Currently viewing the tag: "Goldenrod Meadow"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Huge great Golden Digger Wasp
Location:  Fairfield, Maine USA
August 23, 2010 11:53 am
Dear Bugman, the other day I was going to shoot a few Argiope aurantia we have living in the garden when I hear and saw this enormous orange black and yellow blur zipping around. I pursued it and saw it was a wasp like none I’d ever seen. It was probably approaching at least 3” long and was also quite stout. Although initially, I wanted to stay a safe distance away, it soon became clear it was not concerned with me. It would even stop, cock its head up toward me and then carry on feeding on nectar from the Goldenrod. It was hard to follow it around closely enough to get pictures because it was actually quite shy. I’ve seen it on 3 different days, so far, and hope to see it again.
Are they very solitary wasps? I feel that I keep seeing the same one, in the same area of the gardens…
Thank you,
James R

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Hi James,
The Great Golden Digger Wasp,
Sphex ichneumoneus, is a solitary wasp that provisions its nest with paralyzed katydids and crickets to feed its young.  Some solitary wasps like Cicada Killers and Sand Wasps nest in colonies, but we have never heard of colonial behavior in the Great Golden Digger Wasp.

Thank you Daniel,
Unfortunately, since the last time, I have not seen it again.
It has been getting cold in the evenings; do they winter over, or just die each tear?
Thanks,
James

Hi again James,
Adults do not overwinter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Feeding on Goldenrod
Location:  Southern New York State
August 16, 2010 4:18 pm
Saw this beautiful bug feeding on goldenrod in early August. It is about 1/2” long and unfurled gray wings under the colorful shell and flew short distances when disturbed. Also the unidentified wasps were busy at work. Cicada killer?
Don

Blue Winged Wasp

HI Don,
The image of yours that we are not posting is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth, a species we have posted several times in recent weeks.  We also just recently posted an image of a Digger Wasp or Blue Winged Wasp,
Scolia dubia, but it was photographed in a tupperware, not in its natural environment like your lovely photo.  Like many wasps, the adult Blue Winged Wasp feeds on nectar while the larvae are predatory.  Since they are not terribly mobile, the female wasp provisions for her brood.  In the case of the Blue Winged Wasp, the female locates and stings to paralyze the grubs of the Green June Beetle and the Japanese Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis, and the Japanese Beetle. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.”  According to Mom, any creature that preys upon Japanese Beetles is aces in her garden.

Fantastic!  My daughter and I love your site.  Thanks a million.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

non-Pelecinid?
Location:  near Casper, WY
August 2, 2010 3:22 pm
Hi Lisa Anne and Daniel,
When I photographed this creature on goldenrod 8/1/10, I thought I was looking at a Pelecinid. Now I don’t think so, I have no idea what it is. Can you identify it?
Am looking forward to your book.
Thanks much,
Dwaine

Crown of Thorns Wasp

Hi Dwaine,
This is a new one for us.  You are correct that it is NOT a Pelecinid.  Our initial impulse was perhaps an Ichneumon, but the antennae and other morphological features are just plain wrong, but we were certain, based on that ovipositor, that it must be a parasitic Hymenopteran.  We quickly located the Crown of Thorns Wasp,
Megischus bicolor, within the family Stephanidae on BugGuide which indicates they are “Parasitoids of beetles and/or wasps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Identify a Wasp with a white face?
Location:  Fairfield, Maine
August 3, 2010 7:45 pm
I found this on some goldenrod along with dozens of paper wasps. I seemed very camera shy or very busy, so I was only able to get this one picture. I looked through a lot of the potter wasps but did not find anything with the same markings and colors. Is this even a wasp at all?
Thanks!
James R

Unknown Syrphid Fly

Hi James,
This is not a wasp, but a fly that mimics a wasp.  We suspect it is in the family Syrphidae, the members of which are called Flower Flies or Hover Flies.  We are posting your photo as unidentified until we get an actual species or at least genus name.  Perhaps our readers can assist us.

Correction thanks to Karl
August 4, 2010
This is a Thick-headed Fly [see BugGuide] (Conopidae), so named because of their relatively large heads. According to the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America “They are mostly parasites of adult solitary bees, and sometimes wasps. The female fly assaults the host in midair, often forcing it to the ground and ramming an egg between the victim’s abdominal segments before releasing it.”  I believe the genus is either Physocephala or Phyoconops, the difference apparently being that in Physocephala the hind femur is somewhat swollen at the base, whereas in Physoconops it is not. This feature is not always easy to distinguish but the femurs do appear slightly swollen in this individual. There are many very similar looking species but based on color patterns of the face, legs, wings and abdomen, I think this may be Physocephala marginata. Regards. Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Small orange and black bug sucking on nectar of goldenrod
October 6, 2009
Hi. I came across this bug at my home in Sayville, New York. There were many individuals sucking the nectar from some goldenrod flower heads. I have never seen this bug before. What is this?
Derek Rogers
Sayville, New York

March Flies

March Flies

Hi Derek,
These are March Flies in the family Bibionidae.  We believe they are Dilophus spinipes, a species represented on BugGuide with several images taken  in New York a few days ago.  Those specimens were also pictured feeding on yellow flowers.  For some reason, we are unable to access any additional information on BugGuide this morning.  March Flies often appear in a very small window of time, and they appear in great numbers.  The infamous Love Bugs from the Southern States are a prime example.

March Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red caterpillar
September 30, 2009
Hi Bugman!
I found this in my field in north central Ohio this afternoon on a weed (goldenrod I think). It was a chilly day and it wasn’t moving at all. I’ve looked through my insect guides and on the web to try to identify it, but no luck. Do you know what it is?
Kirsten
Mt. Gilead Ohio

The Asteroid

The Asteroid

Hi Kirsten,
WE just love it when caterpillars have poetically descriptive common names, like the Monkey Slug, the Hickory Horned Devil, or the Orange Dog.  Your caterpillar is a first for us.  We thought it resembled the Brown Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar, so we searched the genus Cucullia on BugGuide.  We quickly located The Asteroid, Cucullia asteroides, more commonly called the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet.  The caterpillars are highly variable, and there are no images posted to BugGuide that exactly match your specimen, but the coloration is represented in several images from New Hampshire.  The caterpillars are described on BugGuide as:  “Caterpillar: ‘Usually bright green or brown with yellow, black and white striping, but exceedingly variable…mid-dorsal stripe yellow, often narrowly edged with white, occasionally flanked by variously developed black subdorsal stripe. If subdorsal is absent, then five or six black pinstripes above level of spiracles.’ – Wagner p. 388(1) Base color may also be tan, or purple and brown, especially in later instars.”  Your lovely red specimen lacks the dorsal stripe, and has that awesome yellow racing stripe up the side.  BugGuide also indicates:  “There has been significant discussion whether all these are the same species of Cucullia or not. Seems as though there may be several species that look very similar as larvae.  See Also  Cucullia postera, C.omissa, C. florea are likely to have similar caterpillars, according to Wagner.”

Thank you so much for taking the time to identify my caterpillar.  When I took the picture I thought it was so distinctive that it would be easy to identify.  Ha!  I’ve spent a lot of time on your site in the past few days and it’s awesome!  Thanks again!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination