Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"

Subject:  Unidentified bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Bryn Mawr, PA
Date: 07/21/2021
Time: 11:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We couldn’t figure out what this is? It is always coming to the same spot and stay on the same leaf of our pepper plant almost all day long.
Thank you:  How you want your letter signed:  Gozde Ayaz

Cicada Killer

Dear Gozde,
This magnificent solitary Wasp is a Cicada Killer.  Because of their large size, Cicada Killers often fall victim to Unnecessary Carnage at the hands of folks that kill things that they fear.

Subject:  Black Flying Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Upstate New York
Date: 07/20/2021
Time: 06:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Helli, We have these insects around our deck for the first time this year. We have lived here for 30+ years. Are they wasps, hornets or something else? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Susan

Common Blue Mud-Dauber Wasps

Dear Susan,
We believe these are Common Blue Mud-Dauber Wasps,
Chalybion californicum, which are pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “A large, active, blue-black wasp with irridescent blue wings. Frequents flowers for nectar and buildings for nest sites.” and “Females construct mud nests in sheltered areas, often under the eaves of buildings, and provision them with spiders.”  We suspect they are searching for mud near your deck for nest building.

Subject:  iD this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  South Carolina
Date: 07/20/2021
Time: 05:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This flying insect along with many more of the same were swarming low to the ground around some blooming flowers. However they seemed more interested in the pine straw than the nectar. Will he sting? Children pass through here often.
How you want your letter signed:  Kim

Male Velvet Ant

Dear Kim,
There is a group of flightless female Wasps in the family Mutillidae that are commonly called Velvet Ants because they resemble Ants, and they are known to deliver a very painful sting.  Only the females are flightless and though the family is referred to as Velvet Ants, it is only the females that truly deserve that name, but for the sake of convenience, we will call this a male Velvet Ant.  We believe based on this BugGuide image that the species is
Dasymutilla occidentalis.  The stinger of a Bee or Wasp is a modified ovipositor, an organ used in the laying of eggs.  Male wasps do not lay eggs, do not need an ovipositor, and consequently, they cannot sting.  Watch for the flightless female Velvet Ants called Cowkillers.  They do sting and the sting is reported to be quite painful.

Subject:  Identify bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Leicestershire, UK
Date: 07/16/2021
Time: 01:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was flying around my room at night, I thought it was a daddy long longs and grasped it in two hands. After a couple seconds, it “stung” me as I felt a very sharp prick on my hand.
As I closed it into just one hand to open the window, i felt another very sharp prick – so much so that I quickly released it to move away.
The pain continued in both areas for a fair few minutes and after trapping it in a glass, I managed to take a few pictures before releasing it.
It’s about the size of a daddy long legs, but is red with a “sting” on the end (where it is black) and “spikes” on its legs.  I’ve never seen it before, let alone have one mildly hurt me.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  Jack


Dear Jack,
This is a parasitoid Ichneumon Wasp, and there are some species that are capable of stinging as you have learned first-hand.  Of the species pictured on the Natural History Museum Beginner’s Guide to Identifying British Ichneumonids, we believe it looks most like
Callajoppa exaltatoria, which is also pictured on Ukranian Biodiversity Information Network.  Though the coloration is similar to your individual, we do not believe they are the same species as other anatomical features appear different.  Ichneumons can be very difficult to identify with certainty.

Subject:  Orange Wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Massachusetts
Date: 07/11/2021
Time: 02:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Showing up on my milkweed plants. Seems very aggressive against other bees/wasps.
How you want your letter signed:  Vinny

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Vinny,
This is a Great Golden Digger Wasp and Daniel has been posting images of this species from his Los Angeles garden last month where they were nectaring from blooming onions.  The Great Golden Digger Wasp is a solitary wasp and they are not generally aggressive and they do not defend their nests.  The female feeds on nectar and milkweed is a marvelous nectar producing plant.  The female also hunts Katydids which she stings and paralyzes and then drags back to her nest where she lays an egg that will hatch into a helpless larva that will eat the paralyzed Katydid alive.  Great Golden Digger Wasps rarely sting humans, but the sting is likely quite painful.  She will only sting if threatened.  She would much rather save her venom for paralyzing Katydids than warding off predators, so she has aposomatic warning coloration (orange and black) and she moves in a jerky and attention getting manner to warn would be predators to avoid trying to eat or lest they encounter a painful sting to the mouth.

Thank you Daniel. This information will ease our minds in regards to potential bites as they are appearing in large numbers.

Subject:  What’s this wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Kingston Ontario Canada
Date: 07/06/2021
Time: 08:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a wasp that is helpful?
How you want your letter signed:  Hope Alberry

Yellow Legged Mud Dauber

Dear Hope,
This is a Yellow Legged Mud Dauber or Black and Yellow Mud Dauber,
Sceliphron caementarium, which is pictured on BugGuide.  This is a solitary wasp and solitary wasps rarely pose a stinging threat.  Social Wasps will often sting to protect the nest, but solitary wasps do not protect the nest.  The Yellow Legged Mud Dauber builds a nest from mud and is often seen near mud puddles.  According to BugGuide:  “nest is provisioned withNests are provisioned with spiders”.