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JC's Garden
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Wingless wasp in garden.

Over the last couple of weeks I've noticed wingless wasp in increasing numbers. I've only found them in one plot. They are on butter peas and Thai peppers. The whiteflies that were in this area have gone way down in numbers as the wasp population increased.
Question. The butter peas are done and need to be pulled up. Can I move the wasp to other parts of the garden by moving the pea plants with the wasp on them? Do they have nest somewhere or are they solitary predators with no real home base? I'd hate to move them and lose them. I try to take care of my good bugs.
2016-09-06 12.00.36.jpg
2016-09-06 11.57.52.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

Your "wingless wasp" looks like an ant to me:

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JC's Garden
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

Hi RG,

Your pic shows straight antennae, probably due to the angle of the shot. If you google "ant antennae" , you'll see elbowed antennae instead. It's an ant characteristic. Wasp have straight antennae. Every one of them I've seen in the garden is straight. I'm pretty sure they're a variety of Gelis wasp.

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!potatoes!
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

sorry if this is too much. i studied insects a fair amount in college, and ants in particular a lot.

regarding this insect being a wingless wasp: I'm not convinced. it's a characteristic of all hymenoptera (ants, wasps and bees alike) to have a bigger segment in the antennae close to the head, and then a chain of much smaller segments. many bees and ants hold them with an angle between the long (called the scape in ants) and the rest (the funiculus in ants), but not all. wasps have less difference in length of segment between scape and funiculus (if that's what the wasp people call them), but the scape segment is almost always (as is the case in all the pictures of Gelis spp. wasps from a search just now) much bigger/wider, or bulged. in your picture I'm seeing all antennal segments of near equal length and width, which immediately screamed 'not hymenoptera' to me....

in fact, that first one looks very like an ant-mimic bug in the order hemiptera. i could believe that the long straight bit just under the head is a few leg segments from the far side of the body, but to me it looks more like a set of piercing mouthparts, folded under. do a google image search for 'Hyalymenus', a fairly widespread genus of ant-mimics. note also that many also have that extra little set of spines on the back as are in your pic.

again, apologies if this was more depth than desired! sometimes i need a lot of words to call them as i see them!

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JC's Garden
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

!potatoes!

Please don't apologize. Tell me more.

I've never heard of ant mimic bugs. Are they friend or foe? Are they widespread or rare?
We have lost too many species on this planet to not protect those that are in decline.
I'm right in the middle of the fire ant belt but I've held them down to the point that native ants are returning to my yard.
My pollinators are all native to my area. No honey bees. I still get good pollination by protecting what I have.
I'm bug friendly. I don't use control methods unless they cross a certain damage threshold.
You've got me excited. I'll be out in the morning taking more pictures and trying for as exact an ID as I can get so I can learn about something new.

Thank you again.

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JC's Garden
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.


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!potatoes!
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

i think they're herbivores, so theoretically they may be foes, but i've got doubts that they do enough damage to be noticeable. a reference for one species i saw said 'nocturnal herbivores of plants in the daisy family' so they may be pretty host-specific.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

An in-depth description, yes. Overly? NO! I loved your explanation and was very glad to read it. I knew there were ant mimics, we have spider ant mimics here. But never heard the explanation made as beautifully and clearly as you made it. Thank you!

imafan26
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

I learned a lot about this bug too. I have never seen it. Thanks Potatoes, that was an excelent lessen.
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!potatoes!
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

aw, heck. thanks for the kind words, y'all. apology rescinded, i guess!

yeah, in general I'm pretty happy to geek out about bugs, i just don't want to clobber anyone with more taxonomy than they can stomach.

another interesting bit about Hyalymenus ant-mimics: at least one species has been so finely tuned into mimicry that as they molt and grow, their morphology changes just enough that they mimic a different ant species at each stage of development. the adults don't actually look that much like ants, but by then they've got functional wings, so guess they think they can give up the charade in favor of other defenses.

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applestar
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

Geek out and clobber us any time. Thanks !potatoes! :D
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!potatoes!
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

incidentally, and back on the original topic of wingless wasps, i caught one of these little beasts in the hoop house a few days ago ('cow killer' velvet ant - actually a wingless wasp):
Image
(not my picture)

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Dirt Man
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Re: Wingless wasp in garden.

!potatoes! wrote:incidentally, and back on the original topic of wingless wasps, i caught one of these little beasts in the hoop house a few days ago ('cow killer' velvet ant - actually a wingless wasp):
Image
(not my picture)

Red velvet ants worry me I have seen 7 this summer all in a period of about 10 days. If I saw 7 how many did I not see? I often crawl on my hands and knees and set in the garden on my butt picking beans and tomatoes I do not want to get stung.

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