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Five-banded Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum quinquecintum)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Five-banded Thynnid Wasp

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The parasitic Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is good news for flowers, but bad news for beetles.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This medium-sized yellow and black wasp is highly beneficial because it preys on a variety of beetles that destroy trees and flowers. Males have a pseudo-stinger at the tip of their abdomen, while females have the real thing. The wings of males are brown while female wings have an orange hue. The offspring of the Five-banded Thynnid Wasp is the generation that actively benefits plants. A female wasp lays a fertilized egg on a May Beetle larva while it is still buried in the ground. May Beetle larvae feed on the roots of plants, interrupting water and nutrient flow to the rest of the plant. This can lead to stress and death in young plants and grasses. The wasp larva hatches and immediately invades the beetle where it slowly eats it from the inside out, eventually killing it. The wasp larva then matures into adulthood in early summer. As is the case sometimes in nature, this wasp is, itself, a victim of one of its own kind. Velvet Ants, which are really wasps in disguise, eat Thynnid wasp larvae.

Adults drink nectar from flowers. They have caused minor leaf damage to trees, but not enough to harm the tree. This species can be found in gardens, meadows, fields, or on lawns.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Insect stinger icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Thynnidae
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          Genus: Myzinum
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            Species: quinquecintum

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Myzinum quinquecintum
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 35mm (1.18" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; yellow
Descriptors: long; flying; stinging

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 32.5mm
Hi: 35mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Five-banded Thynnid Wasp may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Five-banded Thynnid Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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