Subject: Strange wasp looking things
Location: Corinth, NY
May 31, 2012 8:13 am
There were quite a number of these odd looking creatures all over the base of a dead tree, that a pileated woodpecker has been trying to chop down for the last couple of years.
Signature: Ken Rohling

Male Giant Ichneumons await the emergence of a female

Dear Ken,
This is an awesome photo.  The insects pictured are Giant Ichneumons,
Megarhyssa atrata, and they are commonly called Stump Stabbers.  These individuals are all males (see BugGuide) awaiting the emergence of a female for mating purposes.  The female Giant Ichneumon is responsible for the name Stump Stabber.  She has a very long ovipositor which is easily mistaken for a stinger.  She uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the bark of dead and dying trees.  Her offspring feed on the wood boring larvae of the Pigeon Horntail.  We have seen photos of male Giant Ichneumons awaiting the emergence of a female, but never in such great numbers.

Thanks, if you want the original file, just ask. There were dozens more right around there, and I would have shot more if I had known they didn’t sting. Usually, I’m not skittish, but last spring I hit a nasty nest of ground nesting hornets with a leaf blower, and took a couple dozen hits on the face and arms before I managed to dive into the river, shedding the blower in a blind run. Lol

Location: New York

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