Subject: What the … Is this?
Location: Maryland USA
May 24, 2016 7:54 pm
I’ve seen wasps and crane flies. This seems to be closer to a wasp. When I tried to be sparing and set it free it attempted to sting me numerous times while not being able to break the skin it seems. It got back inside and brought family ( see photo 2) there does seem to be a stinger on them. I did in fact kill them both. Only get one shot in my house unless your a spider, then you get none. Anyways, do you have any idea of what this is? If you have some photo reference if greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
Signature: Chris Joy
We are very curious about your mini-guillotine, because we cannot fathom how you have managed to kill these two Ichneumon Wasps by removing their heads but otherwise leaving their bodies intact. Most wasps in the family Ichneumonidae, probably the largest family on earth with the most individual species, are perfectly harmless, but members of the subfamily Ophioninae is capable of stinging. According to BugGuide: “Females have a very compressed abdomen and a short, very sharp ovipositor. The ovipositor can penetrate the human skin; most other ichneumons can’t ‘sting’.” BugGuide also notes: “Most species are crepuscular or nocturnal, some diurnal. They are known to come to lights.” These Ichnuemons are solitary, and they did not conspire together to enter your home. We suspect they were attracted to lights. When folks write to us about stinging Crane Flies, we suspect they have confused them with members of this subfamily.