Squash Vine Borer

Subject: moth/wasp?
Location: Suburbs of Indianapolis
June 28, 2016 3:48 pm
I’d love help identifying this insect. It reminds me of a Scarlett Bodied Wasp Moth, but the coloring is a bit off. He lives somewhere in my backyard in Indianapolis, Indiana and frequents my vegetable garden.
Sorry the photos are grainy, he’s very fast.
Signature: Lauren G

Squash Vine Borer
Squash Vine Borer

Dear Lauren,
You were astute to suspect that though it is an effective wasp mimic, your Squash Vine Borer,
Melittia cucurbitae, is actually a moth, however it is from a different family than the Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth which is a Tiger Moth.  Your Squash Vine Borer is a Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae.  The individual in your image appears to be hovering near some squash leaves, probably to lay eggs.  The larva are stem borers and they may seriously compromise the yield of the plants in your garden.

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