What is it? Wood Wasp/Horntail?
August 17, 2009
We live in Western Washington State, and we were just remodeling our new house that we bought which is located in a very wooded area. We had all the doors and windows open while working. Two of these insects flew in and my husband said they were very aggressive. He said they were going after him trying to attack. I’ve been trying to research what kind of insect it is, but can’t find an exact match. It looks a little like the pictures I’ve seen of wood wasps or horntails, but I’m not sure. It was about 2 in long! Do you have a better idea of what this is?
We are exerting a bit of creative license and calling your native insect, Urocerus californicus, by the common name California Wood Wasp, There is only minimal information posted on the information page for this species on BugGuide, but Eric Eaton has the following information on an individual posting on BugGuide: “It is indeed a female U. californicus (orange wings, all-black abdomen). I’m envious. In all my years in Oregon I never once saw one of these alive. They must be like buprestids: emerge briefly in large numbers such that if you aren’t in the neighborhood that day, you would never know they existed:-)“ Wood Wasps cannot sting, and what appears to be a stinger is the female’s ovipositor.