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

Pigeon Horntail Photos!
Me again, (Cindy from Ajax, ON). Here’s my last email to you guys. The reason I originally checked out your site was to identify this creepy looking wasp that was crawling up the brickwork of the front of our house. Now that I know it’s a pigeon horntail, and that you had a hard time of getting pictures – here you go! Two of the pics aren’t in great focus, sorry. But one is good. I was kinda afraid of it and didn’t take the time to set up the macro feature on my camera. I’m curious, do these things sting or bite humans? Also, by the description on your site, it appears to me this is a female. One of the pics looks like she’s trying to lay her young in the brickwork. I don’t live near a forested area, but do live in northeast America. Would just north of Lake Ontario be an area where these are typically found? I’ve never seen something like it before. Lastly, is September a common breeding time for them? I took this last year in September & noticed the person who sent you a picture recently took it last month, September, as well.
Again, really cool site.
Ajax, ON CANADA (just east of Toronto)

Hi Cindy,
Our DSL signal went dead the day before you wrote and we just regained it yesterday. We are working overtime to post some of the mail that came in during that week (477 letters). Pigeon Horntails do not sting. We don’t know for sure what the breeding season is. Thanks for the image.

Here’s another for ya!
I ran into this on the same hiking trip… Never saw it before and my ID books are at school. Can ya help? Thanks

Hi Chad,
Nice Pigeon Horntail, Tremex columba, image. We can’t wait to post your mating Walkingsticks as soon as we properly identify the species. Where were these images taken?

Found in Labrador
Hello, I found this catepillar on the Trans Labrador Highway east of Labrador City, NL in September 2005. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one. Could you please tell me what it is? Thanks. Cool web site….

Hi Rick,
Often mistaken for caterpillars, Sawflies are actually related to wasps. This is from the genus Cimbex.

Apple green caterpillar with yellow dorsal and black spinacles
I live in Milan and have a rose creeper on my balcony that has recently become the home for 25+ caterpillars. I have been searching around but I have yet to find out what they are. Your site’s excellent and seems to have everything so I’ve probably just missed it somewhere. Please could you take a look and let me know what you think they might be?
Many thanks!

Hi Lucy,
These are not caterpillars which metamorphose into butterflies or moths. These are wasp relatives known as Sawflies. Sorry, can’t tell you the species.

New Ichneumon for your site?
I’ve been perusing your site and just can’t get enough! Great photos, quick and entertaining wit, and solid information. Your dedication shows! Thanks for doing this : ) Now on to our bug in question. My daughter and I spotted this lovely insect on one of our many outdoor "expeditions" for fun. On Sept. 18, 2005 this beauty was clearly laying eggs in the lichen-laden bark of a tree near the banks of the Fox River in northern Illinois (Aurora IL). I have been unable to find a photo of it on your site and was hoping you’d further identify it for me. An interesting thing to mention was that within it’s vicinity, within inches, there were two ovipositors stuck in the bark, minus the insects’ bodies! When I tried to pull them out they wouldn’t budge and broke off. Dummy me, should have taken pictures first. Do you know if these insects commonly die while depositing their final eggs or sometimes get their ovipositors stuck? At the base of the tree we did find the dried-up body of another of these insects, minus the ovipositor.
Thanks so much!
Michelle & Becky N.
Lily Lake, IL

Hi Michelle and Becky,
This is a Pigeon Horntail, Tremex columba, the host insect of the Giant Ichneumon. Horntails are Sawflies, wasp relatives. They have wood boring larvae that the larval Ichneumons use for food. We have heard reports of both Horntails and Ichneumons dying in childbirth, dying with their ovipositors stuck in a trunk.