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

Cimbex Sawfly
Hi, found this huge Wasp/Hornet(We thought at the time) and took some photos of it. Was able to identify it as a Cimbex Sawfly because of your site so I thought I’d send you a few of them. Found Sunday, June 18/2006 at about 8:00pm. Great site,
Andy Kowalski

Hi Andy,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Cimbex Sawfly. The clubbed antennae are a distinguishing feature.

unknown buggs
was hoping that you might be able to tell us what type of bug this is , it was photographed this summer in Atlin BC Canada and so far we have not been able to find anyone up here that can make an identification.
Thank you
John and Tracy Mackenzie
Whitehorse Yukon Canada

Hi John and Tracy,
What a great photo of a female Horntail Wood Wasp, Urocerus gigas flavicornis. She lays eggs in dead and dying trees with that fierce looking ovipositor.

Somky Horntail, Northwest Pacific Coast
We discovered what my son and I believe to be a Smoky Horntail in my Lacey (Olympia), WA home on 15 February, 2006. She is pictured in a Gerber baby food jar with a moist paper towel and a bit of honey. She is about to visit Mountain View Elementary School with my son Luke to share with his class. She is about 1 inch and was battered about by my cat, Oliver. I Googled your excellent site and thought that this my contribute to your collection. It seems that the Smokey variety of Horntail Wasps is less represented to the Pigeon. I referenced her in the *National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (Audubon Society Field Guide) page 805, plate 477. Thank you for your service.

Hi CJ,
We are happy to post your letter and photo. The Smoky Horntails, genus Urocerus, are most commonly found in the western US and Canada especially where timber has been left on the ground. When Eric Eaton noticed this posting, he wrote in the following correction: “the horntail wasp is not a Urocerus, but is likely Xeris spectrum. A friend, who is an expert on the family, ID’d one for Bugguide recently, or I’d have never known, either. Eric” Eric’s comment then lead us to this site.

What is this thing?!
Dear Bugman,
During the summer of 2004, my wife and I took a snapshot of this strange bug crawling around in one of our planter boxes on the patio. It was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches long with a stinger-like tail. I have lived in Michigan practically all my life and never saw anything like it. However, just last August while attending an outdoor party, I came across another. My friend practically jumped 3 feet in the air as it flew around him! He thinks it was some kind of wasp. Is he correct? Thanks in advance for any info may have.

Hi Jerry,
The Pigeon Horntail, Tremex columba, is a wasp relative that does not sting. That ovipositor is used to deposit eggs in trunks of trees where the grubs tunnel and feed.

Hey, about that bright yellow caterpillar…
I ran into another one of the same kind today and I took it back for a picture so, disregard the previous email. But it’s this bright yellow caterpillar, found in the redwood forests of northern california (Humboldt County), and I think it was on an Alder tree. When I put it back, it seemed happy to be back on the trunk. I’ve never seen this before, so please help! I’ve already gone through your pages. Thanks
Katie Schmidt

Hi Katie,
Sawfly Larvae are often confused for caterpillars. This is a Cimbex Sawfly, and they are related to wasps.