Currently viewing the category: "Horntails, Wood Wasps and Sawflies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?! Mutated wasp?!?! Please help!
Location: Windsor, ON Canada
October 27, 2014 12:49 am
Hi there! I’m from Windsor, ON Canada and I was raking leaves in my front yard today and this peculiar, very big and scary bug had landed on my arm. I immediately jumped and swatted it off and it landed on a leaf at my feet… My sister and I took a closer look because it appeared to be stunned or discombobulated so we took the opportunity to snap some photos and examine it. I have never seen a bug such as this, it looks like a mutated wasp and it bothers me to think there are more out there like this… I’m confused because it is now autumn and chilly where I live and most of the bees and wasps are no longer flying around for the season. I would really like to know what bug this is! It appeared to have a stinger, as well as some sort of tail? It did have black and yellow alternating stripes, long yellow legs and it was around 2 inches I would say.
Signature: Thanks so much!! -Sonia

Pigeon Horntail

Pigeon Horntail

Dear Sonia,
This Pigeon Horntail, which is sometimes called a Wood Wasp, is related to wasps, though Pigeon Horntails do not sting.  The female Pigeon Horntail uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs in dead and dying trees.

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Subject: Catapillar identification
Location: Rochdale-manchester-England
September 27, 2014 6:09 am
At home I have at least half a dozen catapillars and am feeding them apple at the moment but I am unsure of the species that the catapillar is;consequent not being able to feed them ther favourite food.if you can reply as soon as that would be fantastic so I can understand what to feed them :) also the catapillar has an orange tail and blue body with a black and orange head ,it also has random black spots speckled over its body
Signature: Alex:L

Gooseberry Sawfly Larva

Willow Sawfly Larva

Dear Alex:L,
Though it looks like a caterpillar, this is not a caterpillar, but rather a Sawfly Larva.  We believe we may have correctly identified it as a Gooseberry Sawfly Larva,
Nematus ribesii, thanks to this image on FlickR.  According to DownGardenServices:  “The caterpillar-like larva is light green with black dots and a shiny, black head. If disturbed it clings to the edge of the leaf while bending into a S-shape. All of the leaves can disappear with only the stalks and a few veins remaining. Check any leaves beyond them and the larvae will be there, so they can be rubbed off.  The lack of foliage weakens the bush and it produces a very poor crop the following year.”  An even closer match is the Willow Sawfly, , which is pictured on PBase and Wikimedia Commons.

 

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Subject: Large wood boring bug with oviduct
Location: Syracuse in
September 1, 2014 12:19 pm
We found this large black an yellow striped winged bug with oviduct …any thoughts
Signature: Mary b

Pigeon Horntail

Pigeon Horntail

Hi Mary,
This is a Pigeon Horntail, a species of Wood Wasp.  The egg laying organ is an ovipositor.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Any ideas what this is?
Location: Buffalo, NY
August 17, 2014 9:10 pm
Does anyone have a clue what this flying bug is? Not sure if it came from the pine logs I was cutting but it also appears to have a stinger
Signature: Nick

Black and Red Horntail

Black and Red Horntail

Dear Nick,
Though we have no shortage of other Horntails on our site, including the Pigeon Horntail, this is the first example we are posting of a Black and Red Horntail,
Urocerus cressoni.  Horntails are Wood Wasps and the larvae bore in wood of dead and dying trees.  According to BugGuide:  “hosts include Fir, Spruce, and Pine (Abies, Picea, Pinus).”  

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Subject: Curious Large
Location: Hastings, MI
August 17, 2014 9:51 am
Hi,
My mom and I found this bug on a dead tree stump where there are a ton of Stump Stabbers around. The next day I found it dead on another area of the stump. I didn’t think it was a wasp since it does not have the separated thorax. It is a bit scary since it was so big, but I’m just wondering what it is since my 13 year old daughter has more curiosity than what is good for her.
Signature: Nervous Mom

PIgeon Horntail

PIgeon Horntail

Hi Nervous Mom,
You have no need to fear this Pigeon Horntail, because even though it is a Wood Wasp, they do not sting.  The female uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the surface of dead and dying trees and the larvae are wood borers.  Interestingly, the presence of Stump Stabbers makes perfect sense as the larvae of Stump Stabbers parasitize the larvae of Pigeon Horntails.  This particular female did not mature properly as her wings appear to have atrophied.

Thanks Daniel,
That is so incredibly interesting.  We see the Stump Stabber’s all the time but have never seen the Pigeon Horntail there.  We are around this stump all the time (it is huge) since my herb garden surrounds a small portion of it.  Now we don’t have to be afraid.
Thanks again,
Jenn

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Subject: Caterpillars on a red-twig dogwood
Location: Chester County, PA
August 12, 2014 10:17 am
While working with a client in their garden yesterday, I noted these caterpillars on a Cornus sericea (red twig dogwood) shrub. I have not seen these before, and would like to know what they are. Fortunately, the clients were just as curious, and willing to “live and let live”, especially as there was very little foliage damage. This is in southeastern Pennsylvania, photo taken August 11, 2014.
Thank you!
Signature: The Gardening Coach

Dogwood Sawflies

Dogwood Sawflies

Dear Gardening Coach,
Though they are easily mistaken for caterpillars, these are actually the larvae of Dogwood Sawflies,
Macremphytus tarsatus, and they are members of the order Hymenoptera that includes wasps, bees and ants.  According to BugGuide:  ” Young larvae are covered with a powdery white waxy coating. Mature larvae are yellow beneath with black spots or cross-stripes above.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination