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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Monday - September 08, 2008

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Giant black and yellow wasp
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Elgin, Bastrop County. This Aug/Sept. 2008 has revealed a huge black and yellow striped wasp. What is this creature and where does he come from? I'm a native Texan (Austin County) and have never seen such a frightening wasp. By the way, last summer I had numerous red wasp and yellow jackets, this summer they have been replaced by this MEGA wasp.

ANSWER:

There are any number of insects, both true wasps and insects that look like or mimic wasps that might be the bug you're describing.  We do not know what you have.  We recommend contacting your county Extension Service agent.  They might well have received other calls like yours and will know immediately what you're seeing.  If not, they might want to investigate, especially if there is evidence of an agricultural or other economic problem associated with the insects.

If possible, catch one of more specimens in a jar for inspection.  If you have good photographic equipment, close-up photographs might prove very helpful for an entomologist to help you identify your mystery insect. 

 

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