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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/flying insect identification


Location: metro Detroit, MI. I have been watching for insects because I believe something is nesting in a wall of my house (hear occasional buzzing and activity)but I have not been able to locate where or who is going in and out. A large insect was flying around and landing on the red brick wall of my porch around 4:30 pm in a sunny area. Its body is medium reddish-brown and the wings seem to reflect blue. When standing the legs are away from its body. I picked up a plant saucer to try to trap it and exposed an extra large spider. The insect got the spider and dragged it about 20 feet up the wall of the house and around to the back of the chimney. The insect looks pretty sturdy with a large head. Behind the head is a body section of the same color and about the same size. The wings are attached to the next section and are dark blueish-black. This section of the body is the longest and tapers at the end. I have some photos but do not see a way to attach them. When I first saw it through the window, I thought it was a flying ant. After getting a better look, I am guessing it is a type of wasp and wondering if this could be the type of insect living in the wall. Can you help?

Hi, Bruna:

I know there is a way to attach images because I often receive them with questions....

Ok, first, I cannot answer to what may or may not be living inside the walls of your home.  I'd have to see an image, or inspect your home myself.  However, if it was some kind of social wasp or honey bees, you would be noticing much traffic.  So, I would not be too concerned at this point.

The other insect that caught the spider (how wonderful that you got to witness that, not many people do) is indeed a wasp, a member of the family Pompilidae (spider wasps).  I can't tell you what species, but there are a few large ones that live in your area.  Each female is solitary, and nests in a burrow or a pre-existing cavity.  Once she deposits the spider, she lays an egg on it, seals the entrance to the burrow or hole, and leaves.  No more coming-and-going after that.

Should you be unable to attach an image with a follow-up question, please feel free to e-mail me at:  bugeric247ATgmailDOTcom.  Put in the subject line that your e-mail is in reference to a prior AllExperts conversation.  Thank you.

Hope this puts your mind at ease.  Solitary wasps are not at all aggressive, so no worries about them.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


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.


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.

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.

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

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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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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