What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you tell me what kind of bug this is?
August 10, 2009
Just got back from a camping trip in Teller County Colorado and this bug landed on my leg. I have searched high and low on the web for pics of this insect.
Please help, Thanks Jon and Family
Colorado

Giant Wood Wasp

Giant Wood Wasp

Dear Jon and Family,
This is a Giant Wood Wasp, Urocerus gigas.  It is also called the Greater Horntail Wasp or the  Yellow Horned Horntail.  According to BugGuide:  “Range Introduced, originally from Europe and Asia.  Habitat  Attacks five or more genera of Pinaceae  Remarks  It tunnels in wood. One of the most dangerous pests of conifers. We will be tagging your post as an Invasive Exotic.

Correction:  August 12, 2009
Not an invasive exotic wood wasp
Daniel
I was certain that U. gigas the exotic form has yet to be established here in the US.  Upon discussion with our entomologist he is positive it is Urocerus gigas flavicornis (Fabricius) which is a native subspecies.  Colorado is just one of the states that it can be found.   You had me worried there for a minute.  Our cups runith over with exotics as it is like Sirex noctillio.  Great work as always and glad to see you folks have links to get in touch with the proper agencies that handle exotic invasive pests.  I encourage your readers to become aware of exotic invasive pests, report new finds and help protect our resources.
Can’t wait to see your book
Thanks
Brian
Brian.Sullivan@aphis.usda.gov

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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24 Responses to Giant Wood Wasp

  1. LeBunny37 says:

    This giant wood wasp is in Olympia, WA too. Icky bug. My son went camping and brought it home today. I love internet. =D

  2. tamihangstefer says:

    We have these wood wasps in Alaska too. They seem to like to live around the mud.

  3. paulstewart10 says:

    hi all, was just searching to see if i could recognise a wasp i found and it seems to be a greater woodwasp, i live in just outside Dungannon, in co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. can anyone tel me if theese wasps are native to the UK or is this one that got lost.
    Thanks, Paul

  4. Woodwasp says:

    I’ve been looking for this for years. We had one of these things in our Garden Center (at a DIY store, IN THE UK) back in 2003/4. THE WORST Wasp I’ve ever seen!!.

  5. Nick Mc says:

    I found One of these in Ireland last week 10/08/2012
    We were in Lavally, just outside Tuam North of Galway.
    We were cutting trees in a pine forest when one flew at us I batted it away and that was it so I thought.
    The next day down at the house where we moved the logs to a large was as in the picture was buzzing around, as it was so different I wanted to catch it so I gave it a almighty dose of fly spray. After the third dose I got it into a bottle and asked many locals including farmers and gardeners and no one had seen one before.
    Thanks to the web I now know what we caught.
    How dangerous are they?
    Why in Ireland?
    Thanks for reading my waffle.
    Nick

  6. Just found a giant wood in my girls back garden in belfast

  7. merissa says:

    they are in Colfax Washington too I never seen them before. are they deadly if stung

  8. Lindsay says:

    Found one of these in my yard in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Had never seen one before and was quite alarmed by it’s size and the size of the apparent stinger?

    • Nick McLeish says:

      It loos like it could give a nasty sting but it is actually a protective cover for its Ovipositor which is how it lays its eggs into decaying wood.
      It leaves little 1/2 mm holes like wood worm, after time I do not know how long the new wasp appears leaving a hole up to 5mm.
      If you go onto you tube you will see films of it laying its eggs, that is why people get so close to take pictures as its attached to the wood for a few minutes.

  9. Nick McLeish says:

    I posted last year that we had seen a Giant wood wasp in Ireland last summer 2012

    Well we have been back to Levally Galway Ireland this summer 2013 and have seen more of the Giant Wood wasp.

    The strange thing is when we have shown our pictures or described it to the locals nobody has ever seen one.

    They are big and I have found they are silent in flight.

    I did get a couple of pictures of one and through research on the internet found out that the sting looking thing is part of its abdomen and is there to protect the Ovipositor which it drops down at 90 degrees to its body penetrates the wood and lays it eggs through. It leaves a small hole which looks like wood worm. I believe then after time the new wasp emerges and leaves a hole up to 5MM.

    Amazing to watch as it lays its eggs especially when it pushes itself right up to get the ovipositor out of the wood.

    Have a look on You Tube for other peoples postings, one man actually has one on his hand.

    NIck

  10. Al H. says:

    We have a live maple tree in our front yard and it has about 5 to 10 on it all the time. They are in various stages of laying eggs. The interesting thing is that they seem to die when they are drilled into the tree. There are about 4 or 5 dead ones still hanging on the tree with the ovipositor still stuck in the tree. They look like they are standing up against the tree. Right now there are about 3 crawling around on the tree testing it ( I suppose like a soft spot) . They ave been on the tree for the last three to four days. This is in S.W. Minnesota and it is September 11, 2013. They look very mean. This one has about 7 yellow rings on the body. They seem to have 4 wings (2 pair). I have one in a bottle to observe it. I will release it later.

  11. Dave Malone says:

    One of these landed on me yesterday, scared the hee-bee-gee-bees outta me. I’m located near Louisville Ky. Looks like my Irish Ancestors could of told me what it was. Took most of today to find out what it was

  12. BWHall says:

    We found a giant wood wasp here in Michigan. It was trying to get in my house.
    Thanks to this website, i now know what it is.

  13. John says:

    We have them in south central Alaska….and they do bite…thru very heavy clothing. And they hurt as badly as their looks indicate.
    They are aggressive up here, and will constantly attack until killed.
    My wife was oiling a deck and I had to stand guard with an electric swatter (like a badminton raquet) and killed a dozen or more in less than 30 minutes.
    Dry summers mean trouble as they multiply very effectively in dry summers.

  14. Carla says:

    These have been spotted in my garden too, UK!

  15. Joseph Alberico says:

    I have one of these wood wasp’s in my yard Mohawk n y

  16. SA says:

    Found one in north-central Maryland August 2014. First we’d ever seen.

  17. Chris says:

    Have a bunch of these in my backyard. Here in the Bronx in New York . Couldn’t believe how huge the stingers are on these things. Thanks to your site i was finally able to identify what looked like an ancient creature flying around my yard

    • bugman says:

      What you have mistaken for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female. In stinging insects like bees and wasps, the ovipositor is modified into a stinger.

  18. Nick says:

    Have a look at this. More on Youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww8Qu_TlfCg

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