Subject:  Bald faced hornet nest
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington D.C. Metro area, USA
Date: 05/19/2018
Time: 07:57 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  A couple weeks ago I was surprised when I noticed a “beehive” (I know they’re not bees) newly under construction right to the side of my garage. I was really surprised because it’s being built ON the siding! I was able to find out it’s a bald faced hornets nest. Now I need to figure out what to do about it. From what I’ve researched it should only be the Queen in there right now…which would explain why I’ve only ever seen one hornet on it. I don’t wanna kill her like everyone keeps telling me to but I do need to remove it. What is the best way to do so where I’m not gonna get killed by this thing or kill her?!
*I may have a slight irrational fear of all things “bee”.
The first pic I included is of the nest about three days ago. The second pic is just to show where on the house the nest is located.
How you want your letter signed:  Christine O.

Bald Faced Hornet Nest

Hi Christine,
We can see by the images you provided that this Bald Faced Hornet nest is positioned so it is near the entrance to your home.  Hornets are social wasps that will defend the nest.  While we acknowledge your quandary regarding this matter, alas we do not provide extermination advice.  We would advise you to act before the queen Bald Faced Hornet’s first brood become adults as the workers will help her to defend the nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Slovakia, central Europe, mixed oak-pine woods
Date: 05/19/2018
Time: 11:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this bee while hiking through the woods picking up mushrooms (I assume it’s a kind of a carpenter bee, something from Xylocopinae) but I can’t seem to find one that looks like it on the internet. It’s May currently, pretty warm outside already (20°C), but I’m not sure how long has the specimen been lying on the ground (I found it dead already). Also, I should mention, it has tentacles with orange endings wider than the rest of the tentacle.  There’s no section that would visibly divide between the abdomen and chest area. Also, the bee has really long hind legs with slight yellowish colouring at the end of them. It’s almost 3cm long. Has see-through wings about the same length as the bee itself. Has visible mandibulae and maxilae.
How you want your letter signed:  T.


Dear T,
This is not a Bee.  It is a Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of Bees and Wasps.  It might be a Birch Sawfly,
Cimbex femoratus, which is pictured on iNaturalist.

Subject:  Large flying brownish yellow ant…
Geographic location of the bug:  SE Asia (prelude to monsoon season)
Date: 05/18/2018
Time: 12:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman,
After hearing / seeing what I at first thought to be a V8 engine flying around my room – then the ‘engine’ eventually doing the inevitable ‘head butt the window, directly next to the opened one’ (which infact I bee’lieve he almost managed to push open anyway….) early this morning. I spent an hour getting over the shock of what I had just witnessed, I then used your very useful website to identify said visitor / early morning alarm clocks identification. I now know the ‘intruder’ was a fully grown ‘Capenter bee.’  – How lovely.
Quite a few days prior to this, I was visited by a very large flying ant(?) – light brown/yellow in colour and displaying a docile temperament (at first). After foolishly believing it would appreciate a small saucer of water, it took acception to this – took flight, and aimed its self directly at my ‘boat shed’ (that’s Cornish rhyming slang for “face”) with me well and truly in its flight path – it was trying to chew my nose and/or eyes off or out… I’m sure.
It eventually ‘banked’ around and flew out of the door – maybe me running away and screaming like a little school girl, was just too much for ant’y flyie thing ? (The picture was taken of it about to start trying to bite an 8mm rivet head off – for reference, ours; not it’s.)
Anyway; I hope you can help me identify it, it will also help me with the (Southern Vietnam) police report, if we do indeed know the species.
Thanking you in advance, I will look forward to your reply.
With kind regards
How you want your letter signed:  Andy, 36 years 7 months.

Red Tree Dwelling Weaver Ant Alate

Dear Andy,
Your submission is quite entertaining.  We concur that the first visitor you mentioned is a Carpenter Bee, and we believe we have identified your flying Ant as a female alate Red Tree Dwelling Weaver Ant,
Oecophylla smaragdina, thanks to the TermitesandAnts Blogspot where it states:  “Oecophylla smaragdina is a common red tree dwelling weaver ant. The color is not definitive of the species as there are also those which are green. Oecophylla smaragdina are group hunters and individual ants are mostly ineffective against live prey except very small ones. … Oecophylla smaragdina nests can be quite extensive covering several trees over a few acres. These nests are made of leaves woven together with ants’ silk secreted by the larvae. Some workers pulled leaves together while other workers each with a larva in its mandibles ‘glue’ the leaves together, with the ant silk secreted by these larvae, to formed a shelter where the brood are housed.”

Red Tree Dwelling Weaver Ant Alate

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Hawkmoth
Geographic location of the bug:  Bruny Island, Tasmania
Date: 05/18/2018
Time: 03:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This moth came to our patio lights when on vacation in Tasmania in 2008. Been trying ever since to find its ID.
How you want your letter signed:  Stephen Smith

Rain Moth

Dear Stephen,
Though it resembles a Hawkmoth, this is a member of a different family, Hepialidae, the Ghost Moths or Swift Moths.  We believe we have correctly identified it as
Abantiades atripalpis, a Rain Moth or Waikerie, thanks to images posted to Butterfly House where it states:  “The moths have grey-brown wings, often with two ragged silver flash markings across each forewing. The forewings often also show intricate sinuous patterns of pale lines. The wingspan of the males can reach 12 cms. That of the females can reach 16 cms.  The adult females deposit large numbers of eggs. Indeed, this species holds the World Fecundity Record, for the greatest number of eggs being deposited by a non-social insect. One dissected female had 44,100 eggs. It is thought that the eggs are laid in flight, just being scattered across the ground.” 

Many thanks, I’ve quite a few Australian moth photo’s as yet unidentified. If you don’t mind I’ll post more in the future as I work my way through them.
Regards Steve.

Subject:  Moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern CA
Date: 05/18/2018
Time: 02:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: 
This one decided to crawl up our wall in the backyard and change to this. What type or moth or butterfly is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Karen

Mourning Cloak

Dear Karen,
This is a newly emerged Mourning Cloak Butterfly.  The caterpillars can be quite numerous on elm and willow trees.

Subject:  Hot wasp lovin’
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Grande Nature Center, Albuquerque NM
Date: 05/18/2018
Time: 04:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!  We were in the nature center and came upon dozens of these wasps.   The smaller ones, which we assumed are males, were flying maybe an inch or so above the ground and clearly searching for something.  The larger one, which we assumed was a female, suddenly emerged from underground and the smaller ones went crazy.
She kept trying to get away but couldn’t fly because her wings weren’t dry.  I believe I caught the actual act of mating in one of the photos.  Are these scarab hunters?   It’s the closest we could come in identifying them, but there wasn’t an exact match in the field guide.
How you want your letter signed:  Mike

A pair of Scarab Hunter Wasps

Dear Mike,
Your images are awesome, and your written commentary is a marvelous observation.  We agree that these are Scarab Hunter Wasps in the family Scoliidae, but we are not certain of the species.  Our best guess is perhaps
Crioscolia alcione (see female here on BugGuide and male here on BugGuide) or possibly Trielis octomaculata which is also pictured on BugGuide.  Members of this family exhibit sexual dimorphism, and males are smaller and often with markings different from those of the females.  Based on your observations, the males sensed the pheromones of the female that was about to emerge, and they waited for her to dig to the surface. 

Mating Activity among Scarab Hunter Wasps

Thank you!  That certainly looks like them.  There were dozens and dozens of the males searching everywhere.  They were quite friendly and just zipped around us with mild interest.

Male Wasps are physically incapable of stinging. 

Mating Scarab Hunter Wasps

Oh yeah, right?  The stinger is a modified ovipositor.
The sheer number of searching males was the most impressive thing.  There were easily 4-5 per square foot.