Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"

found this in our garden.
Location:  allostock,knutsford,cheshire
August 15, 2010 12:25 pm
could you tell me what this is? i think its a horn tail wasp/wood wasp.
i live in cheshire in the uk.
kerry brown

Wood Wasp

Dear Kerry,
You are correct.  This is a Wood Wasp or Horntail,
Urocerus gigas.  The UK Safari website has a nice page on it.

Should I be concerned?
Location:  Michigan United States
August 13, 2010 4:44 pm
We found this giant in our yard (two so far)and they look very intimidating. Should we call in some experts?
Matt Cristoforo

Pigeon Horntail

Hi Matt,
Before we can accurately respond to your question, we need to have concern defined.  Are you concerned you may be stung?  That is not a concern with this Pigeon Horntail,
Tremex columba (see BugGuide), a type of wood wasp.  This is a female, and what appears to be a stinger is really an ovipositor.  The female oviposits her eggs in dead or dying wood, so you may have a dead or dying tree on your property.  You may need to be concerned if there is a wind storm and you have a family reunion under the dying tree and a branch breaks off striking several friends or relatives on the head.  That could lead to a concussion or even worse.  Do you need an expert?  We don’t know.  Are you capable of cutting down a dead or dying tree yourself?  If not, we suggest calling in professionals.

Very Nice!!  Thank you for your witty response.  You have indeed identified the pest….my relatives.  And your extermination suggestion is definitely worth looking into.  Looks like I’ll have to move that table a little closer to the tree.  Thanks again
Matthew T. Cristoforo

Are these bugs wasps?
Location:  Eastern Pennsylvania
August 14, 2010 10:30 am
I’ve noticed a large number of bugs today flying close to the ground in our backyard. They look to be Black bodied,with 4 dark colored wings that fold into one. The rear part of their body, however, is brown and has 2 distinct yellow spots. I’m trying to figure out if they are wasps. Sorry my pictures aren’t too good, I caught one in a Tupperware container.
Benjamin Williams

Digger Wasp

Hi Benjamin,
This is a Digger Wasp,
Scolia dubia, and BugGuide has some interesting information about it, including:  “Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis, and the Japanese Beetle. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.

Food Chain
Location:  North Middle Tennessee
August 14, 2010 1:35 pm
Hi Daniel,
I thought this was a potter wasp a few weeks ago, but now I don’t know what it is. I noticed a hole bored in the bottom of the deck rail a couple of days ago. (Sawdust below it) I looked into the hole and it was empty. It was approx. one and a half inches deep. Today I saw this struggle going on and ran for the camera.

Mason Wasp with Caterpillar

The worm/grub was almost more the the wasp could carry. I watch and snapped photos untill it finally got into the hole. It left the worm/grub in the hole. I will keep an eye on the hole to see if she closes it of just leaves it open. I never saw these black and white wasp looking things before this year. The adults appear to feed on pollen. Thanks and have a great day.

Mason Wasp with Caterpillar

Hi Richard,
We believe we have correctly identified your Mason Wasp as
Monobia quadridens on BugGuide which indicates:  “Usually nests in wood borings, but sometimes burrows in dirt banks. Sometimes takes over abandoned nests of carpenter bees or ground bees, also Sceliphron (mud dauber) cells. Nest is provisioned with caterpillars, and cells of nest are separated by mud partitions.”  A very similar looking species is Euodynerus bidens, also profiled on BugGuide.  The two can be distinguished from one another by this method:  “Nearly identical to Monobia quadridens. Large rounded white spots on the propodeum (smaller or absent in Monobia quadridens) and smaller rounded white spots on the temples (present only in Euodynerus bidens) are used to distinguish the two.”  Your photographs are beautiful.

Mason Wasp with Caterpillar Prey

Two Tanzanian Bugs
Location:  Treetops Safari Camp, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
August 12, 2010 7:40 pm
While walking to our tree house accommodations at the Tree Tops Safari Camp in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, my daughter found these two intertwined bugs. What are they Bug Man?

Spider Wasp with Prey

Dear AJ,
This is a spectacular safari image.  Your daughter is quite an accomplished photographer.  Does your daughter have a name, or is she just your daughter?  This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and the spider is most likely a Tarantula.  Spider Wasps are phenomenal hunters.  The female Spider Wasp locates a Spider and battles with it, generally winning.  The Spider is stung on the belly and is paralyzed but still alive.  The Spider Wasp then drags it back to a prepared burrow or excavates a burrow on the spot and buries the Spider after laying a single egg.  The egg hatches and the larval wasp feeds upon the comatose spider, eating it alive.  That ensures that the meat of the spider will remain fresh.  The Spider Wasp Larva feeds on non-vital organs first, and the spider eventually dies.  Only the female Spider Wasp hunts as the male who has no stinger is incapable of stinging.  The prey of Spider Wasps usually includes Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders, but in Australia they feed upon Huntsman Spider and some species of Spider Wasps prey upon Wolf Spiders.  The Spider Wasps are generally species specific when it comes to prey.  Adult Spider Wasps feed upon nectar and they are frequently seen on blossoms.

Bug Man…my daughter’s name is Kryss.

Thanks for that update AJ.  We have an issue with our friends and colleagues introducing their mates and or relatives at social events as “my wife” or “my boyfriend” or even “my mother” and our response is always the same.  “Does your wife (boyfriend or mother) have a name? or is she (he) just your wife (boyfriend or mother)?”

Very Odd Looking Fly
Location:  East Moline, IL
August 11, 2010 11:19 pm
My co-worker had this insect come flying up to him in his office. He reluctantly captured it for me, and brought it to my office. I placed it in one of my special bug containers (I’m more inclined to find, research and keep spiders, but I like unusual bugs as well). I searched your site, but couldn’t find anything quite like it. Curious to see if you can figure out what it is. It was found on August 11, 2010, and our workplace is near the Mississippi River between IL and IA. It has what looks like an ovipositor that is nearly twice the length of its body.
Zee the Spider Guy

Giant Ichneumon

Hi Zee,
This parasitic hymenopteran is a Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa macrurus.