Currently viewing the category: "Scoliid Wasps"

Subject:  Pygodasis ephippium wagneriana
Geographic location of the bug:  Ecuador
Date: 08/22/2021
Time: 10:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  It’s dead so I can take tons of pics for more research.
How you want your letter signed:  Paola Davalos

Scoliid Wasp

Dear Paola,
This is definitely a wasp in the family Scoliidae, sometimes called Digger Wasps.  Scoliid Wasps prey on the grubs of Scarab Beetles.  This might be
Pygodasis ephippium, The Giant Scoliid Wasp, which is pictured on Project Noah where it states:  “A truly monstrous wasp measuring 4 cm in length! This is a Scollid wasp, often called Digger Wasps. They have a characteristically corrugated pattern on the tips of the wings (2nd picture). These are parasitic on Scarab larvae under ground, tunneling down to the larva to lay her egg on its body. Some will make a side chamber to store the larva while her own offspring grows. Because of her size, she must parasitize one of the larger scarab species. She also has enormous mandibles (1st & 5th pictures) for handling the larva underground. This species has two large orange-red bands on the abdomen and is otherwise entirely black. This is the 4th individual I have seen over the past 30 years. These have been reported from the southern US, Mexico, Central America and northern South America “

Scoliid Wasp

HI Daniel,
Thanks for your respose.
I took the wasp to the University biology center. They will research it since they are finding a decrease on the population than usual and they want to understand the cause of this higher mortality here in Ecuador.
Ill keep you posted since they will research the cause of the death in this particular wasp I found.

Hi again Paola,
We would love to hear any updates you get from the University biology center.  You may post comments directly to the online posting

Subject:  What is it
Geographic location of the bug:  Yarra glen 3775
Date: 03/24/2020
Time: 12:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Whats this bug please
How you want your letter signed:  Jen

Hairy Flower Wasp

Dear Jen,
This is a Flower Wasp or Scarab Hunter in the family Scoliidae, and based on the image posted to Museum Victoria Collections, we are relatively confident it is the Hairy Flower Wasp,
Austroscolia soror.  The site states:  “Austroscolia soror (previously in the genus Scolia is the most frequently seen species of Flower Wasp found in Victoria back yards. During the summer months Museums Victoria’s Discovery Centre receives many enquiries from people who are curious about a largish blue wasp. These wasps are usually identified as this species. These wasps will most likely be seen flying just above ground level and in particular flying near or around compost heaps, wood heaps or dead stumps of trees where the female wasps are looking for beetle larvae, (usually scarab beetles but sometimes weevils). Unlike the European Honeybee, European Wasp, and some native species, the Hairy Flower Wasps do not make a nest or form colonies. If several are seen flying around a compost heap or tree stump it simply means that several wasps are investigating for beetle larvae at the same time. The wasps are strong burrowers and when they find a beetle larva they sting and paralyse it and lay an egg on it. On hatching the young wasp has a live, paralysed food source waiting for it. Adult Hairy Flower Wasps drink nectar and so are frequent visitors to flowers where their size and colour make them easy to see when sitting on a flower. Nectar provides them with food energy in the form of sugars that they use to power their wing muscles. Hairy Flower Wasps do possess a sting, but they do not have a communal hive to defend and so tend not to be aggressive.”  Here is an image from our archive with a female Hairy Flower Wasp and her Scarab grub prey.

Subject:  Lots of these hovering in yard with sandy soil about 20 feet from our pond
Geographic location of the bug:  Chesapeake, VA
Date: 03/26/2020
Time: 03:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These act like Scoliid wasps, but don’t look like them.  What are they?
How you want your letter signed:  Ruth

Digger Wasp

Dear Ruth,
The family Scoliidae contains several species of Flower Wasps or Scarab Hunters that resemble your individual.  The long antennae leads us to believe this individual is a male, and it looks like it might be
Dielis plumipes which is pictured on BugGuide.

Subject:  Not sure if it’s a wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Mombasa, Kenya
Date: 12/30/2019
Time: 10:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve been wanting to post here for a while. I’m Kenyan and our bugs are not available on the internet as much as in Western or Asian countries. Since I live in a coastal area, I see so many insects that I would love to have identified. My home area has a lot pf insects that usually find their way into the house. I found my sister, Sian, had killed this one and upon closer inspection wanted to know if it’s a spider wasp, a great black wasp or even a wasp at all (though it has the tell tale slim “waist”). The species I found online of the spider wasp all have antennae that are brightly colored but this one only had orange tips. I thought it was a great black wasp, because of the sudden increase in grasshopper populations, but most sites say they are large and have no colored antennae. The body is hairy (including the abdomen) and shiny and it has “gradient” wings which change between a dark blue to black depending on the angle. Hoping to post more bugs in future…
How you want your letter signed:  Danson, future regular poster…

Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Danson,
This is definitely a wasp, but it is not a Spider Wasp.  In our opinion, it is a Flower Wasp or Scarab Hunter in the family Scoliidae, a group that preys upon the underground grubs of large Scarab Beetles, and Africa has numerous species of large Scarab Beetles, so there is a food supply for the Scarab Hunter Wasps.  We have not had any luck providing you with a species match.  According to BugGuide, a North American site, Scarab Hunter Wasps are “Robust, hairy, medium-sized to large.”  We look forward to your future submissions.

Thank you very much for the fast response… I’ll definitely post more…and you’re right, I think it’s a species of flower wasp…

Subject:  Winged insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Nepal (Annapurna region)
Date: 11/05/2019
Time: 08:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
I was on a trek recently (Oct 2019)in the Annapurna region of Nepal. U cane across this winged insect. Would love to know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Andy

Mammoth Wasp

Dear Andy,
Your image of this amazing insect is awesome.  This is a Mammoth Wasp in the family Scoliidae.  We located this FlickR posting that identifies it as a female
Megascolia azurea and the posting indicates:  “another rare record.”  It is also pictured on ResearchGate and iNaturalist.  Mammoth Wasps prey on the larvae of Scarab Beetles, not to eat, but to provide food for the young.  Ray Cannon’s Nature Notes has a nice posting of an encounter in Thailand.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for your quick response.  Thats amazing. Im so please to have have found out what this insect is. Ive posted it on Instagram, I’ll mention that you helped me i-d it.

Hi again Andy,
You got lucky with the “quick response” because Daniel was traveling to Washington DC with a group of award winning Journalism students for five days during which time he didn’t respond to any identification requests.

Subject:  Looks like large bee or wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Windsor. Nsw. Australia
Date: 09/13/2019
Time: 03:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi. Just saw this huge bee or wasp. Never seen this bug before. Should i report it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks Kim

Hairy Flower Wasp

Dear Kim,
We recognized your Wasp as a member of the family Scoliidae, and we quickly identified it as a Hairy Flower Wasp thanks to images on Backyard Buddies where it states:  “Hairy Flower Wasps are great for your garden. After mating, the female digs into the soil and finds a grub or beetle. She paralyses it temporarily and lays her egg in it. As the larva grows, it uses the host as food. Because of this, Hairy Flower Wasps and their larvae will help your garden by keeping your grub and beetle numbers down.”  According to Esperance Fauna:  “They are solitary insects without a nest, as the female lays a single egg on a paralysed and insensitised (stung) scarab beetle larvae, leaving it to hatch and consume the host. Because these wasps have no nest to protect and fortunately for people are not aggressive and will only sting if physically interfered with.”