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

Subject: Huge wasp or hornet
Location: Update New York
August 17, 2013 1:53 pm
What on earth is this massive bug, and is the stinger really half the length of its body??
Signature: Almost stung

Pigeon Horntail Carnage

Pigeon Horntail Carnage

Dear Almost stung [not even],
This is a Pigeon Horntail, a type of Wood Wasp.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is the ovipositor of the female Pigeon Horntail which she drives into the wood of dead or dying trees to lay eggs.  The larvae are wood boring insects.  We are guessing by the grotesque and unnatural position of this dead Pigeon Horntail that it is a victim of Unnecessary Carnage.  In defense of your having mistaken the ovipositor for a stinger, the stingers of bees and wasps are actually modified ovipositors.  In some insects like solitary wasps, the stinger/ovipositor is multipurpose, but in social insects like Honey Bees, the sterile female workers can only sting since they are incapable of laying eggs.  We believe the chances of being stung by this Pigeon Horntail are next to nil, however, if the ovipositor can drive through wood, it might surely be capable of piercing the far softer human skin, but unlike sterile workers in social insect colonies which sting to protect the hive, Pigeon Horntails would have no instincts to protect their young, hence they are not aggressive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is it?
Location: Northampton, England
July 13, 2013 4:39 pm
can you identify this bug please
Signature: Donna

Wood Wasp

Great Wood Wasp

Dear Donna,
This is a harmless Great Wood Wasp,
Urocerus gigas, a species whose larvae bore in dead, generally coniferous wood.  See UK Safari for more information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown fly
Location: West end of Shebandowan Lake, Ontario
July 1, 2013 6:15 am
I’m pretty sure this is a fly, not a wasp or hornet. It landed on my camera lens hood near Shebandowan Lake in northern Ontario on June 30, 2013. Sunny and warm temperature. It appeared to be eating or licking something (sweat, oils?) off the lens hood. It stayed for at least 30 minutes until I finally nudged it and made it fly away.
Signature: Jeff Robinson

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Hi Jeff,
Despite its common name, the Elm Sawfly, Cimbex americana, is a non-stinging relative of bees and wasps and not a true fly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange hornet?
Location: Alger, WA
June 27, 2013 11:51 pm
This critter flew into my yard. Can you tell me what the heck it is??
Signature: Sunshine

Sawfly

Sawfly

Hi Sunshine,
Your name reminds us that we have spent far too much time at the computer updating the website and responding to questions this morning, and it is really time for us to enter the real world.  It is going to be sunny and hot in Los Angeles today.  This is a Sawfly, a member of the insect order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps and bees.  Unlike wasps and bees, Sawflies are incapable of stinging.  They can often be identified because of clubbed antennae.  Perhaps later in the day we will have an opportunity to do the research to properly identify the species of Sawfly you have submitted.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: European Sawfly larvae picture
Location: Summerside, PEI
June 27, 2013 10:11 am
Today we discovered that these little caterpillars decided to make a home in our lovely pine tree out front. A colony of around 100 little fellows has spawned into our tree, and we hope our tree can handle these hungry little critters!
Signature: Maria D

European Sawfly Larvae

European Sawfly Larvae

Hi Maria,
Thank you for submitting your photo of a European Sawfly Larvae,
Neodiprion sertifer, infestation.  Your photo is much clearer than the only other example in our archives.  Readers who want more information on this invasive, exotic species can turn to the Ohio State University Extension or the Penn State Extension websites.  According to BugGuide, the European Sawfly was first reported in North America in 1925.

European Sawfly Larvae

European Sawfly Larvae

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Long red winged bug with a long stinger
Location: 40°17′56″N 111°41′47″W
June 28, 2013 7:28 am
I found this cool looking bug today at work when I was unwrapping a pallet of wood. I do not believe it is from here in Utah since it was wrapped in the wood, and the wood comes from out of state. It is rather long, and has what I believe to be a long stinger. It was rather aggressive when I was trying to put it in a bag, kept trying to sting me.
Signature: Not sure

Horntail

Horntail

This is a Horntail.  Without knowing the origin of the wood, it is difficult to be certain, but we believe this looks like Xeris indecisus, which is pictured on BugGuide and is reported from California.  According to BugGuide, there are six species in the genus native to North America north of Mexico and “X. melancholicus is northern transcontinental, the rest are western.”  While Horntails are frequently called Wood Wasps and they are classified with wasps and bees, they are not known to sting humans.  The stinger is actually a modified ovipositor which the female uses to lay eggs, by inserting it into wood.  In stinging insects, the ovipositor serves dual purposes and it is considered to be a modified ovipositor.  It is conceivable that the ovipositor of a Horntail might penetrate human skin since it can penetrate wood which is much denser, however, Horntails are not aggressive.  It is possible that this individual was in the pupal stage when the wood was milled and it survived and emerged upon its arrival to Utah.

Thankyou very much. I will try and see if I can find out where our would is shipped from.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination