What is this bug that captures grasshoppers?
Location: Eastern Ontario Canada
July 20, 2010 8:18 pm
We live in eastern Ontario between Ottawa and Montreal Canada. Last year we started to see these large ’flys’ swarming around our pool shed and down under some loose brick near the pool. There was just a few of them but what was interesting is that they captured and carried grasshoppers back under the brick where they obviously have a nest. This year there were many more of them so I got some sticky paper that’s meant to capture bugs and even mice (very sticky) and have caught nearly all of them along with a bunch of grasshoppers. There’s still a few of them left. They do not bother humans or try to bite but are rather annoying when a bunch are buzzing around. Its difficult to spray insecticide as its outside but I’m wondering how to get rid of them permanently. I’ve been at this location for 30 years but last year was the first time I’ve ever seen these bugs.
I’ve attached a picture
This is a Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, and as your letter indicates, it is not an aggressive species. We do not give extermination advice, however, it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial. The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects. We cannot condone a justification of eradication just because a species is “somewhat annoying” especially since you indicate that they “do not bother humans or try to bite.” We will be filing your letter and photograph under Unnecessary Carnage in an effort to educate. According to BugGuide, the female Great Black Wasps: “Provision nests (in burrow in soft earth) with Katydids or grasshoppters [sic]. (Univ. Florida lists: Tettigoniidae in genera Microcentrum and Scudderia.) Usually about three are placed in a nest.” There is a nice image on Wikipedia of a Great Black Wasp dragging a Katydid to its burrow. We would encourage you to be more tolerant of Great Black Wasps in the future.
A Reader Chastises Us for Failing to Educate
Failing to educate
July 17, 2011 6:26 am
I was just reading your response to Evan McIntosh regarding eradication of great black wasps. You wrote, “…it has always been our mission to educate the public with regards to insects, spiders and other creatures that might appear to be frightening, but are actually quite benign or even beneficial. The Great Black Wasp is one of those insects.” You were quick to judge Evan by classifying his post under “Unnecessary Carnage” and claim to have education as your primary mission, yet do not provide one useful piece of info in your response. Did you think to describe WHY the great black wasp is beneficial? Next time, try educating first, and judging second. For me, I’m exterminating these wasps because my 3 yr old is afraid to leave the front door, where they “patrol” constantly, and my wife doesn’t like them getting into our home through the basement. I’d rather study bees and wasps with him on my terms, not theirs. I’d be happy to send a nice photo if you want more for your “Unnecessary Carnage” file.
Signature: Paul Bradley
The Great Black Wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus, is a Thread Waisted Wasp that is also known as the Katydid Hunter according to BugGuide.