Flying bug, Orange and black, looks like bee
Location:  Southcentral Alaska, Hillside Anchorage AK
August 5, 2010 9:17 pm
These were flying around outside my garage, and I’ve seen them at my cabin, around 50 miles away as well. Any help would be appreciated in identifying them, as I do not know if they eat rotten wood, other animals, or ??. Thank you in advance.

Giant Wood Wasp

Hi Aaron,
This appears to be a Giant Wood Wasp,
Urocerus gigas, a species introduced from Eurasia.  According to BugGuide:  “It tunnels in wood. One of the most dangerous pests of conifers” and it “Attacks five or more genera of Pinaceae.”  It is also pictured on the website.  It is also pictured on the Wood Boring Insects of Alaska website.  There is also a native subspecies.  We are seeking assistance regarding if this individual is native or introduced.

Giant Wood Wasp

Correction thanks to Brian Sullivan of APHIS
Good to hear from you Daniel.
Yes I am still with APHIS.
The native subspecies Urocerus gigas flavicoris (Fabricius) does occur in Alaska.
Distribution: Labrador to Alaska, south to New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Looks like a fine female.
I am always interested in possible exotics but can totally understand the direct contacting.
Keep up the good work as always

So, this individual is native and not the introduced subspecies?

Yes, it appears to be the case of a native.
Matches up with the guide I used for a fast ID.
I am getting ready to go on a much needed vacation and trying to clear my plate but make sure I looked it up real quick for you.
Brian Sullivan
Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist

10 Responses to Wood Wasp from Alaska

  1. Cory a says:

    Do they build nest or do they borrow into wood and make a nest.?

    How do you tell the difference in a native or one that’s been introduced to Alaska. I had one today that looks like the one in the pictures but much darker and a the back was not as bright as I the pictures.

    Our they safe around animals and family members. Best and safety way to get rid of them

  2. Dustin says:

    I have these around my house in Fairbanks Alaska, and they seem to be aggressive. But they do not sting or bite ?? Easy way of killing them ?? Thank you

    • bugman says:

      We do not provide extermination advice. They are not considered an aggressive species. This is not a venomous creature.

  3. Laura says:

    Help, I had one today somewhat similar to this but with big back legs and some different markings. It matches nothing I’ve seen online.

    I can figure out how to paste a photo!

  4. Brandon N says:

    Yea thanks to this site it was really helpful for my encounter

  5. Ryan says:

    When peeling logs wasps as long as 4in were flying around us. One landed on my back, I heard the wings fluttering and I ask my friend if there was something on my back. He freaked out, and I started jumping around. I wonder if their aggressive and sting humans. I live in the Yukon flats.

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