Currently viewing the category: "Ichneumons"

Subject:  Images of crane-fly-like-insect (probably Ichneumon?) that stung me
Geographic location of the bug:  Grants Pass, Oregon
Date: 06/03/2019
Time: 07:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there. A couple of weeks ago, when traveling through Ashland OR, I was surprised when something I thought was a harmless crane fly stung me! I was so surprised, having always been taught they are harmless, that I took the internet to look this up, and found your site. I added a comment to this thread:
A week later, in Grants Pass, OR, I saw this one sitting still on a wall and was able to get a picture. I can’t guarantee it’s the same thing that stung me, as I didn’t get to see this one flying, and I didn’t get to see the one that stung me sitting still. But it’s about the same size and look as the one that stung me. And this looks a lot more to me like the Ichneumon referenced in some of your posts about crane fly stings. It’s pretty clearly not a crane fly. I haven’t found anything that describes how the Ichneumon flies – but if it’s similar to a crane fly, then I bet this is what stung me.
How you want your letter signed:  Seneca


Dear Seneca,
As your letter indicates, you cannot be certain this was the insect that stung you, but it is an Ichneumon and it is easy to see why it might be confused with a Crane Fly.  We have also always learned that Crane Flies are harmless and they neither sting nor bite, but we keep getting submissions to the contrary, including a very convincing letter that included both the Crane Fly and the “sting”.

Thank you so much for your reply!
I’m really glad to be learning more about these insects.
Do you know if the Ichneumon flies awkwardly about much like a crane fly?
I never knew there was an insect that could sting that looked and flew so much like a crane fly.
This one had come into our camper van attracted to the light and flitting about and I just assumed it was harmless and cupped it gently in my hands to put it out.
Now I know to be more careful!
I should probably know better than to assume anything anyway. There’s so much I don’t know about so many things.

Hi again Seneca,
Crane Flies have a much more gangly and awkward flight.

Subject:  What kind of cocoon did I find on my Cannabis plant?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/02/2019
Time: 5:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman.
My plants are growing taller and I have seen some tiny California Mantids and young Green Lynx Spiders prowling for prey.  It is funny how I watched the same predators on my plants last year.   There are also numerous immature hopping insects I know are not beneficial to my plants, so I have been squashing them instead of taking their picture, but today I found this very interesting cocoon thing on the leaf of a girl that grew from a seed that came from a Grand Daddy Purple X Blueberry Haze plant I grew last year.  Sorry, but I removed it before taking a photo, so I made a dramatic recreation of the way I found it on the underside of a leaf.  I hope you enjoy my still life.  Please tell me what it is.  I really want to know What’s That Bug?
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Ichneumon Pupa

Dear Constant Gardener,
This is a very exciting posting for us.  We instantly recognized this Ichneumon cocoon in the genus
Charops from identification requests we have received from Taiwan and from South Africa.  Ichneumon Wasps are parasitoids, meaning the female wasp lays eggs on a larval host, and the larva that hatches then feeds on the internal organs of a host insect or arthropod, eventually killing the host as the larva nears maturity.  According to BugGuide:  “Known hosts include Tarachidia erastrioides (Grenee) and the green clover worm, Plathypena scabra (Fabricius), both noctuids. (Anonymous 1974)”.  You might need to add Ichneumon Wasps from the genus Charops to the list of patrolling predators in your garden.

Pupa of a Charops Ichneumon Wasp

Subject:  Crane fly sting
Geographic location of the bug:  Eau Claire WI USA
Date: 05/29/2019
Time: 11:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I’ve been reading that the crane fly is harmless and does not bite or sting. I was outdoors this evening and felt a sudden sting under my shirt, I instinctively grabbed and squeezed the offender. The sting was intense and spread under the skin like tiny lightning bolts. I have attached a picture of the insect and the bite area.
I also have the specimen in a bag I’m willing to mail at your request.
How you want your letter signed:  Shelly K

Ichneumon, not Crane Fly

Dear Shelly,
We have always relied on the response from experts, including Dr. Chen Young, that Crane Flies neither sting nor bite, and we have had numerous inquiries that dispute that opinion.  We even have a posting with a Crane Fly and what appears to be a sting perpetrated by the pictured Crane Fly.  For years we have also suggested that the perpetrator might be an Ichneumon, a parasitoid Wasp.  In your case, the pictured insect is an Ichneumon, not a Crane Fly.

Subject:  Whats this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Elgin,TX
Date: 03/25/2019
Time: 02:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This evening for the first time I got stung by what at least I thought was harmless “Mosquito Hawk”.My skin is still very hot,itchy,and burning 2 hours later.One difference I noticed from posted photo’s is much longer antenae that curl on the ends. (Elgin Texas)
How you want your letter signed:  M.McCartney


Dear M.McCartney,
We get numerous emails and comments from folks claiming to have been stung by a Crane Fly, AKA Mosquito Hawk, and despite our repeated responses that Crane Flies do not bite nor sting, a stand supported by Crane Fly expert Chen Young, folks still claim the Crane Fly to be the culprit.  Your image is of an Ichneumon, a parasitoid wasp.  Most Ichneumons are harmless to people, but one genus,
Ophion, is capable of stinging.  Your Ichneumon appears to belong to that genus.

Thank You So Much For Replying, that looks like what got me.
I will now be vigilant for these stinging Wasps lurking amongst the swarms of harmless Crane Flies !

Subject:  Flies
Geographic location of the bug:  Italy (Rome)
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 05:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi bugman! Upon return from a week out, we found a lot of these ‘flies’ dead around the house, mostly in the bathroom. We had left a basket with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts in the living room, so that might have attracted them? Not sure.
Anyway, are you able to identify them?
Thanks as always!
How you want your letter signed:  Saverio

Ichneumons, we believe

Dear Saverio,
These are not Flies.  They are Hymenopterans, the insect order that includes Bees and Wasps.  They appear to be parasitoid Ichneumons, a group of solitary wasps that parasitize their prey.  The Ichneumon larva develops inside the body of the prey, feeding on its internal organs until the host dies, at which time the Ichneumon larva pupates, eventually emerging as winged adults.  We suspect your sighting is related to an emergence while you were away.  This occurrence might be related to the basket of nuts, but we are not convinced.  How large were these Ichneumons?  Exact species identification might not be possible.  According to the North American site BugGuide:  “arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates” and many species are undescribed.

Subject:  What is this flying bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Sacramento California
Date: 11/05/2018
Time: 10:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was buzzing at me fairly large dont know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Weirdbug

Ichneumon, we believe

Dear Weirdbug,
This sure looks like an Ichneumon to us, or some other parasitoid wasp, but we have not had any luck with a definitive identity.  We wish there was more detail in your image.  Ichneumons are parasitoid Wasps that are considered important biological control agents for caterpillars and other insects.  According to BugGuide:  “a great variety of hosts (mostly immature stages) is used, though most species attack only a few host types; some infest spiders and other non-insect arthropods.”   The wing veination on your individual appears very similar to the drawing on Le Monde des Insectes.