Somky Horntail, Northwest Pacific Coast
We discovered what my son and I believe to be a Smoky Horntail in my Lacey (Olympia), WA home on 15 February, 2006. She is pictured in a Gerber baby food jar with a moist paper towel and a bit of honey. She is about to visit Mountain View Elementary School with my son Luke to share with his class. She is about 1 inch and was battered about by my cat, Oliver. I Googled your excellent site and thought that this my contribute to your collection. It seems that the Smokey variety of Horntail Wasps is less represented to the Pigeon. I referenced her in the *National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (Audubon Society Field Guide) page 805, plate 477. Thank you for your service.
CJ

Hi CJ,
We are happy to post your letter and photo. The Smoky Horntails, genus Urocerus, are most commonly found in the western US and Canada especially where timber has been left on the ground. When Eric Eaton noticed this posting, he wrote in the following correction: “the horntail wasp is not a Urocerus, but is likely Xeris spectrum. A friend, who is an expert on the family, ID’d one for Bugguide recently, or I’d have never known, either. Eric” Eric’s comment then lead us to this site.

One Response to Wood Wasp

  1. Erik Dolgushkin says:

    Howdy! as sort of a follow up to this gal, I saw her every now and again all last fall and winter of 2012 laying eggs in every dang Redwood log we had at the mill. Quite a few turned into a bridge so maybe we’ll see some impressive wasp emerging this fall. If I see them I’ll try have a camera on hand. Noting that very long ovipositor, she had to stand on her tiptoes to line it up with the log. Perhaps specifically boring into Redwoods, she has adapted to penetrate their rather thick bark.
    Best to all,
    Erik dolgushkin

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