With transparent wings and black and yellow bands, the Dogwood Borer is a great mimic of bees and wasps.
The first giveaway that this is not a bee are the dark veins and a black border around the large, see-through wings. This is actually a moth that is an excellent mimic. Its black thorax has two bright yellow stripes on it like a wasp would have, and its abdomen has yellow bands. The tip of the abdomen has a tuft of yellow and black hairs that resemble tail feathers. Look for adults from April through summer.
Caterpillars are known pests of trees, particularly of dogwood and pecan trees. They also use apple, birch, oak, willow, elm, chestnut, black cherry, and pine trees as hosts. They have brown heads and ivory-colored bodies. Two spots on the upper body may be present. After hatching, larvae crawl into tree bark and feed on the cambium layer of the tree. This is where water and nutrients flow up and down, so feeding habits destroy the tissue and can create knots, scars, and bark loss on the tree trunk. Birds like woodpeckers eat them, but if there are a number of larvae in the tree, the tree suffers. Management of the insect includes removing branches that may have been affected, preventing scrapes and injury to tree bark (via mower and trimmers), and insecticides (always use according to label instructions).
Scientific Name: Synanthedon scitula
Other Name(s): Pecan Borer
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 12mm (0.31in to 0.47in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.