Currently viewing the category: "Ichneumons"
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Subject: What’s yellow and black and has a long stinger?
Location: Singapore
April 7, 2014 10:57 pm
Hello!
I’m in Singapore and last night I looked down to find an insect crawling on my shoulder. (I was in bed, so…that was not fun.) It’s about the size of my thumb’s distal phalanx bone, and the stinger(?) looks quite long. Please help, I’m hoping it’s not a wasp!
Thanks for reading~
Signature: Jamie

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Jamie,
This is a Parasitic Wasp known as an Ichneumon, and for many years we claimed that Ichneumons did not sting.  What you have taken for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female Ichneumon.  We later learned that some Ichneumons are capable of stinging humans, but they are a rarity among the large number of members in the family.  According to BugGuide:  “arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”  As a side note, the stinger in bees and wasps is a modified ovipositor that has adapted to multitasking:  laying eggs as well as stinging potential threats.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the identification, and it’s good to know it’s unlikely to have stung me since it wasn’t that big! (I let it go later as well, so now I don’t have to feel too bad about letting a potentially harmful insect go around my place.) Also, huh, I always thought the stinger for bees/wasps was specifically for stinging. The more you know…!
Thanks again so much!
Cheers,
Jamie

Hi Jamie,
We should clarify one matter regarding the stingers of Bees and Wasps.  Generally, social species have a queen and workers with the workers being sterile females.  The stingers of the sterile, social workers, including Honey Bees and Hornets, only serves as a stinger.  In those cases, the modification that has evolved is no longer capable of multitasking.

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Subject: Winged bug with a hard exoskeleton
Location: Suburban Philly, PA
April 7, 2014 11:53 am
Hi bugman! I’ve seen several of these bugs since moving into my apartment in suburban Philadelphia in 2007, although I usually find them dead under the TV stand. This guy, and one of his relatives a few days before, were alive. His relative was on my screen door at night (attracted to the light, maybe?) and was a lighter yellow color, while this guy is darker and managed to make it inside to the front window. After I snapped this photo he started flying around torturing my cat, so I whacked him with a flip-flop (I’m sorry! I don’t usually kill) and he had an incredibly hard exoskeleton – all my weight didn’t kill him. If he’s not dangerous, I’m content to try and catch them and put them outside if I ever find any more. Do you know what he is? We’ve had typical spring weather for the last few days – cool at night, warmish and alternating between damp and sunny during the day. Some of them (not this guy, but others) look like th ey have a large stinger.
Signature: Colleen

Possibly Scorpionfly

Nocturnal Ichneumon

Dear Colleen,
We are not certain of the identity of this insect, but our best guess is a Scorpionfly or other member of the order Mecoptera.  It looks somewhat like this member of the family Panorpodidae that is pictured on BugGuide.  We will try to get another opinion.

Eric Eaton provides a correction
Daniel:
That is one of the nocturnal ichneumon wasps.  Not enough detail to place to subfamily, let alone genus, species.
Eric

Daniel,
Thank you SO much! A quick Google search of Ichneumon wasps makes me think Eric was right. Good to know that’s an ovipostor and not a stinger. Looks like my kitty cat is safe :) Again, thanks – I didn’t expect such a quick reply!
~Colleen

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Subject: Wasp???
Location: Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
March 23, 2014 10:11 am
Hi there. Attached is a picture of a wasp-like creature I found in my windowsill. I’ve never seen one before and a friend who lives nearby also found one in her house and has also never seen it before. We live in Whangarei, New Zealand which is in Northland (at the North of the North Island). We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a new immigrant.
Signature: Jana in New Zealand

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Hi Jana,
This is an Ichneumon, member of a group of Parasitic Wasps that prey upon Arthropods.  Many species of Ichneumons are very host specific, often preying upon a single species of Lepidoptera, Hemiptera or even one of the Arachnids.  Identifying the exact species of Ichneumon in the large and confusing family Ichneumonidae is a daunting task, but if you want to pursue that route, the Landcare Research site for New Zealand might be a good point of departure.

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Subject: Unknown wasp species?
Location: Shenandoah National Park (Madison, VA)
March 16, 2014 9:50 am
Hi there – we ran across this guy in the Shenandoah National Park in the state of Virginia, very near a small mountain stream. We tried to look around on the computer, but couldn’t find a definitive answer and the curiosity is pretty intense now ;). Any folks out there know what this is?
Thanks!
Signature: Curious Virginian

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Dear Curious Virginian,
The best we can provide for you at this time is a family name.  This is an Ichneumon Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae.  According to BugGuide, there are:  “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”  Even if we were able to locate a similar looking individual by browsing through BugGuide, it would most likely require an expert to definitively determine the correct species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Orange, nsw, Australia
February 20, 2014 4:25 am
Hi bug man, this flew into our house, i have never seen anything like it, could you please tell me what it is.
Signature: Tara

Crane Fly

Ichneumon

Hi Tara,
We believe this is a Crane Fly in the family Tipulidae.  There are some images on the Brisbane Insect site that look similar.

Correction
Subject: “Tipulidae” from Australia
February 22, 2014 11:52 am
Hi,
on Feb. Feb.20, 2014 “Tara” posted an isect from New South Wales, Australia.  You answered that this might be a crane fly / Tipulidae, but if you look at the wing venation it is evident that this insect does not belong to the Diptera at all, it’s Hymenoptera. It’ another parasitic Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae or Braconidae. You may compare the wing venation of a Tipulidae here: http://www.metafysica.nl/nature/insect/hennig1954_7.jpg
Kind regards Erwin
Signature: Erwin Beyer

Thanks Erwin.  Because of an earlier comment, we have already addressed this error, and we will add your comment to the posting.

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Subject: found this on m kitchen table
Location: Southern California
February 20, 2014 8:41 pm
my son was eating lunch when I noticed this little beauty on my table! It is about 1 inch long, tip of antenna to end of abdomen. Six legs, two sets of wings. So beautiful! I have never seen these in my area before!
Signature: BB

Ichneumon

Ichneumon

Hi BB,
This parasitic Ichneumon Wasp is in the subfamily Ophioninae and you may read more about them on BugGuide.  This is one group that is frequently attracted to lights, and though we generally inform our readers that Ichneumons are harmless, we learned several years ago that this group is known to sting.  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’.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination