Currently viewing the category: "Thread Waisted Wasps"

Subject:  Wasp/hornet identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Tacoma, Washington
Date: 07/31/2021
Time: 03:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This little guy had been flying around my yard, he’s about an inch long, at least twice the length of the honey bees, he’s pictured on oregano flowers that may help with size. He is long and thin, he seems to be alone.
How you want your letter signed:  Christine Payne

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Christine,
This is a Great Golden Digger Wasp, a solitary wasp that preys upon Katydids to feed its brood.  Great Golden Digger Wasps are found throughout the continental United States and they are not aggressive.

Subject:  Black Flying Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Upstate New York
Date: 07/20/2021
Time: 06:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Helli, We have these insects around our deck for the first time this year. We have lived here for 30+ years. Are they wasps, hornets or something else? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Susan

Common Blue Mud-Dauber Wasps

Dear Susan,
We believe these are Common Blue Mud-Dauber Wasps,
Chalybion californicum, which are pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “A large, active, blue-black wasp with irridescent blue wings. Frequents flowers for nectar and buildings for nest sites.” and “Females construct mud nests in sheltered areas, often under the eaves of buildings, and provision them with spiders.”  We suspect they are searching for mud near your deck for nest building.

Subject:  Orange Wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Massachusetts
Date: 07/11/2021
Time: 02:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Showing up on my milkweed plants. Seems very aggressive against other bees/wasps.
How you want your letter signed:  Vinny

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Vinny,
This is a Great Golden Digger Wasp and Daniel has been posting images of this species from his Los Angeles garden last month where they were nectaring from blooming onions.  The Great Golden Digger Wasp is a solitary wasp and they are not generally aggressive and they do not defend their nests.  The female feeds on nectar and milkweed is a marvelous nectar producing plant.  The female also hunts Katydids which she stings and paralyzes and then drags back to her nest where she lays an egg that will hatch into a helpless larva that will eat the paralyzed Katydid alive.  Great Golden Digger Wasps rarely sting humans, but the sting is likely quite painful.  She will only sting if threatened.  She would much rather save her venom for paralyzing Katydids than warding off predators, so she has aposomatic warning coloration (orange and black) and she moves in a jerky and attention getting manner to warn would be predators to avoid trying to eat or lest they encounter a painful sting to the mouth.

Thank you Daniel. This information will ease our minds in regards to potential bites as they are appearing in large numbers.

Subject:  What’s this wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Kingston Ontario Canada
Date: 07/06/2021
Time: 08:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a wasp that is helpful?
How you want your letter signed:  Hope Alberry

Yellow Legged Mud Dauber

Dear Hope,
This is a Yellow Legged Mud Dauber or Black and Yellow Mud Dauber,
Sceliphron caementarium, which is pictured on BugGuide.  This is a solitary wasp and solitary wasps rarely pose a stinging threat.  Social Wasps will often sting to protect the nest, but solitary wasps do not protect the nest.  The Yellow Legged Mud Dauber builds a nest from mud and is often seen near mud puddles.  According to BugGuide:  “nest is provisioned withNests are provisioned with spiders”.

Subject:  Great Golden Digger Wasp
Geographic location of the bug: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/15/2021
Time: 6:53 PM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
It has been several years since Daniel has seen a Great Golden Digger Wasp in the garden, but like in years past, they show a preference for blooming onions.  This was an impressive specimen, and Daniel hopes to be able to get a sharper image in the next few days.  There is a healthy Katydid population in Daniel’s garden, so the Great Golden Digger Wasps should have no problem hunting for prey to feed her brood.

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Update:  06/18/2021
The Great Golden Digger Wasp returned to the blooming onion flowers the next afternoon, and Daniel was lucky enough to capture one image with a Honey Bee.  The Honey Bee is a good indication of the size difference between the two insect, with the Great Golden Digger Wasp being about three times the size of the Honey Bee.

Great Golden Digger Wasp and Honey Bee

Update:  06/25/2021
Daniel has been seeing a Great Golden Digger Wasp visiting the onions almost every day and today there were two Great Golden Digger Wasps on one onion flower, but alas, by the time Daniel pulled his magicphone from his pocket and opened the camera app, changing the focal length to 2X to better zoom in, one had flown off.  Daniel was only able to get an image of a solitary Great Golden Digger Wasp.

Great Golden Digger Wasp


Subject:  Digging in the dirt!
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Nevada
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 03:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  While out to lay pavers in our yard we got to watch a fascinating insect we’d never seen before. We watched for some time as it dug in our soft dirt, buzzing in the hole, moving rocks (sometimes as large as it was!) and at one point it unearthed a grub of sorts! Biting it behind the head it held in… it didn’t appear to sting it, and eventually the grub ceased to move. For an hour we watched as our friend dig holes, and then moved on to another spot. On one hole we watched her start to fill it back in, going in to buzz excitedly, then back to digging. I have a couple of videos too, if you’re interested.
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Kristi Shaffer

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Dear Kristi,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the family Specidae, and the prey is a Cutworm.  The Wasp will not eat the Caterpillar.  Rather, the female Wasp has paralyzed the Caterpillar which it will bury and the paralyzed Caterpillar will provide food for the developing Wasp larva which will feed on the helpless, but living Caterpillar.  We believe we have correctly identified your Wasp as
Podalonia argentifrons thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are provisioned with caterpillars exclusively from the family Noctuidae.” 

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Thread-Waisted Wasp