My friend and I both saw a bright red fuzzy insect on the ground. Never saw anything like it before! She thinks it's an ant, but I think it's a wasp. What say you?
Red velvet ants are wasps, but the females are wingless and that's why they look like ants darting about on the ground. The adult males have wings but no red hair like the females. Males also can't sting, but the females pack quite a wallop, earning them the nicknames of "cow-killer" and "mule-killer." Most of the body is black, but in the insect world red coloring means danger, and they aren't kidding. This solitary native wasp lays its eggs in the pupa of other insects, especially
I have something that looks like a bagworm on my cherry laurel, but it can't be a bagworm because they feed on needled evergreens. I'm sending you a photo through your HGIC website so you can identify it.
It's a bagworm, all right. Bagworms will branch out to other plants occasionally, usually only one or two here and there. We've even seen them on lamp posts and hanging from house gutters. That's usually later in the season when they don't need to eat and the "worm" inside the bag, if it's a male, will be metamophasizing into a moth, and the female (which can't fly) is awaiting his visit. Pull all bagworms off your tree and drown them in soapy water. One of our callers fashioned a nifty bagworm-bagging device from a pole with a paperclip on the end to snare the high bags he couldn't easily reach. Callers with yearly infestation should read our bagworm publication online and get a jump on them next year.
University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at hgic.umd.edu.
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