Subject: Red-yellow-black winged ant?
Geographic location of the bug: Ottawa, Ontario
Time: 01:01 PM EDT
Hi, Bugman! It’s starting to get cold out and I’ve been seeing occasional coniferous seed bugs around inside, but today I found this striking creature. What beautiful colours she has! Despite the distinct pattern and yellow mark on her back, I’m not sure what she is. Not like the paper wasps I’ve seen. Some sort of wasp or flying ant (because of the way the wings sit)? She wasn’t hostile but flew back to the windowsill when I attempted to move with a paper.
How you want your letter signed: With a casual interest in entomology, Dannie
We believe this is a parasitoid Ichneumon, a relative of bees and wasps. According to BugGuide: “They vary greatly in size and color; many are uniformly colored, from yellowish to black and others are brightly patterned with black and brown or black and yellow; many have middle segments of antennae yellowish or whitish. The majority resemble slender wasps but differ from the stinging wasps (Scolioidea, Vespoidea and Sphecoidea) in having longer antennae with more segments (usually at least 16). Many have long ovipositors, often longer than the body. Ichneumonids are notoriously hard to identify: aside from the sheer number of species, there are numerous cases of distant relatives that appear almost identical. Any identification based solely on comparing images should be treated as suspect unless an expert has said there are no lookalikes for the species or group in question.”