What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown insect
Location: Nr Manchester, UK
August 3, 2014 12:46 pm
Hi there,
We live in the north west of England, near to Manchester and found this insect in our garden. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It measured about 3″ long. Can you identify it?
Signature: Best wishes, Fi

Giant Wood Wasp

Giant Wood Wasp

Dear Fi,
This is a Giant Wood Wasp,
Uroceras gigas, and according to the Pottery Museum website:  “Flight period: May – August.  The large size and black and yellow colouration mean that this ‘wasp’ causes more than a few scares, but it is not a wasp at all, it is a sawfly and completely harmless. The large ‘sting’ is in fact the ovipositor, which is used to lay eggs (and gives it the alternative name of horntail). Most often seen in coniferous woodland.  Common in Staffordshire. “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Manchester, UK

34 Responses to Giant Wood Wasp from the UK

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Fi
    I live in North Yorkshire and have just been installing 80sqm of decking. I had about 12 of them diving around the wood. They are quite harmless but really do scare the bejibas out of you when they turn up. Ignor them and they’ll soon fly off to a conifer or something.

    • Rochelle Cooper says:

      Hi, I’ve recently had decking installed and found a wood wasp laying eggs in my decking, actually caught it on video..just curious as to whether this caused any problems with your decking? Thanks

      • Denise says:

        What happened to the decking?
        We seen one flying around our newly laid staircase for the shed. Last I saw of it, it was going into a panneled area dark. I’m hopeful that beachside it’s not an old tree with roots that it has Ent started its laying of eggs to cause harm. Any pictures of your decking?

  2. kevin Bolt says:

    We live in Cornwall and I came home with one on my trousers this evening. Needless to say my wife went frantic as it started taking a look around our lounge. But at least we know what it is now.

  3. Carol says:

    I had one of these indoors – about 1.5 inches long – never seen anything like this in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire before. Very angry buzz and a massive sting. I am relieved to read it is not as dangerous as originally appears.

  4. Brian Sigsworth says:

    July 2nd Gloucestershire….. I thought someone was playing with a drone !!! It landed next to me and I quickly took a pic. Glad to see it is harmless because it disappeared from view and I have no idea as to where it went…..

  5. Alan says:

    Hi, just seen one on pine trees in garden, North Bedfordshire, managed to get photo, Alan

  6. Tracey Perry says:

    I live in Wimborne, Dorset and have just identified one in my back garden. Inquisitive little creatures

  7. Brian Sigsworth says:

    Inquisitive?? My main concern was how nasty is that ‘Sting’ going to be !!! LOL…
    Glad to know it is harmless. I hope I see more now.

  8. Jan Reid says:

    I found one on the side of my barrow which was water filled. Thinking it was dead l popped it in a white envelope and carefully folded the top over. I wanted to show it to my daughter who is interested in all things natural. However when l went into the kitchen later on l heard its wings vibrating on the paper. I opened the envelope out fully and laid it on the window ledge. She was gone when l checked this morning. Up til now l had never seen one and feel privileged now to have done so.

  9. Fiona Wilson says:

    Just had one of these beasties in my greenhouse, 8 miles out of Aberdeen, Scotland.

  10. kate says:

    Saw one of these yesterday and today for the first time in our garden.Had read about them earlier this year, so wasn’t too panicked!!
    We live in Fleet, Hampshire.

  11. D Fox says:

    Just saw 2 wood wasps on my back fence .Cant beleave how big they are I live in Inverness

  12. Bill says:

    I got the fright of my life as I came out of the shed today and one of these buzzed past my ear. It landed on the trunk of a sycamore close by and I tried to photograph it but could not focus in time before it flew off. Needless to say, I was quite circumspect doing this but relieved when I found out what it was afterwards. We have quite a few small conifers and one large one which died over last winter. There are no others around us in this part of Lanark.

  13. Dave Penlington says:

    Saw one for the first time today in Dursley Gloucestershire. Big and beautifully coloured. It does look a bit intimidating

  14. Dave Clements says:

    Pictured one yesterday in Southampton, approx inch and a half long. Sadly it was injured as 2 of its legs were a bit buckled. Left it alone but it had died when I saw it this morning

  15. Paul says:

    Seen one in work yesterday, actually heard the beat of the wings then I turned, scared the hell out of me .
    Flew of and didn’t see it again

  16. John nimmo says:

    Spotted one on my leg in Douglas South lanarkshire…..wonder if they are moving north

  17. David Davies says:

    I live near chester on the canal was quite shocked to see two of these critters on my shed. This is made from pallets. Big and quite intimidating it took me the best part of the day to find out what they were.

  18. Gerald Mcintyre says:

    I live in Fort William in N W Highlands…one of these came through window and landed on my shoulder this afternoon. …got massive fright! Never seen or heard of one before.Friend of my son identified it from pic I took.

  19. mal says:

    i was attacked by one of those last week its a horntail it stung me and layed eggs into my thigh bone,
    anyway to cut a long story short they hatched the scraping and movement drove me wild at night ,
    on the Tuesday i was running my fastest to try and catch the bus when my leg snapped in half i crumbled to the floor like felled spruce,
    our katie-bee helped me to keep awake,
    sadly ive lost both legs to these terrors
    be carefull

    • bugman says:

      Your flight of fancy is quite entertaining. We can’t help but to be reminded of something we heard journalist Connie Schultz, wife of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, say during an interview recently regarding fake news. We are paraphrasing, of course, but she stated that if it is fake, it is not news, and if it is news, it is not fake. We have concluded that your comment is fake and not news. It also appears that poor grammar is rampant in your fake comment.

  20. Kevin says:

    Installing decking last month and one of these landed next to me, I legged it as fast as I could as what I thought was a sting looked pretty nasty. I did return and managed to get a photo.Really pleased it was harmless otherwise house was going up for sale !!!

  21. Mike says:

    We had one of these buzzing around our garden yesterday, very interested in the wooden planters we have attached to the fence. I reported it to Defra as i was worried about it being the dreaded Asian Hornet. However, the fact sheet Defra sent me clearly identified it as a Giant Wood Wasp. Like many on here i have never seen one before and we camp regularly in both the Peak and Lake district. We live in South Sheffield close to the Derbyshire border.

  22. Davey F says:

    I just ‘saw’ one in a garden in East Sussex (Horstead Keynes) Surrounded by mixed woodland (Ashdown Forest) so thought I might have seen these before. I didn’t have a camera to hand, unfortunately. I heard it before seeing it – very intimidating when you don’t know what they are! I’ll have to let the rest of the residents of the house know in case it comes back…

  23. Sally fisher says:

    Saw a couple of these in our local woods. While out with the dog. At least 2 inches long. I was concerned if they was dangerous. So I didn’t sick around Strange it was picking the blackberries off a bush it took 2 then flew away ??

  24. Jan Hodgson says:

    Just seen a large slim fly with a long spike at the rear end flying in my greenhouse. Never seen one before, had to google it. Didn’t see the yellow colour as it was outlined against the glass roof. This in the York area.

  25. Mike says:

    Just saw one in my conservatory in Stafford, frightens the life out of us so I picked it up in a cup and helped it move into next doors bush

  26. William Briggs Constable says:


    found one of these in Fife, Scotland this afternoon caught in a spiders web although it appears to have escaped now. Not seen one before although we have quite a lot of common wasps and various types of bees flying around the farm.

  27. Alex Parker says:

    July 2019 just seen one at Dyhram Park in Bath….completely freaked us out but what a beauty!!!

  28. Relieved to find that we do not have giant wood worm but giant wood wasp in our wood pile. I am told if we put a larch log next to the existing holes they will lay more eggs and it is probable there are more still to hatch which I am looking forward to. We are in Pitlochry Perthshire.

  29. Iain Ramsay says:

    Had the fright of my life on sunday cutting up some pallets for a project one of these appeared from nowhere christ it made me jump, if only just found out what it was beautiful insect bloody scary initially but beautiful and 😅

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