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

Green eyed insect that made 5 dirt nest under garbage cans
Location:  Utah
July 21, 2010 12:43 pm
I found 5 hills with one entrance in each under my garbage can. Then a wasp/fly/? looking bug appeared. It had long wings and bright green eyes. It seemed to have either a stinger or antennae out the mouth area. We sprayed the hills and took the picture just before it died. I have never seen it before and lived here in Utah for 5+ years. Do you know what it is? Thanks so much for your time and effort. I wish I could just download the picture and that it would match it with the bug.
Sincerely Heidi

Sand Loving Wasp

Dear Heidi,
One of our primary purposes in running What’s That Bug? is to promote tolerance and appreciation of the lower beasts, and to educate the public in an effort to prevent the senseless slaughter of beneficial or benign insects and other arthropods because we know that people fear the unknown, hence the creation of our Unnecessary Carnage section where your letter and photo will be archived.  We were uncertain of the identity of this digging Hymenopteran, so we sought assistance from Eric Eaton who was kind enough to respond:  “
Hi, Daniel:  The insect is a “sand-loving wasp” in the genus Tachytes.  Hard to say more without examining the specimen under a microscope.  EricBugGuide does not have much information on the genus,  however, BugGuide does provide this tidbit of information on the info page of the subfamily to which it belongs, Crabroninae, the Square Headed Wasps:  “Some nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. The principal prey is flies, but some utilize various other types of insects.” We can deduce that the proximity of the underground nests to the garbage cans means that your species feeds upon flies.  Your Sand Loving Wasp would be considered a beneficial insect by most people since it helps to control pestiferous flies that are attracted to garbage and can spread diseases including:  Typhoid fever, Cholera, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigellosis, Polio, Diarrhea, Anthrax, Eye inflammation, Tuberculosis, Yaws, Dysentery, Trachoma, Conjunctivitis and even Leprosy.  Were we you, we would welcome Sand Loving Wasps in the vicinity of our garbage cans.  Perhaps our response will cause you to allow any future nests to develop unmolested.  As a postscript, Sand Loving Wasps are not known to sting humans.  They are solitary wasps and solitary wasps do not have the aggressive nest protecting behavior exhibited by social wasps like Yellowjackets and Red Wasps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this bug that captures grasshoppers?
Location:  Eastern Ontario Canada
July 20, 2010 8:18 pm
We live in eastern Ontario between Ottawa and Montreal Canada. Last year we started to see these large ’flys’ swarming around our pool shed and down under some loose brick near the pool. There was just a few of them but what was interesting is that they captured and carried grasshoppers back under the brick where they obviously have a nest. This year there were many more of them so I got some sticky paper that’s meant to capture bugs and even mice (very sticky) and have caught nearly all of them along with a bunch of grasshoppers. There’s still a few of them left. They do not bother humans or try to bite but are rather annoying when a bunch are buzzing around. Its difficult to spray insecticide as its outside but I’m wondering how to get rid of them permanently. I’ve been at this location for 30 years but last year was the first time I’ve ever seen these bugs.
Evan McIntosh
I’ve attached a picture
Evan McIntosh

Great Black Wasp Carnage

Dear Evan,
This is a Great Black Wasp,
Sphex pensylvanicus, and as your letter indicates, it is not an aggressive species.  We do not give extermination advice, however, it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial.  The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects.  We cannot condone a justification of eradication just because a species is “somewhat annoying” especially since you indicate that they “do not bother humans or try to bite.”  We will be filing your letter and photograph under Unnecessary Carnage in an effort to educate.  According to BugGuide, the female Great Black Wasps:  “Provision nests (in burrow in soft earth) with Katydids or grasshoppters [sic]. (Univ. Florida lists: Tettigoniidae in genera Microcentrum and Scudderia.) Usually about three are placed in a nest.”  There is a nice image on Wikipedia of a Great Black Wasp dragging a Katydid to its burrow.  We would encourage you to be more tolerant of Great Black Wasps in the future.

A Reader Chastises Us for Failing to Educate
Failing to educate
July 17, 2011 6:26 am
I was just reading your response to Evan McIntosh regarding eradication of great black wasps. You wrote, “…it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial.  The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects.” You were quick to judge Evan by classifying his post under “Unnecessary Carnage” and claim to have education as your primary mission, yet do not provide one useful piece of info in your response. Did you think to describe WHY the great black wasp is beneficial? Next time, try educating first, and judging second. For me, I’m exterminating these wasps because my 3 yr old is afraid to leave the front door, where they “patrol” constantly, and my wife doesn’t like them getting into our home through the basement. I’d rather study bees and wasps with him on my terms, not theirs. I’d be happy to send a nice photo if you want more for your “Unnecessary Carnage” file.
Signature: Paul Bradley

Educational Entry:
The Great Black Wasp,
Sphex pensylvanicus, is a Thread Waisted Wasp that is also known as the Katydid Hunter according to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Ichneumon in New Jersey
Location:  Newton, New Jersey
July 20, 2010 6:50 pm
From a distance, I thought this was a dragonfly holding its wings in a funny position…then I saw the ovipositor, twice the length of the body. Is this a giant ichneumon, Megarhyssa nortoni? This is a first for me. It is resting on a grape leaf, near a rotting stump (perhaps after laying eggs?).
Northwestern New Jersey; photo taken July 20, 2010.

Giant Ichneumon

Hi Jeannie,
You are correct that this is a Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, but we get a little murky at the species level.  We think that there is a very good possibility that your Giant Ichneumon is Megarhyssa nortoni, but we would also not discount Megarhyssa macrurus.  According to BugGuide, the range of Megarhyssa macrurus includes New Jersey, and the range of Megarhyssa nortoni includes nearby Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Giant Ichneumon

Your photos are all so great we have decided to post all three.

Giant Ichneumon

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

whats my bug ?
Location:  UK Cambridgeshire
July 20, 2010 8:49 am
Found trying to crawl out of a dry flower pot today ( 20th July )Conditions dry.

Great Wood Wasp

Hi Mike,
This is a Great Wood Wasp,
Urocerus gigas, and it is sometimes called a Horntail.  The “horn” is the ovipositor of the female.  You can read more about this species on the UK Safari website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mortal Kombat
Location:  Gloucester Twp, Camden County, NJ
July 19, 2010 3:11 pm
This brutal assault was in our front yard. The amber winged-warrior was the perched assailant, snatching its ill-fated victim from mid-flight.
We’d like to know what they are. Research suggests the Amber is Ophion Luteus, a parasitic wasp, while the other seems to be Ammophilia procera or possibly even Ammophila conditor? The tail marking seems to suggest the latter, though sites indicate this is a little known or observed wasp (if correct).

Hanging Thief devours Wasp

Hi Chris,
This magnificent predator is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, a group known as the Hanging Thieves because of the way they often hang from a single foot while devouring their prey, exactly as your fabulous photographs demonstrate.  We do not feel confident identifying this Hanging Thief to the species level, but you can view BugGuide for additional details.  We believe you may be correct on the Wasp identification.  It sure does look like one of the Thread-Waisted Wasps in the genus Ammophila based on images posted to BugGuide, but again, we do not feel confident taking the identification to the species level.

Hanging Thief consumes Thread-Waisted Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown ant-like insect
July 16, 2010
Location:  Virginia
Okay, out in my yard today in Virginia, I encountered a bug I’ve never seen in my life. It’s mostly shaped like an ant, only massive like the size of a bee or such. It’s a deep, bright red with a couple black stripes across its abdomen and appears to have a somewhat velvety texture (though I didn’t touch it to make sure). It does not possess any wings. Normally, I’d just let it go but I have two small nephews staying with me right now and don’t want any harm to come to them.

Cow Killer

Hi Deimos,
Congratulations on being the first person to use our brand new form.  We hope our readership likes our new form and that it makes submitting identification requests easier.  Your insect is a Velvet Ant known as a Cow Killer,
Dasymutilla occidentalis.  We hope you heeded the warning colors, because Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps that can sting.  The common name Cow Killer refers to the sting being so painful it might kill a cow.  Though the sting could not kill a cow, it is none the less reported to be quite painful.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination