Geographic location of the bug: Italy (Rome)
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
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.