Currently viewing the category: "Carrot Wasps"

Subject:  Paper Wasps
Geographic location of the bug:  Chesapeake, VA
Date: 09/08/2021
Time: 10:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman!
Some resourceful paper wasps have taken advantage of the gap in the screen of our daughter’s bedroom window.  She was initially afraid of them but we are using the nest as a teaching tool since they’ll likely be gone once winter hits.  The nest has really grown since they moved in, and it’s so interesting to watch.  She is four and loves the “bugs that make the paper”.
It’s interesting to see their antennas reach toward the window when we open the blinds, but beyond that, they don’t seem to be phased by our presence.
How you want your letter signed:  S Reyman

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear S Reyman,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Paper Wasp nest and your plan for using its development as a teaching tool. We believe these are introduced European Paper Wasps which are pictured on BugGuide.

Paper Wasps

Subject:  Weird flying bug
Geographic location of the bug:  West Yorkshire UK
Date: 06/23/2018
Time: 05:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi this was in my garden this sunny morning, any clue what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Sam

Carrot Wasp: Gasteruption jaculator

Dear Sam,
We found your parasitic Hymenopteran pictured on Nature Spot where it is identified as
Gasteruption jaculator.  According to the site:  “The female will visit the nests of various solitary bees or wasps, and will push her ovipositor into the nest, depositing her own eggs on or near to the eggs of the host, on hatching they will feed on the grubs of the host as well as on stored food.”  The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has this lengthy description of the process:  “The female finds nests of various solitary bees or wasps, and will then spend some time assessing each hole. She does so, it is thought, by feeling for vibrations from the grubs moving around inside, as the nest hole will have been blocked up to protect the grubs. Having decided on a suitable nest hole, she pushes her long ovipositor through the blocked-up entrance into the nest, depositing her own eggs next to the bee grubs. Very soon the eggs hatch and immediately the young start to feed on the grubs within the nest. They will also consume the food larder of pollen and nectar, left there for the bee grubs to feed on.  The fully grown larvae stay in the bee hole over winter, pupating in the spring and hatching out from May through to September, so they can be seen throughout the summer months, nectaring on a range of plants. This long summer hatching period enables the female to choose a wide range of solitary bee and wasp hosts to target for raising her own offspring, ensuring that her eggs are quite literally not all in the same basket. It also means that they can, to a certain extent, avoid being attacked themselves by other parasites, which might be the case if they all hatched at the same time.”  Neither of those sites provides a common name, but the collective common name on the North American site BugGuide is Carrot Wasp.

Subject: Butterwasp??!!
Location: Southern NJ
August 10, 2017 7:53 pm
Strange black wasp with butterflylike wings found in New Jersey . Looks like it has a long ovipositor.
Couldn’t find any similar photos –Help!
Signature: Thanks-Donna

Aulacid Wasp: Pristaulacus fasciatus

Dear Donna,
This is such a gorgeous wasp, that despite the difficulty, we were not going to give up until we got you an answer.  At first we thought this must be a parasitoid Ichneumon or Braconid, but we eventually learned it was neither.  We identified your parasitoid wasp as
Pristaulacus fasciatus thanks to this BugGuide image.  Of the family Aulacidae, Bugguide notes:  “Frequently mistaken for ichneumon wasps as they often frequent dead standing trees, logs, woodpiles. Note “neck” between head and thorax and the high attachment point of the metasoma” and “endoparasitoids of the wood-boring larvae of beetles (of several families, but mostly longhorns) and Xiphydria wood wasps.”  This is a new species representing a new family on our site, so we are creating a new sub-sub-category of Aulacid Wasps just to house your submission.

Dear Daniel.
Thanks so much for your quick reply-you guys are great!!!
Very exciting that you created a new sub-sub-category for our find!!!
Daniel I forgot to ask does it has a common name?

Hi again Donna.  We have not been able to find a common name, though PBase does call it an Aulacid Wasp, but that is just a reference to the family.

Subject: What insect is this?
Location: Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia
April 20, 2014 6:04 am
Hi there,
I came across this insect by some flowers in Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia. I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it, so I thought I’d see if you know. Thanks.
Signature: Chris

Possibly Carrot Wasp

Possibly Carrot Wasp

Dear Chris,
Of this we are certain:  This is a parasitic wasp that is classified as Parasitica or Parasitic Apocrita, which is not a true taxonomic category, but it is a means to group parasitic wasps together.  We believe it is a Carrot Wasp in the family Gasteruptiidae, which we identified on BugGuide, and then verified on the Atlas of Living Australia as being a family that is found in Australia.  We may be wrong, but the look of the hind legs and the antennae as well as the ovipositor are good indications that we are correct.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are predators or predators-inquilines (consume larval food, not the larvae) of other Hymenoptera that nest in twigs and in wood.”  The Atlas of Living Australia notes:  “Females oviposit in the nests of solitary bees (Apidae) and wasps (Vespidae) , where the larvae are predator-inquilines, eating the host egg or larvae and consuming the pollen store. Adult gasteruptiids may be seen on flowers or hovering near bare ground, logs or trees.”

Subject: Is this an Ichneumon?
Location: Dorset, England
June 30, 2013 12:16 pm
I would be grateful to kniow if this is an Ichneumon? We pictured it in our garden yesterday afternoon in Dorset, England. The body was about 1 cm long, very delicate, plus the length of the probe. It was a very light insect which went off on the wind shortly after the picture was taken.
Kind regards,
Bob Bentley
Signature: Bob Bentley

Carrot Wasp

Carrot Wasp

Dear Bob,
This is a Parasitic Hymenopteran, but it is not an Ichneumon.  We quickly found this image of a Carrot Wasp in the genus
Gasteruption on BugGuide, and we figured we had nailed your identification request, but then we realized you were from England.  BugGuide indicates:  “Adults take nectar; larvae are predators or predator-inquilines of other Hymenoptera that nest in twigs or other woody sites” and “Gasteruption have a characteristic hovering flight with the swollen metatibiae hanging down so that the insect resembles a helicopter carrying a large load on a cable.”  Nature Spot reports the species Gasteruption jaculator in England and notes:  ” The female will visit the nests of various solitary bees or wasps, and will push her ovipositor into the nest, depositing her own eggs on or near to the eggs of the host, on hatching they will feed on the grubs of the host as well as on stored food.”  We are not certain if the common family name of Carrot Wasp is used in England.

Thank you so much Daniel.  Always nice to know we have a parasitic hymenopteran on the premises, it’s definitely one up on the neighbours!!!
Thanks again,

So sorry to send so many
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 29, 2011 6:14 pm
Here is one that is on a flower that I haven’t been able to identify. I do know that it’s tiny flowers go to seed much as a dandelion. Guess I should pull it up right away if I don’t want my whole garden to be taken over. Just wanted to wait until I could get a somewhat decent photo of this tiny guy. Can you help? I’m sending a photo of a bloom with a Mexican Sunflower leaf behind it so you can get an idea of the size. We know you’re very busy right now, but would appreciate any help you can give.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Carrot Wasp

Hi Again Anna,
We actually identified this one much more quickly than we anticipated.  We opened the digital photo up yesterday before we did any research and this morning we zeroed in on the Carrot Wasps in the genus
Gasteruption on BugGuide.  There is not too much information on the information page on BugGuide, except the unexplained common name Carrot Wasp and this statement regarding food:  “Adults take nectar; larvae are predators or predator-inquilines of other Hymenoptera that nest in twigs or other woody sites.”  We suspect the adults are fond of taking nectar from the umbel blossoms of carrots and related plants, including many herbs like parsley, dill, and anise.  Your specimen is a male, as he lacks the ovipositor of the female.  This Cirrus Images website has some beautiful photographs and from there we were directed to the Tree of Life website that more thoroughly covers the parasitic habits of the group.

Thanks very much!  This is such a small wasp and is very hard see, much less get in focus.  I’m so glad you were able to identify it for me.  I also appreciate the links to Cirrus Images & Tree of Life websites.