The black and white sawfly is wasp-like, but this type of insect has larvae that act more like caterpillars.
The Dogwood Sawfly is black with a few, small, white markings, but the easiest to notice are at the tips of its antennae. A sawfly does not sting, though it is a type of wasp. Females have an appendage that has teeth like a saw blade, and they use it to cut slits into twigs or stems where they deposit eggs.
The larvae of this sawfly looks a lot like a caterpillar. It also eats like a caterpillar, feeding on the leaves of dogwood trees. The young larva is white with a yellow belly. Its body looks like it is covered in white lint or fuzz. The dark head has a powdery coat on it. As it ages, the fuzz disappears, and the smooth body retains its yellow belly. The top of the caterpillar, however, develops black squares that are criss-crossed with a thin white line. It may be seen in the company of its siblings, curled up in a small pile on a leaf. Look for these non-caterpillar larvae on dogwood leaves where they chew from the edges inward.
Scientific Name: Macremphytus tarsatus
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 22mm (0.78in to 0.86in)
Colors: black; white
Descriptors: white tip antennae; flying; white on body; bee; wasp; harmless
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Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.