Currently viewing the category: "Horntails, Wood Wasps and Sawflies"

Pigeon Horntail… I think.
Location: Westminster, Md
November 7, 2011 7:10 pm
From looking at other photos on this website I think that this is a Pigeon Horntail. Either way it was a cool looking bug and I wanted to share.
Signature: Billy

Pigeon Horntail

Hi Billy,
We are happy to hear you were able to identify your Pigeon Horntail by searching through our archives.  Pigeon Horntails are Wood Wasps and the larvae are found burrowing in dead and dying trees.  There are lighter and darker variations in coloration, and the lighter color of your individual is not as common, but it is documented on BugGuide.

Mysterious White Caterpillars
Location: Southern New Hampshire
October 6, 2011 3:34 pm
We get these on our dogwood and ONLY our dogwood every early autumn. The seem to shed skins, curl into a ball and change colors to a yellow and blackish color. Then they seem to just disappear, leaving dark spots on the leaves where they were curled up.
Signature: TalulaJaneSmiles

Dogwood Sawfly

Dear TalulaJaneSmiles,
You have Dogwood Sawflies,
Macremphytus tarsatus.  Though they resemble caterpillars, Sawflies are classified with the wasps and bees.  According to BugGuide:  “Young larvae are covered with a powdery white waxy coating. Mature larvae are yellow beneath with black spots or cross-stripes above.”  The University of Minnesota Entomology website has a very informative pdf on the Dogwood Sawfly and the Penn State Woody Ornamental Integrated Pest Management web page states:  “Dogwood Sawfly, Macremphytus tarsatus, is a significant pest to dogwood (Cornus) species. Because the Dogwood Sawfly takes on several forms while in the larval stage, it may not be easy to identify. Even the first instars can devour small portions of leaves, with groups of them producing a skeletonized appearance to the leaves. However, the larger final instar can consume entire leaves, leaving only the tougher leaf midribs.” 

Japanese Pigeon Horntail?
Location: Shiroi City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
September 30, 2011 11:42 pm
Found this pretty insect loitering outside of my apartment here in Japan. Was initially put off the by the size of its stinger, but could never pass up such a golden photo opportunity.
Signature: Tori

Asian Horntail

Hi Tori,
This is some species of Horntail in the family Siricidae, and we believe it may be the Asian Horntial,
Eriotremex formosanus, which we found pictured on the Urban Forestry website because the species was accidentally introduced to North America in infested shipping crates.  It is also pictured on the SmugMug website.

big orange wasp?
Location: St. Charles, Missouri
September 29, 2011 4:34 pm
I saw this on the sidewalk today. It was about an inch and a half long. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the picture until after my mom stepped on it! Please help!?
Signature: Steve

Pigeon Horntail

Dear Steve,
We hope the reason your mom stepped on this harmless Pigeon Horntail is because she didn’t see it while she was walking, but we suspect otherwise, so we are tagging this as Unnecessary Carnage.  Pigeon Horntails are Wood Wasps and they do not sting.  The Pigeon Horntail was selected as our Bug of the Month for September 2011.

Never seen before
Location: Macomb County, MI
September 25, 2011 3:10 pm
I’ve never seen this before. Do you know what kind of bug it is and is it dangerous?
Signature: Thank you very much. Ken

Pigeon Horntail

Hi Ken,
This Pigeon Horntail is a harmless Wood Wasp.  What appears to be a formidable stinger is actually an ovipositor that the female uses to penetrate wood to lay her eggs.  Any human less dense than wood could potentially be penetrated by a female Wood Wasp, though we have never received a report of that occurrence.  We have gotten some nice recent photos of Giant Ichneumons, which are the primary predator of the Pigeon Horntail.

Amazing huge wasp
Location: Central Ontario (Algonquin Park)
September 12, 2011 8:50 pm
We saw this wasp/hornet at our campsite in Algonquin park August 2011. It was absolutely huge. As I recall it was more than 1” long. Any idea what this one is?
Signature: J. Wilson

Wood Waps

Hi J. Wilson,
We just finished posting a photo of a relative of your Wood Wasp.  Your species is
Urocerus albicornis and you can find matching images on BugGuide.