Hi there. My wife won’t squash most bugs; she captures the critters and tosses them outside. Yesterday she thought she was saving a crane fly, but when she cupped it in her hand, whatever it was gave her a nice sting. Later in the day I found it and took its picture. Unfortunately, the process seems to have sent it to its final reward. I’m attaching the mugshots. Can you identify it? Thanks.
Topanga, CA

Hi Russ,
We thought this looked like an Ichneumon, but had never heard of them stinging. So, we wrote to Eric Eaton and he wrote back with this surprising reply: “Yes to both! It IS an ichneumon, probably in the Ophionini tribe, and they are among the few ichneumons capable of stinging. I had been under the impression that NO ichneumons could sting, but that is WRONG. Some apparently paralyze their host caterpillars long enough to drive an egg into them. Goes to show that I’m still learning basic information myself. Eric”

13 Responses to Stinging Ichneumon

  1. susan says:

    it looks a lot like what stung me, i thought it was a crane fly(mosquito eater) i went to put it out side and it stung my arm, my problem is the sting site keeps swelling back up and re opening…. was it the same thing?

    • bugman says:

      We have been getting reports of some species of Ichneumons that are capable of stinging. We still maintain that Crane Flies are perfectly harmless.

  2. Finbar says:

    Saw one of these tonight in cork ireland, I have never seen anything like it before. I knew it wasnt a crane fly it had a nasty looking stinger

  3. Barbara says:

    October 22 in central New Jersey. Just grabbed what I thought was a Crane Fly by the wing to fling it outside, and got stung on my fingertip. Ow! No mark, no swelling, but the finger feels warm. It must have been this Ichneumon. I have no photo, but I remember before I picked it up I thought it was kind of creepy-looking for a Crane Fly — its abdomen wasn’t straight but swollen-looking, wider toward the tip, like an elongated teardrop shape; and its wings were broader and shorter than usual. Still, I didn’t pay attention to whatever my instinct was trying to tell me — after all, I’m not afraid of no creepy-looking bugs! Next time I’ll know better!

    • L. Yarma says:

      I had this EXACT experience just now… (albeit two years later, 9th September, 5pm-ish, and in England. But, you know…) XD

  4. John P says:

    My wife was stung tonight…I never really paid very close attention to the difference of the two, Crane Fly vs Ichneumons. It is definitely more orange in color, and definitely stings. Guess it pays to know our insects, so when we choose to help a Crane Fly out of our house, we indeed must make sure that is what it is.

    • bugman says:

      A close examination will reveal a fundamental difference: Crane Flies have two wings and Ichneumons have four wings.

  5. Genevieve Snow says:

    This is Netelia sp., tribe Phytodietini, you can tell by comparing the wing veins.

  6. Rebecca Hickcox Palacios says:

    I believe I was stung by one of these and the spot where it stung me is now huge and swollen and very itchy, now that I know what it is, will be watching out for them from now on!

  7. Nicky says:

    My daughter was just stung by something like this. I have a photo but don’t know how to upload it. Just want to make sure it’s nothing venomous. This one had barb like hairs on its legs

  8. Katherine says:

    I appreciate this site! While rescuing a ‘crane fly’ from the house I was stung/bit by it. Pretty painful. I noticed it looked a little different and began researching. So glad to find this site!
    Fort Worth, TX, 3/15/21.

  9. Ken MacGillivray says:

    Just been bitten/stung by this short tailed ichneumon. Surprised, having thought it was a crane fly, managed to catch it prior to throwing it out of the window. Don’t like wasps at the best of times! Didn’t think we got these things in the UK!

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