Currently viewing the category: "Parasitic Hymenopterans"

Subject:  Crane Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Ontario
Date: 08/09/2019
Time: 05:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this beautiful large insect with amazing colours and couldn’t help but take a picture and try to figure out what it was. The bug looks so deadly but my logic tells me it’s some sort of crane fly that wouldn’t harm you but you never know. I’m thinking someone else might find this insect really cool looking.
How you want your letter signed:  Crane fly???

Stump Stabber

This Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa macrurus, is commonly called a Stump Stabber because the female uses her very long ovipositor to drill into trees infested with Horntail larvae, and then to lay eggs.  Ichneumon larvae feed on the Horntail larvae.

Subject:  American Pelicinid
Geographic location of the bug:  Piseco, New York (Adirondack Mtns)
Date: 08/10/2019
Time: 09:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just thought I’d post a pic of am AP that land on my hat today. Very friendly—crawled up and down my arm, and investigated my pulled pork sandwich.
How you want your letter signed:  Dexter Ford

American Pelecinid

Dear Dexter,
Thanks for submitting your awesome image of an American Pelecinid.

Subject:  What is this??
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwest iowa
Date: 06/19/2019
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this?  Looks like a wasp but for its tail like thing and design on body.  Tail thing comes out of body about 1/4″ from end of body! Coin in the picture is a quarter for visual comparison.
How you want your letter signed:  Concerned Mimi

Giant Ichneumon

Dear Concerned Mimi,
This is a harmless, beneficial Giant Ichneumon in the genus
Megarhyssa, sometimes called a Stump Stabber because the female uses her lengthy ovipositor to lay her eggs in diseased and dying trees where the larvae will be able to feed on the the wood boring larvae of Horntails.  We believe your individual is Megarhyssa macrurus.

Subject:  Is this a type of Hornet?
Geographic location of the bug:  Bury lancashire
Date: 06/18/2019
Time: 12:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this little hitch hiker on my car today. Im facinated to know if it is a Hornet.
How you want your letter signed:  The bug man

Ichneumon might be Amblyteles armatorius

This is not a Hornet, but it is a Parasitoid Wasp known as an Ichneumon.  There are so many species that look similar, an exact species identification might not be possible, but it does resemble Amblyteles armatorius which is pictured on UK Safari where it states:  “Ichneumon wasps are solitary insects which are closely related to bees and ants. Most ichneumons are parasitoids.  The females lay their eggs into, or onto, the young of other insects and spiders, and the young which hatch out feed on that host insect.  The host is eventually killed and consumed by the larva just before it pupates.”  There are additional images on Nature Spot.

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