggs in diseased and dying hardwood.  We can’t imagine why it was interested in your ear.

Subject:  2 wasps nesting on motorbike fork
Geographic location of the bug:  Taipei City, Taiwan
Date: 08/29/2021
Time: 12:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This afternoon I found these 2 guys nesting off the lower end of the fork of my motorbike that I had had covered and not ridden for a couple of months. Over the past 3 days I rode the bike several times, including once after I had discovered them. They seemed unfazed by the 50 kmph speeds, winds, vibration, etc., never letting go of the nest or taking flight, although they moved about on the nest.
My questions:
1. What type of wasp/hornet is it?
2. Can I just cut the rope-like thing that it hangs off and then run? Would they attack me/give chase? How long would they stay around the nest, and irritated?
I wouldn’t like to endanger their lives nor my own.
How you want your letter signed:  Tauno

Paper Wasps nesting on motorbike

Dear Tauno,
We love, love, love your letter and we are making your nesting Paper Wasps the Bug of the Month for September 2021. We have even posted a submission in 2014 of Paper Wasps in Taiwan.  Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes are found in many parts of the world.  They are social wasps and according to the North American site BugGuide:  “Mature colonies have up to 30 adults.”  If you cut the nest, with only two Paper Wasps, one the queen, protecting the next, we doubt you will be stung, but we can assure you the Paper Wasps will abandon the nest.  The queen may attempt to build a new nest.  We can’t believe you rode the motorbike at 50kmph and they stayed with you and the nest.

Paper Wasps nesting on Motorbike

UPDATE:  September 2, 2021
Dear Bugman,
I am deeply grateful for your answer and, on behalf of the biker wasps, overwhelmed by the honor of being featured on your website.
An update:Your prediction was absolutely correct: the wasps abandoned the nest. I parked my bike, this time in a more open area and without covering it; on the first night at least one of these guys was still there, dozing off, but by the evening of the next day they were nowhere to be seen. For all the lack of privacy, I’d probably have moved, too.
I waited until the next afternoon and then mustered up the courage to pluck off the (really a beginning of a) nest with bare fingers, kind of expecting to see an empty shell (wouldn’t you finish building your home first and only then move your family in?), but to my surprise a little beady face was staring at me from almost each of the compartments (see the pic), some apparently trying to wiggle me to bring them high tea. Thinking the actual family might come back for them I took the whole bundle to the park across the alley and left it under a bush.
From your email it seems that this will probably not happen- so that was a bittersweet goodbye- but I can now say I’ve met a real queen.
Hope they’ll find a place for a more peaceful home soon.
Thank you!

Paper Wasp Nest

Thank you for the wonderful update Tauno.  Regarding moving the family in before the home is finished:  The queen constructed the beginning of the nest and she produced her first generation of workers, and by your account, there were only a few.  For that first generation, the queen also had to do all the hunting.  Once she had several workers, she began producing her second generation of workers and there were more helpers so it can be a bigger brood.