Subject: Long red winged bug with a long stinger
Location: 40°17′56″N 111°41′47″W
June 28, 2013 7:28 am
I found this cool looking bug today at work when I was unwrapping a pallet of wood. I do not believe it is from here in Utah since it was wrapped in the wood, and the wood comes from out of state. It is rather long, and has what I believe to be a long stinger. It was rather aggressive when I was trying to put it in a bag, kept trying to sting me.
Signature: Not sure
This is a Horntail. Without knowing the origin of the wood, it is difficult to be certain, but we believe this looks like Xeris indecisus, which is pictured on BugGuide and is reported from California. According to BugGuide, there are six species in the genus native to North America north of Mexico and “X. melancholicus is northern transcontinental, the rest are western.” While Horntails are frequently called Wood Wasps and they are classified with wasps and bees, they are not known to sting humans. The stinger is actually a modified ovipositor which the female uses to lay eggs, by inserting it into wood. In stinging insects, the ovipositor serves dual purposes and it is considered to be a modified ovipositor. It is conceivable that the ovipositor of a Horntail might penetrate human skin since it can penetrate wood which is much denser, however, Horntails are not aggressive. It is possible that this individual was in the pupal stage when the wood was milled and it survived and emerged upon its arrival to Utah.
Thankyou very much. I will try and see if I can find out where our would is shipped from.