Currently viewing the category: "Wasps and Hornets"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ichneumon in Pacific Northwest
Location: Lacey, Washington (Southwestern Washington )
June 30, 2014 6:33 pm
Hello,
I used whatsthatbug.com to identify some new visitors to my front yard. After finding in your 2008 archives what appears to be the same wasp as I have, I would like to share some photos with you to share if you wish.
Signature: Lisa

Unidentified Ichneumon

Unidentified Ichneumon

Dear Lisa,
Thank you for sending additional images of this still unidentified Ichneumon from the Pacific Northwest.

Unidentified Ichneumon

Unidentified Ichneumon

Unidentified Ichneumon

Unidentified Ichneumon

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: wasp?
Location: Anchorage
June 29, 2014 4:45 pm
This appears to be a wood wasp…. bit the extra long stinger? Wood bore tool? Should I be looking fora nest? Dangerous to me or my dogs?
Signature: cautiously fascinated in Alaska

Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber

Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber

Dear cautiously fascinated in Alaska,
This is a Giant Ichneumon or Stump Stabber in the genus
Megarhyssa, not a Wood Wasp, however, the female Stump Stabber does use her lengthy ovipositor to lay eggs beneath the surface of wood that has been infested with the boring larvae of Wood Wasps, the only food upon which the developing larva of the Giant Ichneumon will feed.  They do not build nests as they are solitary parasitoids and they do not pose a danger to you or your dogs, though we admit that any ovipositor that can penetrate wood might be able to penetrate human skin, however, these Giant Ichneumons are not aggressive toward humans. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bee on Steroids?
Location: Los Angeles, CA
June 27, 2014 3:10 pm
I saw this bee-hemouth on a flower outside my home here in the Los Angeles area.
It was around 1.5 inches long.
Looks like a bee, but isn’t a bee. Any ideas?
Signature: Just Me

Female Scarab Hunter Wasp

Female Scarab Hunter Wasp

Dear Just Me,
Several years ago we encountered this magnificent species of Scarab Hunter Wasp in Elyria Canyon Park in Northeast Los Angeles and we identified it as a female
Campsomeris tolteca.  The species exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism.  Both males and females visit flowers, but only the female hunts for Scarab Beetle Grubs to feed her brood.  BugGuide states:  “According to Nick Fensler: The females Campsomeris as well as other members of the subfamily Campsomerinae are predators on white grubs (Scarabaeidae), using these larvae as food for their young. Unlike sphecids, eumenines, and pompilids these wasps do not appear to have any type of prey transportation and dig to the ground-dwelling beetle larvae, sting it to paralyze it, and then lay an egg. They may dig around the grub to form a small cell. Since they use this nesting strategy they are often seen flying low to the ground (searching) in a figure eight pattern (but the flight pattern gets more erratic when they “smell” something). The adults use nectar as a food source and are common on flowers.”.  You may also compare your images to these images on BugGuide.

Female Scarab Hunter Wasp

Female Scarab Hunter Wasp

Wow very cool! I think it looks more like the plumipes. Thanks so much!

According to BugGuide, Campsomeris plumipes is not found west of Colorado.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: flying bug
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
June 27, 2014 10:47 am
In our backyard we seen a flying bug with something green coming from its tail? The green was circular in shape.
Signature: Len

Stump Stabber laying eggs

Stump Stabber laying eggs

Hi Len,
This is a female Stump Stabber or Giant Ichneumon,
Megarhyssa atrata, and the eggs she lays will hatch into larvae that will feed upon and parasitize the larvae of Wood Wasps that are feeding beneath the surface.  Has you checked out our featured postings, you would have seen that the Stump Stabber is our Bug of the Month for July 2014.  The green membrane is part of the structure of the long ovipositor which allows the Stump Stabber to lay her eggs well below the surface of the bark.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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