Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
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Subject: Wasp ?
Location: Victoria BC Canada
June 26, 2014 10:13 pm
I have a group of these flying around one section of my property. They look like wasps, but are much thinner and longer. They hover low to the ground, seeming to fly in circles, and dont seem to be going to a ‘ nest ‘ that I can see. They also do not seem to be aggressive like the other pesky wasps…yet. They have been hovering in the same area now for just about a week
Are these a threat to my Pets, and what are the advantages / disadvantages to them and how do I get rid of them.
Thanks
Signature: Randie Ruckle

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Randie,
In 2008, we posted some images that were identified as Ichneumons, members of a family of wasps that parasitize other insects and sometimes other arthropods, but as it is a very large family, we never drilled down to the species level.  Recently there has been a flurry of comments from the Pacific Northwest to that posting including reports of stings or bites, and since you have provided us with new images, we have decided to see if we are able to properly identify this Ichneumon and provide any relevant information.
  This may take some time, but we will work on it.  Your Ichneumons seem to resemble members of the tribe Ichneumonini based on BugGuide images, but they might be in a different tribe.  BugGuide states:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed; arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates,” and they do have an extensive archive of Ichneumons.   Pouring through it will take some time.  If the information we have provided leads you to an identification before we get back to you, please give us an update.

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Update:  We did locate a matching image on Island Nature devoted to Vancouver Island, but it is not identified.

Thanks so much for the info.
I think my concern is there are alot of them in that section. I would say about 50 at least, all hovering ( flying )  just about ground level. From what I have read in Wiki, they ae supposed to be solitary.  There does not seem to be a ” nest ” that I can see them going to. The area is about 10 x 20 feet, give or take, that they are congregating in.  I dont really want a group of stinging insects around with my 2 19 year old dogs and my indoor/outdoor cat.
Thanks again. Any info is great !
R

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  This is not the first time Megarhyssa atrata has been featured as Bug of the Month.

Subject: Female Megarhyssa Atrata
Location: St Paul, MN
June 25, 2014 9:13 am
After finding your great web site I learned the name of the bug in my back yard. They were on a tree we were cutting down. Because it seemed to be laying eggs I decided to leave the stump for a while. Attached are some photos you may use. It is interesting to me that I have never noticed these before.
Signature: DS in MN

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs!!!

Dear DS in MN,
Thank you for your most kind compliment.  The ovipositing female Giant Ichenumon or Stump Stabber, 
Megarhyssa atrata, is one of the most iconic North American insects and her image has been used to illustrate even really early entomological tomes as well as many popular insect books with broad appeal to popular culture.  Your images are stunning, especially the first one that depicts two individuals.  Just exactly what is going on in that image is most curious.  The tangle of bodies makes it appear that both females are trying to oviposit in the same location.  The female Giant Ichneumon is able to detect the location of the larva of a Wood Wasp that is feeding beneath the surface.  The larvae of Wood Wasps like the Pigeon Horntail will serve as the prey of the larval Stump Stabber.   We have designated your submission as the Bug of the Month for July 2014.

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

Megarhyssa atrata ovipositing

A large Stump Stabber can have an ovipositor nearly five inches long, and one of your images captures the classic position of a female looping the organ as she drills beneath the bark to deposit her egg where the young will have a food source.

One, impressive organ:  five inch ovipositor

One, impressive organ: five inch ovipositor

Update:  June 26, 2014
Dear Daniel Marlos,
I just had to write one more time. The first set of photos I sent were of the first time I had seen a flying insect of its kind, today I went to see if they were still on the stump, I found a new type. See attached photos. The first photo is from my phone. The second and fourth photos capture an ant crawling -shows size a little better. I am excited to show these, I hope you can use them.
Thanks
Dan
P.S. There were ovipositing female Megarhyssa strata remains (wings and part of a tail) left on the stump! I guess a bird had a good snack.

Megarhyssa macrurus

Megarhyssa macrurus

Wow, what a wonderful addition to the Bug of the Month posting.  Your new Ichneumon is most likely Megarhyssa macrurus, and you can compare your images to those on BugGuide.  Your observation and speculation about the bird is a very good guess.  The female Giant Ichneumon is quite vulnerable while her ovipositor is buried deep in the wood, and she would not be able to easily fly away from a predator.  We have also heard of female Giant Ichneumons getting stuck and being unable to withdraw the ovipositor.

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

Female Stump Stabbers laying eggs

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Looks like a crane fly but not sure?
Location: Denver, CO
June 8, 2014 7:28 am
What is this interesting looking insect? My mother in law found it in our backyard and stepped on it but it didn’t die just broke off most of the wings. We aren’t really sure what it is but someone said it looked like a crane fly. I couldn’t find any pictures of crane flies with the crazy long stinger things like this so that’s why we aren’t sure.
Thanks,
PS. We found it June 7, 2014
Signature: LW

Stump Stabber Carnage

Stump Stabber Carnage

Dear LW,
This magnificent parasitoid is a Giant Ichneumon commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female inserts her substantial ovipositor into dead or dying wood that has been riddled by the wood boring larvae of a Wood Wasp.  Though you were uncertain of the identity of the Stump Stabber when you first encountered it, and though it might appear quite frightful if one imagines that the ovipositor is a stinger, we are nonetheless tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage as we believe the Stump Stabber to be a beneficial insect.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange Black Bug In My Backyard
Location: South-Central Ontario, Canada
June 6, 2014 6:41 pm
Hi Bugman,
I saw this bug in my backyard just before dark on June 6th. Never seen one like it before. It’s about 2 inches long, winged, black, with three distinct white spots on it’s side and yellowish legs and antennae.
Unfortunately due to the lack of light I was unable to get a really clear picture of it. Any help in identifying it, or at least narrowing down the possibilities, would be appreciated.
Thank You.
Signature: Laura Jean

Elm Sawfly, we believe

Elm Sawfly, we believe

Hi Laura Jean,
the image is quite blurry.  it might be an elm sawlfy
http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2013/07/01/elm-sawfly-13/

Thanks Daniel :)
Wow, you’re good. Looking at the other images, it definitely is an elm sawfly. I really didn’t think you’d be able to identify it so quickly and accurately with such a poor photo. It was the best I could do bending over a drain spout with a flashlight in one hand and my iPad in the other, trying not to get too close since it did kind of look like a wasp, while at the same time trying to watch for skunks. I wanted to get at least one shot before it was gone and I didn’t have anything handy that I could catch it with. (I don’t touch bugs with bare hands.)
I just wanted to be sure it wasn’t some kind of foreign invader that would be cause for concern, since I’ve never seen one before.  Good to know there is nothing to worry about.
Thank you,
Laura

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown (to me) bug
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
June 12, 2014 4:21 pm
Hey there,
I was walking in the woods near my house and I came across this bug. I’ve never seen a bug like this before, and I’m curious to find out what it is. A friend of mine suggested that it was a mahogany wasp, but I don’t think this is quite right because the wings are clear, it’s more of a bright red, and the bottom didn’t seem to have a stinger. I hope you’ll be able to tell me what it is, thanks!
Signature: Louisa

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Louisa,
This is some species of Ichneumon, a member of one of the largest insect families on the planet.  Ichneumons are parasitic on other insects and arthropods.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Never seen before
Location: Ohio
June 9, 2014 8:43 pm
This is an odd bug I have never seen flying around before. It looked like it was trying to drill into a stump the other day when it was noticed. If you know what this is and if it’s dangerous, an answer would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Aly

Stump Stabber

Stump Stabber

Dear Aly,
Your inquiry is perfectly timed since we have just posted an image of two males Stump Stabbers which we believe are awaiting the emergence of a female.  This is a Stump Stabber, a female Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa and she is laying eggs.  The eggs will hatch into larvae that feed on the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps, like the Pigeon Horntail.  Stump Stabbers are beneficial and not considered dangerous.  They are not aggressive and we have never heard of anyone being pierced by the impressive ovipositor, which can be as long as five inches.  It is designed to lay eggs, not to sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination