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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/large flying insect resembling a wasp

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Question
An approximately 3" flying insect was bumping against my picture window for several minutes this afternoon.  It resembled a huge wasp, but nothing I have ever seen before.  In fact I think it was larger than 3 inches.  It was scary looking.  I have lots of wasps and yellow jackets around the house but have never seen anything like this ever (I am 73).

Answer
Casey:

Without seeing at least an image of the insect in question, I can't offer a responsible guess as to its identity.  That said, cicada killers should be active now, and that could very well be what you saw:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/514

Even the males are very large.  Males tend to be aggressive in defending their territories, but they are not anatomically capable of stinging.

Hope this helps.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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