Currently viewing the category: "Thread Waisted Wasps"
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Subject: Is this an ichneumon wasp?
Location: Austin, TX
April 30, 2017 8:49 am
What is this bug? Finding them inside the house this spring trying to get out…hanging around the windows…do they sting/bite? Any house structure damage concerns?
Signature: Stephen

Grass Carrying Wasp

Dear Stephen,
Based on BugGuide images, we are pretty confident that this is a Grass Carrying Wasp,
Isodontia mexicana.  According to BugGuide:  “Taken from the Internet Reference below (Penn State): The adult wasps emerge from their cocoons in early summer, mate, and the females locate a suitable nest site. She collects blades of grass and grass and hay stems to line the nest cavity. The wasp can be seen flying through the air with the blades trailing beneath her. She lands at the hole and enters, pulling the blade in behind her. After the nest is prepared, she hunts for tree crickets (i.e., Oecanthus sp.), captures and paralyses them with her sting, and transports them to the nest. She deposits eggs in the nest and the emerging larvae will feed on the living, but immobile crickets. When the larvae reach the appropriate size (in 4–6 days at 70–75° F.), they spin a cocoon and pupate. The adult wasps emerge in 2–3 weeks. In Pennsylvania, Isodontia mexicana typically produce two generations per year.  Remarks These wasps commonly make their nest in the narrow track found above outer windows.”  We have many more images in our archives of the nests of Grass Carrying Wasps because they are so frequently found in window tracks.  Solitary wasps are generally not aggressive, and rarely sting humans, though that possibility does exist.  Since they are harmless, and since it appears one individual in the images you attached might be dead from unnatural causes, we are tagging this submission as Unnecessary Carnage.  Because Grass Carrying Wasps are emerging from nests formed in window tracks now that spring has arrived, and because we suspect other homemakers might be experiencing similar sightings, we are tagging this posting as the Bug of the Month for May 2017.

Grass Carrying Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is going on with these wasps
Location: near houston
April 28, 2017 9:56 am
very odd. 4 wasps on top of each other. At first ii thought it was a multiple mating, but It appears that the bugs on top are dead. What is going here? what sort of wasp is this? is this normal? i’ve never seen this before.
Signature: jay in texas

Mud Dauber Mystery

Dear Jay,
We wish you had been able to provide better quality images.  While there is enough detail to determine that these are Black and Yellow Mud Daubers,
Sceliphron caementarium, and it appears they are “attached” to one another at the head like each was biting another at the “neck”, we cannot fathom what is going on or what happened.  It is interesting that you observed the the ones on top are dead.  Does that mean the ones on the bottom were alive?  It also appears that they are on a collapsible hose, which makes sense since Mud Daubers are often found near puddles that occur when watering or near swimming pools.  You may verify our identification by comparing your individuals to this BugGuide image.  Mud Daubers are solitary Wasps, and each female makes and provisions her own nest, so this “group activity” is quite puzzling.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide a hypothesis on what is happening.

Update:  Supposed Mating Behavior
Thanks to Cesar Crash who provided comments with links to Shutterstock and BugGuide.

Eric Eaton Confirms
Daniel:
….Three males competing for a female (bottom-most individual).  The neck-grabbing is typical male mate-guarding behavior, or attempt to mate.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What are these clay light shells
Location: Sydney Australia
January 28, 2017 8:07 pm
Found these in the backyard and just wondering what they were shells of..
Signature: Cindy

Mud Dauber Nest

Dear Cindy,
This is a mud nest constructed by a Wasp, probably a Mud Dauber in the genus
Sceliphron based on the image posted to Oz Animals.  The Brisbane Insect site has images of a female Mud Dauber constructing her nest as well as this information:  “The wasps build mud cells in sheltered locations. If the cell is opened, you will find a wasp larva, together with some spiders which are the larva’s foods. They are collected by the mother wasp.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Great Golden Digger Wasp
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
September 24, 2016 11:36 am
Greeting, Awesome WTB Volunteers!
Here’s the photos of the Great Golden Digger Wasp I promised to send. I took these photos that same summer, August 2013, as the Great Black Wasp photos. I did see them both at the same time in my Rain Garden, though never close enough to get them in the same photo!
The detail fascinates me in these photos! The abdomen appears “furrier” than on the Great Black, the mouth pieces are more noticeable, and the legs spikes are definitely prominent. (Yes, I know, I’m using non-scientific jargon; as the saying goes, “I’m not a scientist …”).
Hope these photos help enhance your archives. They are indeed gorgeous gentle giants!
Blessings,
Wanda
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Wanda,
We are so thrilled you have solved your problem of submitting your images.  Since they started coming through a few days ago, you have provided our archives with such excellent images.  They are high resolution, perfectly focused and marvelously composed.  These Great Golden Digger Wasp images are amazing.  It is interesting that you are visually comparing the Great Golden Digger Wasp,
Sphex ichneumoneus, to the Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, because they are members of the same genus.

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Greetings, Daniel!
I’m glad the issue re: sending images is resolved as well. I have photos of several insects I’ve identified through various resources, and many of those might be beneficial additions to your archives. Then I have countless more photos of insects I still need help identifying with which I hope you can assist.
When I saw the Great Golden Digger Wasp I had already seen the Great Black Wasp so my first thought was how similar they were. Having identified the Great Black, I knew where to look for the identification for the Great Golden Digger Wasp. I do enjoy learning and remembering various resources to use as tools. In the case of these two Great Wasps, I had a book I borrowed from the library and the pictures provided the identification. I think you know one of the authors of that book, a Mr. Eric R. Eaton. I believe he provided additional insight into the identification for my Long-Horned Bee submission earlier this summer.
Speaking of which, I think I might have a photo of the male Long-Horned Bee. I’ll take another look to see if the antennae are longer than on the female.
I’ll cull through my photos to see what else I’ve identified that you might be able to add to your growing archives. And of course what I need help identifying.
Blessings to one and all!
Wanda

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Great Golden Digger Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Great Black Wasp
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
September 21, 2016 3:09 pm
Greetings, Daniel et al!
To test whether or not my queries can get through as successful submissions, I’m sending photos I’ve identified as a Great Black Wasp.
These photos were taken in my Rain Garden way back in August of 2013. I was so excited the first time I saw this magnificent creature! I did not know what it was and called it a giant flying ant and tried to do some research. I eventually figured out it was a Great Black Wasp. My first photos were blurry and off center so I kept hoping I would see it again to take more pictures. The milkweed in my garden proved irresistible and the wasp did return allowing me to get these better photos.
I’ve seen the Great Black Wasp each summer since then, though not as frequently. I was gone much of Summer 2015 and this year the humidity has kept me out of the garden more than I like.
These photos are slightly smaller in size than the others I’ve been trying to send through without success. Does this site have a limit to submission size? Maybe that is my issue …
Blessings to all,
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Great Black Wasp

Great Black Wasp

Wow Wanda,
Your images of a Great Black Wasp,
Sphex pensylvanicus, are absolutely gorgeous.  We wonder if your problem was related to huge file size.  The detail on these images is phenomenal, even after we reduced them to a web friendly size.  According to BugGuide:  “Provision nests (in burrow in soft earth) with Katydids or grasshoppers. (Univ. Florida lists: Tettigoniidae in genera Microcentrum and Scudderia.) Usually about three are placed in a nest.”

Great Black Wasp

Great Black Wasp

Hi Daniel,
Thank you! The Great Black Wasp photos I sent went through just fine, so what you received is “my original” in all its glory. The combined total in size for the Great Black Wasp was just under 6 MB. The Long-Horned Bee submission earlier this summer was closer to 7.5 MB. For my future submissions I’ll check file sizes. If need be, I’ll compress them to keep my combined total submission size under 8 MB.
I was hoping you would like the photos of the Great Black Wasp. I thought you would like to add them to your photo archives. I truly was excited to see this creature; when feeding on the milkweed the Great Black is quite a sight to behold, almost mesmerizing! I have some fine photos of the Great Golden Digger Wasp as well which I can send.
Both large wasps really are gentle giants. All of the insects I’ve encountered in my garden have proven to be non-aggressive toward humans, so I have been using that reality as an opportunity to educate the residents here at the apartments. My photos help make the point quite nicely. “Aren’t you afraid of getting stung?” they ask. “Nope,” I reply. “In all my years of gardening I’ve never had an issue with any of the wasps, flies, or bees I find on my plants or in the earth. They do their thing, I do my thing, and we get along just fine.”
Blessings, Daniel!
Wanda J. Kothlow

Great Black Wasp

Great Black Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mud dauber sighting
Location: Oregon
August 6, 2016 8:39 pm
This lovely lady was singing while she worked, which is how I found her. I thought there was a wild animal trapped underneath the cabinet, but when I moved the towel IN the cabinet I found her working away at her nest, making the strangest sound. I should have gotten a video :/
Signature: Tonya

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber makes nest

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber makes nest

Dear Tonya,
We know exactly the sound you are talking about.  We too have located Black and Yellow Mud Daubers constructing nests because of their “singing”.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination