Red Headed Ash Borers disrupt classroom

Subject: Hymenoptera (?) in Classroom
Location: Seattle, WA
April 20, 2015 5:07 pm
A bunch of insects that look like hymenoptera have been congregating in my classroom recently, beginning when the weather got warmer. They are especially in one area of the room that has some natural wood (untreated branches, trunks, etc.) that included as accent decorations of a loft. Some have long antennae and others have short. They have very long hind legs. Their bodies are a rusty brown color with a couple yellow stripes. Their wings are the same rusty color. The wing covers brown with three yellow stripes. I’m a science teacher and love bugs, but need to know if these are potentially harmful to either my students or the physical structure of my classroom. They have so far not shown any aggression, but occasionally do fly and land on students, which distracts from the lessons and scares some students since I cannot confidently assure students they are harmless.
Any pointers would be helpful. Thanks!
Signature: Zoe

Red Headed Ash Borer
Red Headed Ash Borer

Dear Zoe,
This is a Red Headed Ash Borer,
Neoclytus acuminatus, or some other closely related member of the genus.  The appearance of these beetles is most likely connected to the wood you mentioned.  Though it is a beetle, the Red Headed Ash Borer is an effective wasp mimic.

Thanks so much! I’m glad it’s not harmful for my students and it’ll be a good science lesson to incorporate too!

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