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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Wasp Wednesday: Netelia??

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Question
Red Wasp
Red Wasp  
Hi I am from the South Australia and recently had these little waspy things buzzing around my porch and coming inside towards my light. I have a kitty who loves to try and catch them.

Is this picture a Wasp Wednesday: Netelia? if not what is it and are they dangerous to my cats, or me. and why on earth are they coming in on a night time attracted to the light? Do I have something that is attracting them? ould really love to hear how I can deter them, or if they are friendly and god for some part of my garden, then keep them coming.

Kim

Answer
Hi, Kim:

Thanks for including the nice image with your question.

It is definitely a female ichneumon wasp, but I have no idea which species you have in Australia.  I suspect they are nocturnal because the caterpillars they are parasites of are *also* active at night.

At least some of the nocturnal ichneumons *can* sting, but unless you physically grab one, you won't get stung.  Even then, the sting is weak, a little painful, but otherwise not anything life-threatening or anything.

Hope this puts your mind at ease.  I'm sure you garden is thriving because you are respectful of all the creatures living in it :-)

Thank you so much for following my blog, too!  I hope to get to Australia at some point, to visit friends I know through Project Noah, and see all the wonderful wildlife there.

Sincerely,

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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