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

Over the last weekend, we were in Parker, Arizona. A large bug landed on me which was very frightening. People there identified it as a ‘scorpion wasp’, but I can’t find any such bug on the internet. I don’t have a photo, but it had a large black body with some white or gray spots on the head, long legs, and a very long stinger (or what appeared to be so). It had large wings. Do you know of any such bug in this area? I’m concerned that if we visit there again, I don’t want my baby to be stung by this thing, if it was a wasp after all. I did notice too, that when it landed on the ground , it crawled around rather quickly.
Mrs. Trebesch

Dear Mrs Trebesch,
Might be a Tarantula Hawk, a very large wasp with reddish wings. They sting and paralyze tarantulas. Their sting is reported to be very painful to humans.

I did some more searching online yesterday after your previous message; despite the fact that I thought I saw black and white, I am certain it had orange wings and appeared black when flying/crawling and after review of some photos, I don’t have much doubt that it was a tarantula hawk wasp. The strange thing is, I thought it had stung me, but from the descriptions, it sounds like if it had, I wouldn’t be questioning! It didn’t hurt that much… maybe he/she just landed on my sunburn and made me think I got stung! Thanks for your help in identifying it!
Mrs. Trebesch
Sierra Vista Middle School
Room 17

Dear Mrs. Trebesch,
Though I have never been stung, I understand the sting of a Tarantula Hawk is extremely painful. I see big ones her in Los Angeles occasionally, but never as large as the ones I have seen in Mexico. They are actually beautiful wasps. Glad we could solve your mystery. We found a photo on this site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I work in Medina Ohio and one of My Marines found this bug and we would like to know what it is?? It is about 4 inchs long thank for any help you can give.
SSgt Horton USMC

Dear SSgt Horton,
Your Marines have captured a female Ichneumon Wasp (Meharhyssa species). That long "stinger" is in fact her ovipositor, and she locates wood boring grubs inside trees with her acute hearing, and penetrates the wood with the ovipositor, depositing an egg near the living grub. The egg hatches and has a living dinner, feasting on the grub until the grub dies from the parasite. We have additional information in our Buggy Biography section as well as on the wasp page of Thank you for the great photo.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me what this bug is. A description of it would be, black body, weird shaped, hind legs are yellowy brown, the waist is very very slender, then rounds back out at the rear end. Has a stinger looks like, transleucent brownish blackish wings. eyes that look like they are to big for its head. about 1/2 inch long, maybe just a tad longer. and relatively long antennae. Was also wondering if you could possibly give me more info on it, like its diet, habitat, and such, or possibly another site to go to for this info. It is for a bug project. Thank you so very much for any help. By the way, your site, as far as I have seen is the best for finding out types of insects. I greatly appreciate it, helps alot for things like school work.

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you for the compliment. Most of the photos we post have been taken by our readers, and we unfortunately have none of mud daubers. Though we are trained photographers ourselves, it seems like we don’t have much time to take photos of insects because of our busy teaching schedules and the time we spend updating our website and answering questions. Mud Daubers is a general classification as well as the common name for wasps from the family Specidae. It is a large family with over 100 species. The subfamily Specinae are the thread-wasted species. Two genuses Sceliphron and Chalybion are commonly called mud daubers. They construct their nests of mud and provision them with spiders, though different species are known to prefer different food inlcuding caterpillars, grasshoppers, flies, and others. There are several cells about an inch long and the nests are found on the sides and ceilings of buildings. The nests are usually filled with spiders or insects which have been paralyzed by a sting. When the young wasps hatch, they resemble grubs and they have a fresh supply of comatose spiders to eat. Neither of our common mud daubers fits your description. Sceliphron caementarium is blackish brown with yellow spots, yellow legs, and clear wings. Chalybion californicum is metallic blue with bluish wings. It sounds like neither is your insect.
Here is a nice site:
which has a wasp that fits your description called Isodontia auripes. Here is a photo. Let us know how your project turns out.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Mr. Bugman,
I live in northern Connecticut. Yesterday morning I noticed from a distance what I
initially thought was a dragonfly over my lawn. Upon closer inspection, I was totally amazed by something I have never in my life seen before. It looked like a GIANT yellow jacket. It was 4 1/2 to 5 inches long. The abdomen on it was black with bright yellow stripes and shiny, just like a yellow jacket. It flew around close to the ground for a few seconds, then disappeared into a hole in the ground about 1 1/2 to 2 cm. wide. I noticed quite a bit of dirt thrown around the outside of the hole, apparently from it digging its nest out. It wasn’t aggressive, as when the dog tried to sniff at it (I pulled him back in a hurry!) it just kept looking for its nest. I do keep honeybees within 30 feet of where this thing is making its home, and I’m hoping whatever it is, it is no threat to them as real yellow jackets are. Any information you can provide will be sincerely appreciated.

Sounds like a Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus, a large (though not as large as you indicate) solitary wasp that preys on cicadas and burrows in the ground. It will not harm the bees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Bugman!
(Awsome site, BTW)We have new visitors in our yard (and in my camper). Large cylindrical bees or hornets, nearly 2″ long, black with three white stripes. They look like WWII fighters patrolling over London whenever you get near. Help! I’m ready to give them my tractor AND my camper!
russ therrien
hollywood, MD

Hi Russ,
I’m guessing Bald Faced Hornets, Dolichovespula maculata. These are social wasps that build a large paper nest from regurgitated wood pulp. The nests can be over a foot across that can contain 10,000 hornets. They are aggressive and do not like intruders near the nest and they will sting painfully, swarming and chasing the perpetrator. Unlike bees which die upon stinging, hornets can sting multiple times and live to tell. I hope you don’t have fields to plow or rubber to burn in the near future. I think your tractor and camper are lost to you until the frost which will kill the workers, but the queen hibernates and begins a new colony in the spring.

Hey, my friend found this weird nest/cocoon thing in his shed and its really weird and if you could tell us what its from thatd be great. Its grey and its made of like mud and clay and on the inside it was full of dead house was made in the secind story of his shed, and it was stuck to the side of the wall. the top was rounded with a closed hole and on the bottom there was an open hole. the walls are about about 3mm thick. the flies look like there trapped in some kind of webbing, but not.We live in a small town in Ontario canada. Were about an hour from toronto. Thats pretty much it. If you could get back to me as soon as possible thatd be great casue this thing is really gross and creepy. Thanks.
James and Shannon

Dear James and Shannon,
You found the nest of a mud wasp. Your wasp prefers flies as food. I have a mud nest from the black & yellow mud dauber, Sceliphron caementarium. on my back wall and will post it with your letter in the near future. They generally sting spiders to fill the nest, then lay eggs on the paralyzed spiders and when the young wasps hatch, they have a fresh meal, eating the comatose spiders alive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I did my research on your site (it was very helpful…thanks) and took this pic to send for your files if you want it…
Liisa Abbatiello

Dear Liisa,
I’m so glad our site was helpful. We have gotten several letters describing what your photo depicts, the parasitization of the Tomato Hornworm by Braconid Wasps. A picture is worth 1000 words. Thank you so much.

A HUGE bug I thought was going to carry my dachshund away!!!

Dear Bugman,
I looked through ALL of your pictures to try to ID my bug and not “bug” you, but I didn’t see it. I live in San Antonio, TX. The other night I heard a loud “bump” on the window near my recliner. I looked out to see the LARGEST bug I have ever seen. I thought perhaps it was a bird or a bat, but it hid under my son’s toy lawnmower, and my husband got a broom to move the lawnmower to get it out, and he said it was a bug. It was attracted to light, because when it was dark outside, it hit my window trying to get to my light inside. When we turned the lights on the porch on, he flew around, rather clumsily, toward the light. It’s wingspan had to be close to 6″-8″, and it was black and white variegated, almost like a flame stitch… kind of striped, but scribble striped. I swear I thought it had a skin-like covering over itself. I didn’t see an exoskeleton, but my husband swore it was a bug, and he was closer to it.
Thank You

Dear Rebecca,
I sure hope I can help you before you loose your dachsund. I’m not exactly sure, but here goes a guess. Tobacco Sphinx Moths, Manduca Sexta, grow large, and can have a wingspan in excess of five inches. They also have a robust body. They are attracted to lights and have a mottled pattern on the wings much as you describe. Since their bodies are covered with scales, they do not appear to have an exoskeleton. Here is a photo. Let us know.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination