Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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What is this bug?
I have hordes of this bug nesting in my patio which is made of stone blocks. They are going in the cracks and are huge! They never bother us but I am concerned that they could be destructive in some way. I have seen them taking green “grasshoppers” in with them. Sometimes they hover over the cracks between the patio tiles and then lower themselves into the ground. The one in the picture is about 1.25” long but I have seen smaller ones also. I forgot to tell you I live in Michigan and we have been seeing this bug for a good month or two. My dog keeps chasing them and occasionally catches one. They don’t seem to try and go after him when he antagonizes them. If it is a common flying insect, is there some kind of "bug killer" that won’t be harmful to my dog?
Thanks in advance,
Sherry Obershea

Hi Sherry,
You killed Sphex pennsylvanica, the Great Black Wasp. They are hunters of katydids, and they nest singly in burrows in the soil, not in mud nests. They are very non-aggressive. They are actually beneficial in keeping the destructive insect population down. You should learn to coexist.

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Odd Looking wasp and a few for your collection!
Hi there Bug People!
The evening of 3-August we were visiting a relative in Maryland (see particular data below). The evening was still, warm and humid. Clear sky for the most part. I was out near the porch light (as I usually am at this location due to the great number of insects, spiders, frogs and toads that appear each eve). I managed to get two photos of the insect in question – the better of the two is showing the specimen about 1 1/2 longer than it actually was. I originally thought this to be an Ichneumon Wasp…but now I am not sure. I can find no image of a similar type in the species. So, the question is: What exactly is this not-so-little lovely? you will see some left overs from its tangle with a spider web on the front left leg. Thank you for your time.

I like to photograph only the most taken for granted of things in the world…lowly mushrooms and fungus, insects, small rodents, amphibians, etc… I have included a few ( a very small sampling ) of my ‘insect world’ favorites for 2004. Hope you enjoy them! (Personally, I love the Imperial Moth that befriended my hand…the Stag is second place) All of these photos are from the location described below.
Kindest Regards,
Scott Pierson
Actual Location Data: (of all insect photos attached) Earleville, MD – in a small, private community named ‘Hazelmoor’.
Latitude: 39.4401 Longitude: -76.0247
Time is always (approx) between the hours of 20:30 to 00:00 hrs, EDT

My Goodness, Scott,
I admire the structuralist tendencies you have applied to your insect photographs. Your Odd Looking Wasp is Pelecinus polyturator, a large and striking insect. According to Borror and Delong: “The female is 2 inches or more in length, shining black, with the abdomen very long and slender; the male, which is extremely rare in this country, is about an inch long and has the posterior part of the abdomen swollen. The females do not sting. this insect is parasitic on the larvae of June Beetles.” The 4 3/4 inches you have indicated on your photograph makes your specimen a behemoth. We agree that your Imperial Moth photo is amazing.

Thank you for your reply – I didn’t realize that you’d already posted it the website! My previous email did not include that “I think the site is great!” What a service to folks – especially those interested in insects. This is a great wealth of information and the fact that there are photos to examine is priceless. It’s great that you take the time to help folks out like this. Thank you again! Kindest Regards, Scott Pierson

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

unusual ant
This ant was found away from civilized area, in south central Missouri. I happened to see it on a trail for ATVs. The length of the ant is about the same as the diameter of a nickel. It was suggested to me that it may be a woodcutter, though nothing specific. I look forward to any information you can provide.

Your unusual ant goes by the common name Velvet Ant, but it is in fact a flightless female wasp. In the south, they are known as Cow-Killers because of the painful sting. The scientific name is Dasymutilla occidentalis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What kind of insect is this?
Hello! I found this insect at my house located in Central PA. I think that it may be some sort of dragonfly. What is it?

Hi Eileen,
Thanks for sending in the great photos of Megarhyssa atrata, the Giant Ichneumon. Your female wasp uses that long ovipositor to deposit eggs deep inside living trees. Her young seek out and devour boring insects like sawflies. Though it looks dangerous, she will not sting you, despite being a type of wasp.

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To Whom it May Concern,
I killed two of these monsters this weekend. I have never seen a totally black, wasp like creature before. It dive bombed me and took an inordinate amount of wasp spray to kill. Can you please tell me what this is? I live in mid Michigan.
Chris McHugh

Hi Chris,
You killed Sphex pennsylvanica, the Great Black Wasp. They are hunters of katydids, and they nest singly in burrows in the soil, not in mud nests. They are very non-aggressive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello, what is this insect? It has one pair of wings, the colors on it are black and yellow. I just thought it was odd that it’s abdomen was so skinny. It tends to fly quite slowly and it whirs whilst it flies. It is a wasp of some sort? Although the patterns of black and yellow are not striped, looks more spotted.

Hi T.
There is a reason “wasp-waist” has been used to describe a femine physique that has a tiny waist and awesome curves. Your Mud-Dauber from the genus Sceliphron also possesses a textbook thread waist. The species does have two pairs of wings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination