Currently viewing the category: "Parasitic Hymenopterans"

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.


Subject:  Crane fly? Wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Pittsburgh, PA
Date: 10/03/2018
Time: 11:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thought it was a crane fly, but most images I could find did not show crane fly with curled antennae.
How you want your letter signed:  Stacy


Dear Stacy,
This is an Ichneumon, a parasitoid wasp, not a Crane Fly.  We suspect that many reported Crane Fly stings are actually from Ichneumons.

Subject:  need help identifying this wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Occoquan NWR, Occoquan Virginia
Date: 09/22/2018
Time: 08:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Once more I must ask for you excellent help. I cannot seem to find what species this attractive wasp is in any of my usual resources (including your wonderful site, of course!) Thanks very much in advance.
How you want your letter signed:  Seth

Male Ichneumon: Lymeon orbus possibly

Dear Seth,
This is a parasitoid wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, and according to BugGuide:  “~5,000 described spp. in almost 500 genera in the Nearctic Region, possibly 3,000 more undescribed; arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.  Those numbers mean that species identifications can be very challenging. Your individual looks very similar to
Lymeon orbus based on this BugGuide image, but your individual lacks an ovipositor, making it a male, and your individual has a black band on the hind leg lacking in the images we have located of Lymeon orbus.  So, we are certain that this is an Ichneumon Wasp, we are nearly certain it is a male, and beyond that, we need to defer to real experts.  If you find any closer visual matches, please let us know.