CLOSED: This is a baby...

Birmingham, AL(Zone 7b)

But a baby what? This is much smaller than the others, had one huge one flying around the back yard (well assumed it was only one that kept coming back at the time) but couldn't get it to stay still long enough to get a pic. Now there are hundreds swarming all around my yard, chasing each other (and me, aggressive buggers) and swarming under my porch. This is a picture of a baby, the adults are 75% larger. Some kind of wasp I take it, but none of us had ever seen one anything near this large. Does anyone know? Maybe I'm in Texas and didn't know it (everything is larger in Texas). :-) ID appreciated.
(edited to correct grammar - my DH is talking about getting a CANISTER of something to put down by them - and shooting it to ignite from across the yard - he's not one to scare easy but these things are MEAN & BIG!)

This message was edited Jul 28, 2006 2:40 PM

Thumbnail by justdeb
Clearwater, FL(Zone 9b)

Has anyone been stung?

If not, it's possible they're not wasps, but somebody in the family of "Hover Flies" -- they're harmless, but they mimic bees/wasps in color and flight behavior. http://www.cirrusimage.com/Flies_hover.htm

Or it's a wasp of some sort. ;)

This message was edited Jul 28, 2006 4:29 PM

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

That's Sphecius speciosus a.k.a. "cicada killer". Considered harmless unless provoked, these guys prey on, you guessed it, cicadas. :-)

http://bugguide.net/node/view/60261

This message was edited Jul 28, 2006 6:02 PM

Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

That is great! Can we have it entered into the BugFiles please!
http://davesgarden.com/bf/

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Sphecidae
Genus: Sphecius
Species : speciosus
and Common Name: Cicada Killer

of course with your lovely photo

Birmingham, AL(Zone 7b)

Thank you! I uploaded pics, but the bug was already entered. The lady from the extension office called me an hour or so after I posted. She told me what it was, but couldn't understand why there were so many. She indicated that they airate the soil and the adults eat nectar, capture cicadas to paralyze and drag to the nest with their egg. Overall, not a bad bug and one the she said she typically considers a keeper in the yard. The fact that there were more than 100 really baffled her. They do not live in hives or colonies. They are solitary. She said she'd never heard of so many all in one place. And, boy where they were mad! Typically they are rather docile and will ignore you, only provoke if the nest is threatened.

On the far side of the house, with the house between the "swarm" they were thick enough that they literally knocked over my glads. The exterminator arrived to assess and quickly proclaimed he'd never seen them swarm, nor had he ever seen them so large. He indicated that he thought that these must be some type of hybrid, but I suspect they've just had good eats around my yard and fattened them up.

Oh, the young feast on the cicado prisoner, the adults eat nectar, much like a hummingbird. In fact, after the hoopla died down, one wandered over to my hummingbird feeder and I had to look twice to realize it wasn't a baby hummingbird.

We do not know what provoked him, the extension office speculated maybe it was the weather (storm was blowing in) the exterminator found some cow killers wandering around the ground by the nests and several red wasps mixed in with the swarm. My lucky day. LOL.

Thanks for all the help and info! Y'all are great!

Pocahontas, TN(Zone 7b)

JustDeb,

Welcome to the South where just about anything can and will happen.

Judy

Birmingham, AL(Zone 7b)

I love it here! :-)

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