Currently viewing the category: "Thread Waisted Wasps"

Subject:  Flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Shirley, NY
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 12:48 AM EDT
Can you identify this bug I found on my flowers?
How you want your letter signed:  Diane L

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Dear Diane,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the genus
Ammophila.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults visit flowers. Larva feed on caterpillars and sawflies provisioned by the adult female.”

Subject:  Unique wasp like flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwest Missouri (Stone Co)
Date: 09/16/2017
Time: 12:39 PM EDT
I saw this unique wasp in our front yard today, one I’d never seen before. I’ve traveled all over the world had have seen some very unique insects and animals but this one is new and I can’t find any pictures of another. It is all black, is multi segmented but the rear segment tuts up like a scorpion rather than the more traditional wasp in this area. It has a very identifiable looking stinger somewhat like a dragonfly and the wings move as a bees with the familiar buzzing sound. Any assistance in identifying it would be great as I’ve never seen one around here. I’ve attached three pictures to help. It was hard to get the pics as it didn’t much care for me getting to close. Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  JLQD

Mating Thread-Waisted Wasps

Dear JLQD,
This is not a single Sphecid Wasp represented in your images.  It is a mating pair of Thread-Waisted Wasps in the family Sphecidae, and if you look closely, you can see that he has her by the scruff of her neck and that their abdomens, each individually connected to the body by a thin pedicel that gives this family the collective common name of Thread-Waisted Wasps, are conjoined for the transference of spermatozoa.  They look similar to the Blue Mud Wasp that is depicted on BugGuide.

Mating Thread-Waisted Wasps

Mating Thread-Waisted Wasps

Subject:  Update on Grass Carrying Wasp from France
Location:  southwest France
August 29, 2017 8:05 AM
Hi Daniel,
Further to recent contacts, I have, at last, managed to get some half decent shots of the grass carrying wasps nesting in our patio table.
They have been pretty active these past few days – maybe the 35+ degree heat has turned them on – but they catch me out every time I have no camera ready. It really is a struggle to film them as they arrive and disappear to their nest(s) in no time at all.
However, the attached pics show one with a small cricket or grasshopper of some description and another close-up or the wasp just landing on the table.
I hope they are of sufficient quality to be of interest. I am still waiting for the shot of the wasp actually ‘doing what it says on the tin’ and carrying a piece of grass to the nest. I have been close a few times and will get it one day, although I figure nesting may well be approaching the end with the impending onset of autumn.
We have also noticed recent activity in the table by what I believe are some form of robber or parasitic wasp. The first one looked VERY like a large horsefly, the subsequent visitors more like a regular small brown wasp. Again, I have not been able to capture them on camera so I can’t ID them any better than that I’m afraid. The interesting thing is that they have been bringing in small crickets and the like, using the same holes as the grass carrying wasps. I don’t know whether they are nesting on their own behalf or feeding the larvae of the GCW’s for the benefit of their own offspring. The two species met on one visit to the nest entrance. The prey was jettisoned and there was an interesting ‘face-off’ with the larger, GCW probably winning on points I would say.
One final note on the GCW – it dropped its cricket on the table before landing at the nest hole and it was clearly evident that the prey was not dead, merely anaesthetised, as there were distinct signs of movement in both the legs and the ovipositor. I have no idea how long it is, following the bite, before they die  but this one didn’t seem to last more than a few minutes before it (seemingly) expired.
Thanks as ever for all you do to enlighten us on these matters. My wife thinks I spend an “unreasonable” amount of time perusing the site but she’s quite getting into our little wasp friends and alerts me now when one is ‘incoming’. There’s hope yet!
All the best,

Grass Carrying Wasp with Prey

Dear Robin,
Your diligence has paid off.  We love the image of the Grass Carrying Wasp with its Tree Cricket prey.

Grass Carrying Wasp

Subject: What is that bug drinking from my milkweed plants?
Location: Massachusetts
August 12, 2017 5:25 pm
I saw a few of these very dark large wasp-like fliers feeding from my common milkweed plants today. Coastal Massachusetts. Very quick flier. Hard to get close to. Thanks!!!
Rob S.
Signature: Rob

Great Black Wasp

Hi Rob,
This is a Great Black Wasp and this image is gorgeous.  Female Great Black Wasps hunt Katydids to provision an underground nest where the larval wasps are developing.  The Great Black Wasp, 
Sphex pensylvanicus, and the Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus, are classified together in the same genus.   This submission and your previous two postings are all being archived on our Milkweed Meadow tag.

Subject: What is this feeding on milkweed?
Location: Massachusetts USA
August 11, 2017 7:17 am
What is this insect feeding on milkweed in coastal Massachusetts? Thank you!!!!
Signature: Rob S

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Rob,
Flowers from milkweed are a great source of food for nectaring insects, including this gorgeous Great Golden Digger Wasp.  This is a solitary wasp and it is not aggressive towards humans.  Great Golden Digger Wasps prey on Katydids that the female paralyzes and provides as food for her brood that develops in an underground chamber.

Wow Daniel! Thank you for the ID and the information!
Rob S.

Subject: Glossy blue-black bug
Location: SW Virginia public garden
August 7, 2017 1:38 pm
Hi, I saw these bugs recently on a very busy patch of hoary mountain mint. They moved too fast to get a good photo of their wings – they are a beautiful blue-black. Can you tell me what they are? thank you!
Signature: curious

Great Black Wasps

Dear curious,
these look to us like Great Black Wasps,
Sphex pensylvanicus.  This BugGuide image nicely illustrates the blue reflections on the wings.

Great Black Wasp