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

Subject: Insect identification
Location: Miami, FL
April 11, 2013 4:35 pm
Hi, I was wondering if you could help me identify this insect I found inside my home, flying near a window. The end of its abdomen was wiggling around quite a bit and was even folded back a few times. I’ve attached a few photos I took with my phone.
Thanks a lot.
Signature: Kevin

Ensign Wasp

Ensign Wasp

Hi Kevin,
This is an Ensign Wasp, and you should probably welcome it into your house as they lay their eggs in the ootheca or eggcases of Cockroaches.  The larval wasps then feed on the developing Cockroaches.

Ensign Wasp

Ensign Wasp


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What type of fly is this?
Location: South Central Texas
October 28, 2011 9:22 pm
Mr Bugman,
I notice these flies mainly during the summer months…they’re not prolific, nor do they sting or bite…I’ve always just been curious as to what name and type of fly they are.
Signature: Mark Warfield

Ensign Wasp

Hi Mark,
The Ensign Wasp, as its name implies, is not a fly.  These parasitic hymenopterans lay their eggs in the ootheca or egg cases of cockroaches, helping to control the numbers of the infesting insects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

need help identifying Bug and Bee
Location: Island of Curaçao in the Caribbean
August 19, 2011 7:08 pm
Hi, I am Garrick Marchena, from the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean and I need help identifying these two insects.
I know one of them is a bee, but i need to know what type of bee. Its certainly a type I’ve never seen or heard of before.
The other is an insect known to our island as one that brings luck. It is called ”Mamoendenge” by our local people, but i need to know the official name. It kinda looks like a Mud Dobber wasp but i don’t think it is. Its back part bobs up and down as it walks.
I really appreciate if you can help, but if you can’t maybe you might know someone who does?
thanks you very much,
wkr
Garrick Marchena.
Signature: Garrick

Carpenter Bee: Xylocopa muscaria

Hi Garrick,
Though we don’t recognize your bee, and we have been unable to locate a match online, we suspect it is some species of Carpenter Bee.  The other insect which you call Mameondenge we find very interesting because of the notion that it brings bad luck.  This is a beneficial Ensign Wasp, so named because of the bobbing of its abdomen which is thought to resemble a flag.  The Ensign Wasp parasitizes the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches, helping to reduce their population.  We wonder if the name the locals have given it is a reference to dengue fever which is spread by mosquitoes.  You might want to educate the locals as to the importance the Ensign Wasp plays in Cockroach control.

Ensign Wasp

Thanks for the fast response!!!
Locals say that the Esign Wasp (or Mamonedenge) brings GOOD luck actually! Sorri i wasn’t clear on that.
Now that i know this information I’m gonna love this bug even more!
From what I’ve searched on the internet the bee does look like a carpenters bee. Also seems to be a type of solitary type bee.
This is really awesome!
Let me know if you are going to use the pictures because i would like to add a copyright on them first if you don’t mind.
Thank you very much for your help.
Garrick.

Sorry Garrick,
We somehow inserted the word “bad” before luck in your letter.  The images are already posted live and we have cropped them, lightened them and formatted them to our site.  Your name is printed with your original email.

Correction courtesy of John Ascher
April 22, 2012
Xylocopa (Schonnherria) muscaria (Fabricius, 1775) female:

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Restroom violayor
Location: North fort worth, texas
July 19, 2011 10:42 am
I have a policy of ignore and be ignored with bugs in my home. There’s just an unwritten rule of personal space, however, in the restroom that space it’s expanded exponentially to a no fly zone of assured death. Not once, not twice, but thrice times I swatted this one away with non lethal intent. At first I thought it was a spider the way it crawled out from under the scale. Then I noticed it’s cricket like hind legs and it flew, directly at me, multiple times. Also it appeara to have an antlike abdomen. Hopefully this specimen will serve as an example to others in the future. PS: He seems to have found a hair to cling to in death… How quaint.
Signature: Relatively benign bug overlord

Ensign Wasp Carnage

Dear Relatively benign bug overlord,
While we understand your desire for personal space in the bathroom, we hope your “no fly zone” policy can be moderated once you learn what you have killed.  This is a harmless Ensign Wasp that is actually a beneficial parasite.  Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches.  The larval wasp feeds on the developing eggs and then pupates in the empty ootheca, ensuring that the future generation of Cockroaches in your home will be reduced.  This also helps the environment by reducing the need to spray toxic chemical pesticides around the home.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this pest???
Location:  Houston, Texas
July 12, 2011 8:46 PM
I found these two pests flying around my home yesterday and tonight July 11, 2011.  I recently moved into my new home and I now have a new pest to deal with.  This bug has hind legs similar to a grasshopper; wings like a fly; a bulb bottom like a wasp stinger; blue eyes; and is extremely hard to kill!  I placed the first one in this baggy and it lived for an entire day.  The second bug is still alive after I smashed it with a fly swatter and its been inside a closed bag for ten hours.  What is this scary looking mutant?
Lola @ Houston, Tx.
Teachers Make All Other Professions Possible!

Ensign Wasp Carnage

Dear Lola,
We find your letter most troubling and we hope we can use our response to educate you.  Our first challenge to you is to question why you automatically assumed that these Ensign Wasps are pests?  How do you define a pest?  We propose this to you because Ensign Wasps are harmless creatures that cannot sting humans.   Ensign Wasps parasitize the oothecae or egg cases of Cockroaches.  The wasp larva consumes the cockroach eggs before pupating within the now empty ootheca, helping to naturally control the population of cockroaches.  Without a natural means of control, Cockroaches will multiply and that might necessitate frequent visits from the exterminator which costs money and introduces poisonous pesticides to the home.  If there are Ensign Wasps in your home, that is probably an indication that a food supply is nearby.  We noticed your tagline that “Teachers Make All Other Professions Possible!” and we applaud you for using the internet to identify the creatures you have encountered in your home, but we wish that you had decided to educate yourself about them first before swatting and suffocating these beneficial creatures.  Not everything you encounter in your new home is a pest.

First and foremost, thank you very kindly for your quick response to my inquiry.  I am happy to finally put an identity to this new insect I have never before encountered.
Now, as far as my naming this wasp a “pest”, I find it completely fitting and I can briefly explain why (as you ask for my definition).  My four year old son became fearful of these wasps as they seem to purposely fly near our faces and around us and are not just spending time on a wall or in and out an open door or window.
Yes, as my tag mentions, I am a teacher and find it interesting that you mention it as some sort of way to belittle my wanting to rid this home of an insect I am unfamiliar with.  Though I do have great scientific interests, I find my son’s peace much more priority and anything disturbing him that I encounter will become secondary.  You mention I should have “educated” myself beforehand and I ask you, how else would I have been able to capture the photos, get a closer look, and educate myself had I not swatted these FAST flying wasps and placed it in a bag?
Truly you may want to consider proofreading your outgoing mail before hitting send and turning a newly interested reader to your site into someone who finds this more personally based than that of sharing knowledge.
Thanks again as I now have learned more than the name of this new insect.
Next time someone encounters your site and is genuinely seeking assistance in identifying an insect they’ve never before encountered don’t make it personal.  It takes away from your own credibility, as well as your site.
Thanks for this one time exchange.
Teachers Make All Other Professions Possible!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What bug is this?
Location: Metro, Sydney.
March 31, 2011 11:59 pm
Dear Bugman,
Can you please help identify what this bug is.
I live in metropolitan Sydney and I took a photo of this in my back yard. Its approximatly 1cm in length, shiny black with features that resemble a cicada, fly and a grasshopper. Can you help me know who my neighbour is. Thank you!
Signature: Damian

Ensign Wasp

Hi Damian,
This is an Ensign Wasp, and it really needs to be recognized as it performs a significant function.  Ensign Wasps parasitize the ootheca or egg cases of Cockroaches, though to the best of our knowledge, there have not been any studies on how effective Ensign Wasps are in controlling Cockroach populations.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination