I work in Medina Ohio and one of My Marines found this bug and we would like to know what it is?? It is about 4 inchs long thank for any help you can give.
SSgt Horton USMC
Dear SSgt Horton,
Your Marines have captured a female Ichneumon Wasp (Meharhyssa species). That long “stinger” is in fact her ovipositor, and she locates wood boring grubs inside trees with her acute hearing, and penetrates the wood with the ovipositor, depositing an egg near the living grub. The egg hatches and has a living dinner, feasting on the grub until the grub dies from the parasite. We have additional information in our Buggy Biography section as well as on the wasp page of www.whatsthatbug.com. Thank you for the great photo.
Letter 1 – Ichneumon species
I found an insect living with me a couple of days ago in my California condo which is nestled against a small, grassy hill. At first, I avoided it – I am very afraid of insects, but I have no desire to harm them. Then I became more and more curious because I’ve never seen anything like it before. It looks like a fly’s torso put onto an orange, wasp-like body! It’s about 1 inch long. I overcame my fear enough to trap it and take a few photos for you. What is it?
The reason your Ichneumon looks like a wasp is because they are related, though Ichneumons do not sting. What looks like a stinger is in fact the ovipositor, the egg laying organ of the female Ichneumon. She uses the ovipositor to deposit eggs inside the bodies of her host insects, often caterpillars, and the young Ichneumon will eat the prey alive from the inside. Ichneumons are important in the biological control of insect pests, so they are beneficial.
Letter 2 – Unknown Wasp in Washington State is Ichneumon species
YellowJacket/Paper Wasp or something else?
Thanks for the Reply. We live in Mill Creek, just south of Everett, Western Washington State. We have a bunch of these (20+) flying low all around our front yard. My best guess would be a Paper Wasp or Yellow Jacket, but the coloring doesn’t match any of the pictures I found. Just wondering if we need to have someone come out and take care of them. We’ve check the closest tree and the house eves and don’t see any nests. They don’t seem to go into the back yard, or the neighbors front yard. They are not aggressive at all. They don’t seem to care if we are walking through the yard or not.. Thanks Again..
Thanks for writing back so quickly and providing a location. That is so critical with many identifications. We can tell you that this is NOT a yellow jacket nor a paper wasp, but we are not exactly sure what it is and it will require some research. Meanwhile, we will also contact Eric Eaton for identification assistance.
The wasp is an ichneumon wasp, family Ichneumonidae. Pretty much impossible to give a more specific identification without having the actual specimen to look at under a microscope. As larvae, alll ichneumons are parasitic on other insects (spiders in a few cases).
Letter 3 – Ichneumon from the UK
Subject: Found this critter in the kitchen today.
Geographic location of the bug: Sheffield, UK
August 26, 2017 12:33 AM
Can you identify this bug. Sheffield UK
How you want your letter signed: No
This is a parasitoid Ichneumon Wasp and there are several pictured on Nature Spot that look similar including Buathra laborator which is described on Nature Spot as being “Quite a large blackish insect with mainly orange legs. There are other similar species and expert help is needed with identification. ” Also similar looking is Pimpla rufipes which is described on Nature Spot as being: “Length about 15 mm. A mainly black species, but with bright orange legs, the hind pair of legs being only slightly larger than the other pairs. The ovipositor of the female is quite thick and short and the ‘waist’ between the thorax and abdomen is also quite short” and “Mainly an autumn species.”
Letter 4 – Pseudoscorpion: Phoresy on an Ichneumon
Ichneumon Species-New Find!
In addition to the email i sent earlier, i hope you received it. I was out taking more pics of bugs today, in my yard in Houston, Texas and i happened to catch a strange little, very little, bug hitching a ride on an Ichneumons antennae. I thought it was just a piece of skin or something while taking pics. I didn’t notice the little bug til i got them on the computer. What is this lil bug?
It takes quite some time to plod through all of a given day’s emails, and many do not get read. This is a marvelous set of images. They depict a Pseudoscorpion hitching a ride, a practice known as Phoresy, on an Ichneumon in the genus Megarhyssa. Because so many people find Pseudoscorpions in their homes, we have devoted an entire page to them.
Letter 5 – Ichneumon from New Zealand
Location: Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
March 23, 2014 10:11 am
Hi there. Attached is a picture of a wasp-like creature I found in my windowsill. I’ve never seen one before and a friend who lives nearby also found one in her house and has also never seen it before. We live in Whangarei, New Zealand which is in Northland (at the North of the North Island). We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a new immigrant.
Signature: Jana in New Zealand
This is an Ichneumon, member of a group of Parasitic Wasps that prey upon Arthropods. Many species of Ichneumons are very host specific, often preying upon a single species of Lepidoptera, Hemiptera or even one of the Arachnids. Identifying the exact species of Ichneumon in the large and confusing family Ichneumonidae is a daunting task, but if you want to pursue that route, the Landcare Research site for New Zealand might be a good point of departure.
Letter 6 – Ichneumon from Alaska
Subject: Crane Fly or Other?
Location: Wasilla Alaska
July 22, 2013 4:21 am
Hi, my son is six and at a time of q&a with me, his homeschooling mom, about everything he encounters. I never realized how little I know about the immediate world around me until recently! I’m determined to keep up and thus I have landed here on your site. I am hoping this is just a Crane Fly type, but the thorax pattern and long stinger throw that idea off a bit. Please help. Kind Regards,
Signature: Curious’s Mom
Dear Curious’s Mom,
This is some species of Ichneumon, a group of parasitoid wasps that prey upon other insects and arthropods. The “stinger” is actually an ovipositor, and many Ichnuemons use the ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the surface of stumps and logs that are infested with wood boring insects. Those Ichneumons are commonly called Stump Stabbers. We don’t get many submissions from Alaska, and we try to identify creatures to the species level whenever possible, but Ichneumons are a large group of insects and many species are not well described. Your Ichneumon appears to be a very different species from this previous Ichneumon from Alaska that we posted several years ago. Your individual does look very similar to this member of the genus Rhyssa that is posted to BugGuide.
Letter 7 – Ichneumon from Singapore
Subject: What’s yellow and black and has a long stinger?
April 7, 2014 10:57 pm
I’m in Singapore and last night I looked down to find an insect crawling on my shoulder. (I was in bed, so…that was not fun.) It’s about the size of my thumb’s distal phalanx bone, and the stinger(?) looks quite long. Please help, I’m hoping it’s not a wasp!
Thanks for reading~
This is a Parasitic Wasp known as an Ichneumon, and for many years we claimed that Ichneumons did not sting. What you have taken for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female Ichneumon. We later learned that some Ichneumons are capable of stinging humans, but they are a rarity among the large number of members in the family. According to BugGuide: “arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.” As a side note, the stinger in bees and wasps is a modified ovipositor that has adapted to multitasking: laying eggs as well as stinging potential threats.
Thank you for the identification, and it’s good to know it’s unlikely to have stung me since it wasn’t that big! (I let it go later as well, so now I don’t have to feel too bad about letting a potentially harmful insect go around my place.) Also, huh, I always thought the stinger for bees/wasps was specifically for stinging. The more you know…!
Thanks again so much!
We should clarify one matter regarding the stingers of Bees and Wasps. Generally, social species have a queen and workers with the workers being sterile females. The stingers of the sterile, social workers, including Honey Bees and Hornets, only serves as a stinger. In those cases, the modification that has evolved is no longer capable of multitasking.
Letter 8 – Ichneumon from UK
Beetle? Fly? Wasp?
Location: Radcliffe, Lancashire, NW UK.
June 30, 2011 11:18 am
Hi, I have today found an insect and I have no clue what it is. Dimensions are included on one of the pictures. I have performed a search online but can find nothing like it, the closest in terms of shape would be the Snake Fly. 30/06/2011, weather slightly breezy, intermittent clouds/sun and 16 degrees celsius.
Many thanks for your help,
This is a Parasitoid Wasp known as an Ichneumon. The closest match on the Bugs and Weeds website is identified as Ichneumon suspiciosus agg. and this is the information that is provided: “Like many Ichneumon species, this is a member of an aggregate group of very similar looking species (hence the ‘agg.’ suffix) that cannot be definitively identified without recourse to close microscopic scrutiny. The yellow and black banded antennae and legs and an overall length of 15mm (excluding antennae) suggests that it might possibly be Ich. suspiciosus – or something similar! It is an endoparasite of moth larvae. That is, the adult female ichneumon inserts an egg under the skin of a caterpillar and the resultant wasp larva will slowly develop internally within the caterpillar until the caterpillar enters pupation. The parasite will then enter its own pupation and, on completion of its metamorphosis, will be the sole adult insect to emerge. This will take place in summer or autumn and the emergent adult will hibernate throughout the winter to fly again in spring coincident with the emegence of adult moths and the next generation of their caterpillars.” UK Safari also has a photo. Your individual is black and white, but it looks very similar. We suspect it is a closely related species. It should be noted that Ichneumons can be very difficult to accurately identify to the species level. The ISpot website has a very close match that is not identified.
Letter 9 – Ichneumon Wasp
Found this on my wall
I just want to start off by saying that I LOVE this site. It’s so helpful in identifying bugs all over the place. This morning, I found this bug sitting on a wall, and I have to say, he scared the pants off of me! Any idea what kind it is? At first glance I thought roach, then I looked at it a little closer, and thought, maybe it’s some weird mosquito or wasp that I haven’t seen before. I live in Alpharetta, Georgia… about 40 minutes south of the north Georgia Mountains, just to give a range for this bug. Any help identifying him would be appreciated! Thanks!
This is an Ichneumon, and it is a wasp. Ichneumons are parasitic on other insects, most often wood boring insects, and the female lays eggs with a long ovipositor. Most Ichneumons do not sting, but we have heard from Eric Eaton that some species can sting.
Thanks so much for letting me know! 🙂 I really do appreciate all your hard work with the site and keeping up with the billions of requests you get. 🙂
Your response made us chuckle. We will check with our web host, but we don’t think we have reached our first billion letters yet. We can tell you for certain there has not been a billion answers.
Letter 10 – Ichneumon from Hungary
Subject: Strange bug with long sting
Location: Hungary, Fót
May 20, 2014 6:27 am
I have found this strange bug in my friend’s house in Fót, a small town near Budapest the capital of Hungary.
Sadly he has killed it, and took it’s head off for it to not suffer.
He was scared that it might be a tropical mosquito which came with a shipment of bananas.
Could you please tell me, what kind of bug is this, and if it’s any dangerous?
This is a parasitic wasp, most likely an Ichneumon, and though it is quite frightening, Ichneumons are not aggressive and they do not attempt to sting humans. What appears to be a stinger is actually an ovipositor, an organ that has evolved so that the female can deposit her eggs where they will hatch and the developing larva will have access to a food supply. Your individual resembles the North American Stump Stabbers in the genus Megarhyssa, and the female wasp uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs in stumps and branches that are infested with wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps known as Pigeon Horntails as the larvae of the Pigeon Horntail is the sole food of the larvae of the Stump Stabber. Your Ichneumon looks very similar to this Perithous species that is pictured on FlickR. Alas, the folks who post to FlickR never seem to provide a location for their images.
Letter 11 – Gasteruptiidae Wasp, not Ichneumon
Hi Daniel and Lisa,
When I first saw this flying critter, I thought that it was a pelecinid. After doing some research, I’m not very convinced that this is what this is. It was maybe a 1 inch to an inch and half from head to the end of its ovipositor. I’m guessing that it’s an ovipositor and not a stinger. had rescued it from my pool, and was able to get some shots of it while it dried its wings. Any info or direction you can give me in identifying this insect is very appreciated. Thanks!
Ed. Note When Yvonne first wrote to us, we misidentified her Gasteruptiidae Wasp as an Ichneumon without posting it. She has since sought the assistance of BugGuide, which we thoroughly endorse since they are a vast network of scientific information. Yvone then wrote back with BugGuide’s findings.
(07/09/2007) Ichneumon or Gasteruptiidae wasp
According to some other sources, the image I sent to you is not of an Ichneumon, but of a Gasteruptiidae wasp. I’m not sure if the jury is still out, but so far, that is what the consensus is. Do you still think it’s an ichneumon?
Hi again Yvonne,
Thank you for bringing this error to our attention. Remember, we are artists without entomological training.
Letter 12 – Ichneumon
Subject: Large fly
Location: Southeasterd Pennsylvania
July 28, 2017 12:05 pm
This bugger showed up in our kitchen. His body was well over an inch in length. Interesting eyes. He’s now outside somewhere, having bee released, as we do to all creatures we find ion the house, except ants, mosquitoes, and pantry moths. Spiders and Scutigera usually get to stay as they’re eating something.
This Ichneumon is not a Fly. It is a parasitoid wasp.
Letter 13 – Ichneumon from Israel
February 14, 2010
Hi Bug People!
On my weekend hike in the nothwestern Negev desert, Israel, I came across this wasp. I don’t even know where to start looking for information on it. It wasn’t very active and let me take close ups.
Later, when I looked at the pictures, I noticed three extra ‘eyes’ on its head. Any ideas that might point me in the right direction would be appreciated!
It was about 2.5cm (1 inch) long, dull orange, with very long antennae. I saw no ovipositor so I’m guessing it’s a male.
Northwest Negev, Israel
Hi again Ben,
WE are relatively certain this is an Ichneumon, a family of parasitory wasps that is nearly impossible to identify to the species or even genus level without inspection of the actual specimen by an expert. Many wasps have three simple ocelli in addition to two compound eyes.
Letter 14 – Ichneumon
Subject: What is this?
Location: Orange, nsw, Australia
February 20, 2014 4:25 am
Hi bug man, this flew into our house, i have never seen anything like it, could you please tell me what it is.
We believe this is a Crane Fly in the family Tipulidae. There are some images on the Brisbane Insect site that look similar.
Subject: “Tipulidae” from Australia
February 22, 2014 11:52 am
on Feb. Feb.20, 2014 “Tara” posted an isect from New South Wales, Australia. You answered that this might be a crane fly / Tipulidae, but if you look at the wing venation it is evident that this insect does not belong to the Diptera at all, it’s Hymenoptera. It’ another parasitic Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae or Braconidae. You may compare the wing venation of a Tipulidae here: http://www.metafysica.nl/nature/insect/hennig1954_7.jpg
Kind regards Erwin
Signature: Erwin Beyer
Thanks Erwin. Because of an earlier comment, we have already addressed this error, and we will add your comment to the posting.
Letter 15 – Unidentified Ichneumon from Pacific Northwest
Subject: Ichneumon in Pacific Northwest
Location: Lacey, Washington (Southwestern Washington )
June 30, 2014 6:33 pm
I used whatsthatbug.com to identify some new visitors to my front yard. After finding in your 2008 archives what appears to be the same wasp as I have, I would like to share some photos with you to share if you wish.
Thank you for sending additional images of this still unidentified Ichneumon from the Pacific Northwest.
Letter 16 – Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Metamorphoses into Chrysalis: Ichneumon Emerges!!!
this was supposed to be a black swallowtail butterfly
Location: southwest ohio
August 11, 2010 4:19 pm
i found a black swallowtail caterpillar,
(found that on your site) in my front yard. a few days later it put itself in a cacoon or chrysalis. yesterday i noticed something flying in the container but it was way to small to be my butterfly. WHAT IS THIS??????????
By all outward appearances, your Black Swallowtail had begun its metamorphosis into a chrysalis and things should have culminated in the emergence of a butterfly, but while it was still a caterpillar, your individual was parasitized by a type of wasp known as an Ichneumon. We quickly identified the adult Ichneumon that you photographed as Trogus pennator, which BugGuide indicates “is a parasitoid of swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae), ovipositing in the caterpillars.“ The female Ichneumon lays a solitary egg inside the caterpillar using her stingerlike ovipositor. BugGuide has a nice series of images documenting this process. The Ichneumon Larva develops inside the the caterpillar, feeding upon its internal organs and allowing it to pupate into a chrysalis. At some point hidden from view, the Ichneumon Larva undergoes its own metamorphosis into a pupa, eventually emerging as an adult wasp and chewing its way out of the chrysalis through an irregular hole. The adult butterfly will not emerge once it has been parasitized. BugGuide also has a photo that illustrates that action. Back in the seventeenth century in Germany, artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian became one of the first people to notice and document insect metamorphosis at a time when the accepted theory was spontaneous generation. Maria Sibylla Merian observed that caterpillars formed pupae and emerged as moths and butterflies as part of a natural process of metamorphosis, but she was puzzled that some caterpillars did not metamorphose in a typical manner, emerging instead as flies or wasps. She documented this puzzle in her intricate drawings which were published in a two volume book known as Caterpillars, Their Wondrous Transformation and Peculiar Nourishment from Flowers or simply The Caterpillar Book. You should be able to see the hole in the chrysalis. As a point of clarification, butterflies do not form a cocoon as their pupae are bare. A cocoon is usually spun of silk to cover a naked pupa. Most moths form a cocoon to protect the pupa.
Letter 17 – Cocoon of an Ichneumon
Beautiful egg or chrysalis
Location: Cherokee County, NC
August 23, 2010 5:28 pm
I’ve seen these things every now and then, but I’ve never been able to find an image(or identification for that matter) of them online.
The ”capsule” was hanging from a thread about an inch long that was fastened to the underside of a privet leaf. It reminds me of a lacewing’s egg, but I’ve never seen one this color, and image searches proved to be useless as well. I figure that it could possibly be some sort of chrysalis, but it’s rather small and seems to be fairly smooth.
Any ID or some pointers leading to an ID is greatly appreciated. I love checking in on the site every day or two to see what’s new.
We opened your photo and letter the other day, and we were pressed for time and we didn’t know where to begin with your identification. Today, we were trying to identify an Ichneumon image that was sent to us and we stumbled across this posting on BugGuide that is identified as the Cocoon of an Ichneumon in the subfamily Campopleginae. Bingo, that was your cocoon. Please excuse the late response. We identified this mystery quite by accident and then we had to go through old mail to locate your letter. Luckily the subject line was memorable. Here is the comment Charley Elseman posted to BugGuide: “One of many subfamilies of ichneumonids. Most other ichneumonids form cocoons within their hosts, or at least within their hosts’ cocoons, and as far as I know none have fancy patterns like this. I think that many different campoplegines make cocoons with a pattern reminiscent of this one, but only a few suspend them from a string like this. Bob Carlson may be able to say something more specific about it.” Bob Patterson wrote this comment: “See the page on Parasites, Predators and Parasitoids at MPG. There is no doubt equivalent and even better material to be found here at BugGuide.“
Thanks for the identification! That link to BugGuide helped ID some of the little wasps that have been sneaking around the house lately on top of helping to ID the cocoon.
Letter 18 – Future Ichneumons will benefit
Thanks for the great site. I have a cabin in Northern Michigan, and over the past couple of years, I have noticed a very large strange looking insects which I have not been able to identify in any bug book that I have looked at…but I did find it on your site, along with a lot of very informative information. The insects were giant ichneumon. Unfortunate to say though, there were several on the one tree, and with having small kids around, a bug that size that looked like a wasp, was met with a dose of wasp spray. I wish that I had read your articles earlier, and finding out that they are harmless, they could have provided some interesting viewing, expecially after knowing that they did not sting. Thanks for the great site, keep it up and running, as it is definatly one of the most informative bug sites that I have found. Sam
Thanks for your kind letter Sam. Future Ichneumons thank you as well.
Letter 19 – Ichneumon
What is this?
Our 3 1/2 year old son Jacob found this in our wood pile today (4/11) and we have no idea what it is. We live in Northern California.
Sara & Jacob Ysunza
Hi Sara and Jacob,
This is an Ichneumon. Ichnuemons are nonstinging relatives of wasps. The female uses her long ovipositor to deposit eggs into the host insect. Many Ichneumons parasitize wood boring insects, hence her presence in a wood pile. Our guess is that this is a species of Arotes.
Letter 20 – Ichneumon
Redish-brown flying insect, looks somewhat like a wasp, but with no stiner or visible mandibles
Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 4:43 AM
We live in the Puget Sound area in Washington state on Whidbey Island. It rains often, is overcast when it isn’t raining, and it is to be expected that there’ll be bugs trying to enter the home to escape the water.
We found this bug in our hallway after walking the dog around 4 in the morning. It’s been unusually cold for this time of year, and has been raining for the past 3 days.
We captured the bug between a cup and saucer and took this photo, afterwards we released it into the bushes outside the apartment.
Whidbey Island, Puget Sound Area of Washington State
Dear Apartment Dweller,
This is an Ichneumon. Ichneumons are a group of parasitic wasps that prey upon different insects. This may be a male Ichneumon which would explain the lack of a stinger. Many female Ichneumons, especially in the genus Megarhyssa, have highly developed ovipositors, some up to five inches long. These organs are needed to locate wood burrowing larvae that serve as food for the young. Other Ichneumons have much smaller ovipositors. This is a large confusing group of insects, and we rarely attempt to make specific species or genus identification attempts.
Letter 21 – Ichneumon
Unknown bug pictures included
Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 6:26 AM
We are finding these bugs at our house. A few weeks ago we found 2 very small bugs (babies) that flew into the house. They appeared to be attreacted to lampshades or light fixtures. We are now seeing larger ones outside hanging out on the outside of our sliding glass door and windows. This particular bug is 3/4 of an inch from tip of ‘tail’ to tip of anntenae. They look like ants with wings, but with long anttenae and a possible stinger from the back portion. It is straight and does not ever appear curved or fluid in movement. We are not seeing a tremendous amount, and only one at a time seems to be around.
This is an Ichneumon, a family of parasitic wasps that prey on a variety of host insects and arthropods. Ichneumons will not harm you nor your home, and they are important biological controls for keeping insect populations in check. We believe your example may be in the genus Pimpla as evidenced by images posted to BugGuide.
Letter 22 – Ichneumon
October 5, 2009
Dear Bugman, I am resubmitting this tiny wasp from july 30, 2009. After sending it to Bugguide, it was identified on Oct. 4, as Messatoporus rufiventris. I thought it ironic, that she should stand on the ISBN of an insect identification book. I have an old camera with no macro. So the photos aren’t the best. Thanks for looking.
Thanks so much for resubmitting your images of an Ichneumon after it has been properly identified on BugGuide.
Letter 23 – Ichneumon
Unknown possible bee?
May 28, 2010
I found this bug in my kitchen on a wooded mountain in northern Maryland a few evenings ago. It has transparent folded wings that aren’t visible in the picture. It’s between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch long. Its patterns are very beautiful and have great contrast, and it has a small black eye surrounded by white on each side of its head as well as black and white stripes on a sort of yellowish body. I’ve never seen this bug before that I remember. I’m really not sure what it is. I’d appreciate any info. you could offer.
Thanks so much!
This is an Ichneumon Wasp, and we believe we have identified it as Messatoporus discoidalis on BugGuide, though Ichneumons are notoriously difficult to identify. Ichneumons are parasitoid wasps, and according to BugGuide, depending upon the species, their prey includes: “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.” If our identification is correct, your Ichneumon is in the tribe Cryptini, and according to BugGuide: “Cryptini search for hosts primarily among foliage (rather than in the soil or ground litter) and have larger average size.“
Letter 24 – Ichneumon
Crazy looking flying ant-like creature
Location: Victoria, B.C.
June 23, 2011 11:02 pm
Found this in the mid-spring. It was just sitting on these blossoms for hours. I saw another one of them but way smaller. So I thought perhaps this is a queen or something. But if you can see, it has a very long needle thing out the back end of it. It looks like a flying ant but very unique qualities. I really want to know what this is! Thank you in advance.
Signature: Well Done!
Dear Well Done!,
This is some species of Icheumon, though we are uncertain of he species. Ichneumons are parasitic relatives of wasps and bees. The long stinger is an ovipositor that is an organ the female uses to lay eggs. Ichneumons are parasitic on a variety of insects.
Letter 25 – Ichneumon
Bug on my window
Location: Chicago, IL (downtown)
April 8, 2012 6:59 pm
I live on the 19th floor of my apartment building in downtown Chicago. I saw this bug on my window and decided it was best not to open the window given that I have no screens. Is this thing venomous? Do you know what it is?
This is a species of parasitic Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, a large family whose members are known as Ichnuemons or Ichneumon Wasps. The female is identified by her long ovipositor, an organ that has been adapted into a stinger in many species of bees and wasps, though most species of Ichneumons are not capable of stinging humans. The ovipositor in Ichneumons is used to deposit eggs in or near the bodies of the host prey for the larva, and in the case of the Stump Stabbers that have an ovipositor as long as five inches, this involves drilling into dead and dying wood to locate the wood boring larvae of Wood Wasps, their sole host. Ichneumons can be very difficult to identify to the species level, but we believe your species might be Coleocentrus rufus which we found on BugGuide. The genus page for Coleocentrus rufus on BugGuide states: “hosts unknown for most NA spp. (a lepturine reported for C. flavipes),” and that may mean that the host for your species is also a wood boring beetle larva in the Longhorned Borer family Cerambycidae, subfamily Lepturinae.
Letter 26 – Ichneumon
Subject: With butterflies come biological controls…
Location: Winnipeg MB
June 3, 2012 10:02 am
As much as we humans love butterflies, so do other insects – as food. This ichneumon was found in my small plastic greenhouse, which works as a spectacular bug trap. I identified it in Bugguide as Trogus pennator, a swallowtail caterpillar parasite.
Signature: Bugophile in Winnipeg
Dear Bugophile in Winnipeg,
We commend you on your identification. Ichneumons are a diverse and varied group of parasitic wasps and they are not easy to identify and we are linking to the BugGuide page for the species. We also have photos in our archive of a Trogus pennator that emerged from a Black Swallowtail Chrysalis. Thanks for sending us your photograph.
Letter 27 – Ichneumon
Subject: five eyed bug
Location: Northern Vermont
September 30, 2012 8:15 pm
I shot this photo on the siding at night by the light. It seems to have five eyes and an ant-like body. By the shadow, it looks like it has an ant-like mandible as well.
Signature: Kathryn W.
This is an Ichneumon, a type of parasitoid wasp that belongs to a large family that is often difficult to identify to the species level. According to BugGuide, there are: “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates(3)).”
Letter 28 – Ichneumon
Subject: Nighttime waspy thing?!
Location: Southern New Jersey just outside of Philadelphia
April 30, 2013 9:28 pm
Hello bugman! I have these annoying, non-aggressive wasp type bugs all over our property. I usually only find them at night, except for the occasional one that sneaks inside. I caught one the other day and he tried continuously to sting the paper towel, with what resembled a small stinger on his back end. They aren’t aggressive, they seem very unintelligent, and they are very thin in that there isn’t much matter to them. They are a reddish brown see-through color, with clear wings outlined in the same body color. I’ve found several different sizes of them as well. I’ve never seen or heard of a wasp being active at night, so I’m baffled as to what this could be! Southern NJ just outside Philadelphia, warm days(60-70º), cool spring nights(50-60º). Started noticing them last year around this time, lasting through the summer and warmer months of Fall. Any info you could give would be GREATLY APPRECIATED! Thank you 🙂 (this picture i s zoomed in very close)
Signature: Annoyed in NJ
Dear Annoyed in NJ,
This is some species of Ichneumon, a member of a very large family of parasitic wasps. Some species are attracted to lights at night. See BugGuide for additional information on this family including this tidbit of information: “About 5,000 described species in North America, 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).”
Thank you so much for the information and quick response! I look forward to learning more about these little buggers!
Letter 29 – Ichneumon
Can you help me identify this skyscraper bug???
I spotted this interesting bug on the outside of a window on the 39th floor of a skyscraper in downtown Chicago. Is it an Ichneumon? It was not very large, maybe and inch and a half in length (including the stinger/ovipositer). I can’t seem to find out exactly what it is, and the fact that it was so high up on the building has me stumped. I see spiders in abundance outside the windows at certain times of the year, but never anything like this.
This is the best photo we have received in a long long time. Yes, it is an Ichnuemon.
Letter 30 – Ichneumon
Subject: What the..
Location: Vancouver, bc Canada
September 2, 2013 10:58 am
My friend is in Vancouver and she found this beauty in her house. I looked all over this site and the closest I came to it was the short tailed ichneumon.
We agree that this is an Ichneumon.
Letter 31 – Ichneumon
Subject: found this on m kitchen table
Location: Southern California
February 20, 2014 8:41 pm
my son was eating lunch when I noticed this little beauty on my table! It is about 1 inch long, tip of antenna to end of abdomen. Six legs, two sets of wings. So beautiful! I have never seen these in my area before!
This parasitic Ichneumon Wasp is in the subfamily Ophioninae and you may read more about them on BugGuide. This is one group that is frequently attracted to lights, and though we generally inform our readers that Ichneumons are harmless, we learned several years ago that this group is known to sting. According to BugGuide: “Females have a very compressed abdomen and a short, very sharp ovipositor. The ovipositor can penetrate the human skin; most other ichneumons can’t ‘sting’.”
Letter 32 – Ichneumon
Subject: Unknown wasp species?
Location: Shenandoah National Park (Madison, VA)
March 16, 2014 9:50 am
Hi there – we ran across this guy in the Shenandoah National Park in the state of Virginia, very near a small mountain stream. We tried to look around on the computer, but couldn’t find a definitive answer and the curiosity is pretty intense now ;). Any folks out there know what this is?
Signature: Curious Virginian
Dear Curious Virginian,
The best we can provide for you at this time is a family name. This is an Ichneumon Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae. According to BugGuide, there are: “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.” Even if we were able to locate a similar looking individual by browsing through BugGuide, it would most likely require an expert to definitively determine the correct species.
Letter 33 – Ichneumon
Subject: Slow flying wasp/dragonfly hybrid?
Location: Sammamish, WA
July 14, 2014 4:19 pm
Dear Bugman, we found this flying beauty in iut kitchen today. He/She is approx 2.5″ long in the body with slightly smaller wingspan and a 3″ long stingy stinger looking thing hanging from its rear end. Very beautiful and flies rather slow. Body is black and white with clear wings and bright orangish yellow legs (long and lanky legs with interesting joints). We contained it long enough to take a few photos and some video then let it free outside. Any guess on what it is- I’ve never seen one before?
Signature: The Joyce family
Dear Joyce family,
This is a Parasitic Ichneumon Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, and according to BugGuide, there are: “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.” We believe we have correctly identified your Ichneumon as Rhyssa lineolata based on this image posted to BugGuide.
Letter 34 – Ichneumon
Subject: What is this???
Location: South Texas
October 22, 2014 10:42 pm
I see these bugs all over my door at night where I live. What is it?? Do they bite/sting? Help..
Signature: Hannah Gohlke
This is an Ichneumon, a member of a large and diverse family of parasitic wasps. Most Ichneumons are harmless, but some are capable of stinging, and this does appear to be on of those Ichneumons that sting.
Letter 35 – Ichneumon
Subject: Weird Red Flying Insect
Location: Mill Creek, WA, USA
February 8, 2015 11:12 pm
Hi! I saw this bug quite a while ago on the side of my house. I just learned about your website so I thought I’d send in my pic! I hope you can help!!
This is an Ichneumon, a parasitic wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, which according to BugGuide has: “About 5,000 described species in North America, 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). Your individual looks very similar to this member of the genus Ophion from Idaho that is pictured on BugGuide.”
Letter 36 – Ichneumon
Subject: Random Washington bug… I guess
Location: Western Washington
March 10, 2015 9:38 pm
So sometime this last late fall/early winter was the first time I saw this bug. later it they started appearing whenever we would leave the door or a window open. My moms first reaction was to kill it so it took a while for me to even be able to catch one. when i caught the one in the photo I couldn’t get a clear photo of it. so i released it in the bathroom and took a few pictures of it then opened the window. when i looked back at the bug it was gone. i found it like a few mins later on the sink ether paralyzed or dead don’t really know which cause my mom found it before i could get another thing to hold it in and she killed it -_-
This is a parasitic wasp known as an Ichneumon. For many years we thought that Ichneumons were incapable of stinging humans, but we later learned that one particular group of Ichneumons in the genus Ophion can sting. According to Nature.com: “while Ophion is one of the few Ichneumonidæ which are known to sting, and while a small, narrow poison sac has been detected in a few species of that immense family, none has been recorded in Ophion luteus. But whereas the sting is followed in every instance by considerable inflammation and pain, such as would not be the effect of the mere stab of a needle, it seems almost certain that some irritant is injected into the wound, possibly for the purpose of paralysing the fly’s legitimate victim, as in the case of the hunting-wasps.” According to BugGuide: “They are often attracted to artificial lights.” We believe your Ichneumon is in the genus Ophion. We have tried unsuccessfully to convince folks that Crane Flies do NOT sting, and we believe they have been mistaking these Ichneumons for Crane Flies.
Letter 37 – Ichneumon
April 15, 2016 7:12 am
We found this bug but not familiar with it
Signature: Ryan duthu
Your wasp is a parasitic Ichneumon. According to BugGuide, there are: “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.”
Letter 38 – Female Stump Stabber missing her ovipositor
Subject: Never saw this one
May 31, 2016 5:10 pm
My son happened to find this interesting looking flying bug. It was buzzing along the grass. Not sure if it was injured. Any idea?
Signature: Sincerely, Mike from Philly
Dear Mike from Philly,
We can tell you that this is a parasitic Ichneumon Wasp, but we are having trouble conclusively identifying it to the species level, so we have contacted Eric Eaton and explained out doubts. The yellow antennae and shape of the abdomen rule out a male Megarhyssa atrata which is pictured on BugGuide and Beetles in the Bush, and all the examples of Therion morio on BugGuide have black heads. What this Ichneumon looks most like to us is a female Stump Stabber, Megarhyssa atrata, but with a missing ovipositor, a condition we could not really explain. See this BugGuide image for comparison. We will get back to you when we hear from Eric Eaton.
Definitely agree with you that it closely resembles the female stump stabbed after doing a little more research on the Internet. But why no ovipositor? Can it become disconnected when/after laying its eggs? Could a bird have eaten just that part of it? Hopefully Mr. Eaton has an idea.
Thank you so much for responding to me. Can’t wait to tell my son. Keep me posted.
Eric Eaton Confirms our suspicions
This is a *female* M. atrata that has lost her ovipositor. Sometimes they get “stuck” while in operation, and/or the wasp needed to flee a potential predator. I have frequently found ovipositors lodged in logs or stumps, the wasp having been consumed by a predator while in the act of laying eggs.
Thanks for the confirmation Eric.
I have heard that sometimes the females get stuck while ovipositing and cannot withdraw, dying in the act. Is that also true?
Letter 39 – Ichneumon
Subject: Unidentified wasp
Location: Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Southern Quebec
November 11, 2016 11:07 am
I found a wasp at the Ecomuseum, in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, southern Quebec, on the third of october. I made some researches and came up with 3 species names. Do you think you could correctly identify it based on the picture?
Thank you so much!
This is a parasitic Ichneumon Wasp, a member of a very large family with many similar looking individuals. This white striped antennae pattern is common in the family, and there are many similar looking species on the Parasitica, Ichneumon wasps, Ichneumonidae site, including an image identified as Coelichneumon sinister. BugGuide has an image identified as Coelichneumon barnstoni that also looks very similar. Alas, we cannot be certain of its species identification.
Letter 40 – Ichneumon
Horntail? (Kirkland, WA)
I have two, sometimes three of these, everyday, on the south facing windows. On the inside. Have not seen these insects around the home in previous years, but two events may explain (aside from the season). The first is the neighbor’s house was destrpyed by fire, the second I have had the torch down roof replaced. Now some of these insects I see each day have an ovipositor and some like this one pictured, don’t. And then again, some have an orange banding around their bodies and not yellow … and there appears to be an armored shell. The picture was taken using a Nikon Coolpix 775. The insect is in a glass jar. Wasps or horntails?
This appears to be a male Ichneumon. Females have the long ovipositors. Eggs are laid deep inside dead and dying trees since the larval food is wood boring insects. Ichneumons are related to wasps. Eric Eaton added the following: ” Oh, that male ichneumon could be a female. Not all female ichneumons have a long ovipositor. In fact, most don’t.”
Letter 41 – Ichneumon
Subject: Creepy bug
Location: New Jersey Pine Barrens
July 16, 2017 4:12 pm
I found this bug in the shower stalls at my camp and it didn’t bother me, but I have not been able to identify it and would really like to know what it is. I found it in the summer in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
We believe we have correctly identified your parasitoid Ichneumon as Xorides stigmapterus thanks to this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide of the genus: “hosts: wood-boring beetles, especially Buprestidae and Cerambycidae.”
Letter 42 – Ichneumon
Subject: Tiny and Friendly… Wasp?
Geographic location of the bug: Greensboro, North Carolina U.S.A.
Time: 01:19 PM EDT
I found this small, winged insect in my bathroom sink this morning. At first I thought he was dead, but when I put my finger in front of him he crawled onto my fingernail. I took him outside where he cleaned himself off, investigated my hand, and eventually flew away. To give you an idea of his size, that’s my pinky finger that he’s perched on. I’ve tried to identify him for the past hour with no luck. He seems to have the body shape of some of the spider wasps I’ve found on the Internet, but his size and coloring doesn’t match. Any help putting a name to my new “friend” would be wonderfully appreciated!
How you want your letter signed: Thank you so much, Corey
Letter 43 – Ichneumon
bright red legs, bright blue body….what is it?
Hello Mr Bugman Sir,
I know you are busy what with this being summer but curiousity about this guy (girl?) is just too much to take!!! Seriously I am attempting to ID it myself and instead have made myself aware of way too many spooky creatures out there! Please pretty please look at my picture! Ok enough begging. Although his coloring is a bit drab now, when alive his legs were bright crimson and the body parts were a shimmery bright blue. He has two long curling (Suess-like) antennae and two stingers? trailing from the back end. These started flying during May sometime into our house in Victoria, B.C. ‘Course I am hoping that they are termites or carpenter ants – they don’t fit the description from what I can determine. Please tell me they are something innocuous and just plain pretty, made by Mother Nature.
Thanks, in advance, for your consideration.
We turned to Eric Eaton for more information on your species of Ichneumon. He wrote back telling us that except for Meharhyssa and Arotes it is nearly impossible to identify the genus and species of Ichneumons from photos. These are beneficial relatives of wasps that lay eggs and parasitize many types of destructive insects including caterpillars and borers.
Letter 44 – Ichneumon
weird flying orange antennae big bug in Canada
Hi. Awesome website!
I checked through and can’t find this weird flying bug with a black body (that it holds flipped up, over its head – although the 2nd pic I did get in normal position), and orange antennae. I’m always photographing butterflies and bugs and love their beauty, however I have to admit this ‘thing’ scared me! It’s about 2-3 inches long, and I had never before seen it in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. Many thanks
We thought this was a male Ichneumon in the genus Megarhyssa, but we were wrong. See Below.
Many thanks. If it’s any help: when my sister and I first spotted it: it looked like it had just wings and antennae, like it was trying to stuff its body into the crack in the tree. (weird). Then it had it flipped over its back most of the time, and only for one ‘wiggle’ did it appear normal, then back to this position. Looking forward to your reply. Best regards,
Eric Eaton set us straight. Here is what he wrote: “Hi, Daniel: That is an ichneumon wasp, but NOT a Megarhyssa. We have images over at Bugguide identified as Gnamptopelta obsidianator, but I don’t know any more than that. Females of that species lack the long ovipositors.
Letter 45 – Ichneumon
What’s THIS bug?
This bug appeared on my desk tonight and we’ve never seen one like this before. What made me take notice of it most was the white midsection on the dark coloured antennae. I apologize for the quality of the photos but our digital camera won’t take good closeups. This is the best I could do. One photo was taken while the bug was sitting on a white envelope and the other two were taken with it sitting on the beige wallpaper. The bug is about an inch long if you count in the antennae. He flies from one light to another or sits on the wall next to the light. I’d appreciate knowing what it is. I looked on your website but, not knowing what type of bug to look up, I’d have to look at every listing there. Since I have dialup and not high speed, that would take forever. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I hope this thing doesn’t bite because we’ve chosen to let him fly free. If he lands on me, I may change my mind on that though!
Fredericton, New Brunswick
This is an Ichneumon. Ichneumons are an important group of insects that parasitize caterpillars, wood boring insects, aphids and others. Ichneumons are related to wasps, but they do not sting. BugGuide has identified your group of Ichneumons in a very general sense according to color: Black/White w Orange legs, Dot on Back, White on Antennae. BugGuide also indicates that Ichneumonidae is: “One of the largest families of insects with over 3100 species in North America (60,000 worldwide). The majority resemble slender wasps. They differ from the wasps that sting (Scolioidea, Vespoidea and Sphecoidea) in that they have the antennae longer and with more segments usually 16 or more). In many ichneumons the ovipositor is quite long, often longer than the body. It is divided into 24 or 35 subfamilies depending on different authors.. Many Ichneumons are of value in the control of noxious insects. “
Letter 46 – Ichneumon
Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 4:03 PM
We found 5 or 6 of these guys in our house over the past 24 hours. It’s a 6 legged insect with wings and a longish ‘stinger’ tail. I took a picture and found it to have very large ‘eyes’ and long antennae. We’re wondering if this bug is common (we’ve never seen it before) and if we should be worried about it with our pets? Any help would be appreciated!
Northern Ontario, Canada
While we cannot say for sure that this is Pimpla instigator, we are fairly confident that it is an Ichneumon in the Subfamily Pimplinae. BugGuide does not provide much information on this subfamily, but Ichneumons are parasitic on insects and other arthropods, and will not harm humans or their pets.
Letter 47 – Ichneumon from Australia
Subject: What is it?
Location: Southwest Western Australia (Leschenault Inlet)
December 24, 2014 8:12 pm
Hi! I’m trying to determine what type of insect this is. At first glance it looks like a giant mosquito, but then I started researching and thought it could be a crane fly, or maybe a lacewing? No idea, but it’s driving me crazy not knowing!
Mistaking this Ichneumon for a Crane Fly is understandable. Ichneumons are parasitic wasp that comprise one of the largest families of creatures on our planet. Ichneumons are considered to be harmless to humans, though some species are capable of stinging.
Letter 48 – Ichneumon, we believe
Subject: Unidentified wasp?
Location: Fannie, Ark.
August 25, 2014 8:57 am
Found and photographed a couple of days ago in Montgomery County, Arkansas. I think its a wasp but would like to know what kind. Thank you.
Signature: Bill Burton
We believe this is a Parasitic Wasp in the family Ichneumonidae, a large and diverse family. According to BugGuide: “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed(2); arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates.” It looks very similar to this image of Saranaca elegans posted to BugGuide. According to BugGuide, the larval food is the caterpillar of “Darapsa myron”, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx is found in Arkansas. We may be way off base with the species, but we are confident that we have at least gotten the family identification correct.
Letter 49 – Ichneumon from British Columbia
Subject: Kids study
Location: Lower Mainland Bc Canada
November 10, 2016 4:36 pm
I have a son very interested in learning about animals and bugs and insects. he is always on the look out in my backyard for something new to discover. Today he found a bug I had never seen and we wondered if you could help and identify it for us. I have attached a picture. M
This is a female Ichneumon Wasp, a parasitoid that preys upon insects and other arthropods and is generally very prey specific. This is a large family with over 5000 identified species in North America and an additional estimated 3000 species according to BugGuide. Based on this BugGuide image, also from British Columbia, we suspect it might be Pimpla sanguinipes.
Letter 50 – Ichneumon, but what species
Spider wasp? Fly? What is this? I’m stumped
Location: Seminole, Oklahoma
August 5, 2010 2:52 pm
I spent about an hour looking through photos of flies and wasps, sawflies and I never found anything that matched this little guy. It was probably about 3/4” long and moved very much like a spider wasp, but did pause for my picture, presumably to figure out what the heck my intentions were. Thanks again!
This is a Parasitic Hymenopteran in the superfamily Ichneumonoidea which contains the Ichneumons and Braconids. As you can see from BugGuide, this is an extensive subfamily. We browsed the possibilities and we found a very close match with the genus Lanugo on BugGuide. It does not seem exact, but it is quite close.
Letter 51 – Ichneumon, but which species??? Dolichomitus irritator!!!
Subject: it looks like a damselfly
Location: Ottawa Ontario
June 24, 2012 10:54 pm
Ive never seen a damselfly like this before especially with the three prongs from the end. The wings and head really resemble the typical damselfly here in Canada. However from looking through images on this site I dont see it. Can you help me figure out what it is
The quality of your photo is poor and the dead creature is missing a head, but we believe this is an Ichneumon, a species of parasitic wasp. It most resembles the genus Megarhyssa, however, the coloration is not typical of the species we are familiar with in that genus. See this photo from BugGuide for a nice view of the three pronged ovipositor of Megarhyssa nortoni. We hope to get a second opinion from Eric Eaton. Can you provide any size information?
Eric Eaton provides an identification!!!
Assuming this is from the U.S. or Canada, I would bet on Dolichomitus irritator:
They get pretty large in their own right.
That species name “irritator” is very suggestive.
Letter 52 – Ichneumon, but which species?
Subject: Please tell me what this is
Geographic location of the bug: NJ
Time: 10:01 PM EDT
Can you please tell me what this is, and please tell me it isn’t dangerous?
How you want your letter signed: J25
We believe this is an Ichneumon, but we would not eliminate the possibility that it might be the other family within Ichneumonoidea, Braconidae. In a quick and unsuccessful attempt to identify it, we searched BugGuide, but a more thorough search will take much more time than we have right now. We suspect this Ichneumon is the victim of Unnecessary Carnage.
Letter 53 – Ichneumon from Canada
Subject: Unknown (to me) bug
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
June 12, 2014 4:21 pm
I was walking in the woods near my house and I came across this bug. I’ve never seen a bug like this before, and I’m curious to find out what it is. A friend of mine suggested that it was a mahogany wasp, but I don’t think this is quite right because the wings are clear, it’s more of a bright red, and the bottom didn’t seem to have a stinger. I hope you’ll be able to tell me what it is, thanks!
This is some species of Ichneumon, a member of one of the largest insect families on the planet. Ichneumons are parasitic on other insects and arthropods.
Letter 54 – Ichneumon from England
Subject: we didnt know what this was?
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire, England
November 12, 2013 10:49 am
we found it on a window in college on the 12 of November 2013 and we have no idea what this is,people were afraid because of the sting on it!! but i managed to get a close photo of it please get back soon
Signature: however you prefer
This is some species of Parasitic Hymenopteran, most likely an Ichneumon.
Letter 55 – Ichneumon from England
Subject: Found this at home,
April 5, 2014 12:05 am
I saw this little “bug” at home inside our toilet area….it wasn’t till I zoomed in I saw the yellow dots everywhere…
Signature: Doesn’t matter
Dear Doesn’t matter,
We quickly identified your parasitic Ichneumon Wasp as Ichneumon stramentor thanks to a photo posted on Parasitica (scroll down), and we confirmed that identification on Paws for Wildlife where we learned: “Larva – parasitise the Large Yellow Underwing and Setaceous Hebrew Character caterpillars (possibly others).”
Letter 56 – Ichneumon enters home and startles man!!!
Subject: Huge Bug on Mirror
Location: Vancouver, BC.
July 1, 2014 5:06 pm
I’m trying to figure out what this is- it was in my friend’s house today and its HUGE! It looks like its some sort of Mantis or something- Any ideas?
The look on your face is quite startled. This is some species of Ichneumon, a family of Parasitoid Wasps that are not aggressive, though we have occasionally gotten reports from folks who have been stung. Female Ichneumons lay eggs on or near specific insect or arthropod hosts and the larval Ichneumon feeds on the host insect, eventually killing it. We are unable to determine the species of Ichneumon that entered your friend’s home. According to BugGuide, the family Ichneumonidae: “About 5,000 described species in North America, 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).”
Letter 57 – Ichneumon from Australia
Subject: Unknown flying insect Australia
Location: Melbourne, Australia
February 13, 2013 6:31 pm
I don’t want to overload you guys with questions, so I hope this second bug in as many days isn’t too much. I used to see these things all over the place in summer, but now they’ve become reasonably rare around here. I tried searching for it on the ’Down Under’ tag, but it doesn’t seem to exist in the first 60 pages.
The females of this insect seem to have massive ovipositors, but that’s about all I know of them, besides a happy affinity to spend all day flying hopelessly against glass windows.
Even if you don’t get around to looking at this, thanks very much for the site — you’ve done a great job with it.
Signature: Thanks, Tasha
This appears to us to be an Ichneumon, a type of Parasitic Wasp. Sorry, no time right not for additional research.
Thank you for your fast response. If you do have time at a later point, I would be very interested to know what it’s parasitic to. Otherwise, thank you very much for your time, and I hope things go well for you!
Hi again Tasha,
Without knowing the species of Ichneumon, it would be impossible to determine the host. According to the North American website BugGuide, they feed upon: “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.” Some common host insects include caterpillars, beetles and the larvae of wood boring wasps.
Thank you again,
Now that I know what to look for, I think it’s the Orange Caterpillar Parasite — Netelia Producta. It seems most prevalent in Queensland (which is probably why trawling for ‘orange wasp Victoria’ didn’t help), but it appears it can come this far south, after I found record of a few sightings of it in Melbourne.
Have a wonderful time, and keep up the great work on the site,
Letter 58 – Ichneumon from Austria
Subject: Beautiful nightly visitor
May 23, 2012 5:12 pm
I’ve just been visited by one of the most beautiful insects I have ever seen and wanted to ask you if you could identify my nightly guest?
One strange thing I noticed is it had what seemed like three extra eyes on the top of its head right between the two big eyes, on the base of its antennas.
A pretty exciting sight, I don’t see such exotic looking insects around here very often.
Greetings from Austria,
We really enjoy getting requests from people who think insects are beautiful that other folks might find repulsive. This Ichneumon is a parasitic wasp that preys upon other insects and arthropods. The female lays her eggs within the host by using an ovipositor. Some wasps have evolved so that the ovipositor has adapted into a stinger and many Ichneumons have very long ovipositors. A group of North American Ichneumons in the genus Megarhyssa can have ovipositors as long as five inches in length and they are known as Stump Stabbers since the female uses her ovipositor to lay her eggs in wood that is infested with wood boring insects.
Letter 59 – Ichneumon from Canada
Subject: What is this pretty bug?
Location: Toronto, Ontario
July 9, 2017 4:43 pm
I found this pretty bug flying around my bush and I don’t recall ever seeing one before. It’s purplish wings were really pretty in the sunlight. Could you please identify it for me?
The long antennae on this magnificent wasp caused us to correctly speculate it must be an Ichneumon, and we quickly identified it on BugGuide as Trogus pennator. According to BugGuide: “Trogus pennator is a parasitoid of swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae), ovipositing in the caterpillars. The solitary larva develops inside the caterpillar, allowing it to pupate before killing it. After metamorphosing, the adult wasp chews an irregular hole in the chrysalis to escape.”
Letter 60 – Ichneumon from Canada
Subject: Flying beetle????
Geographic location of the bug: Cochrane, Alberta Canada
Time: 03:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Saw this walking along our window (inside)
How you want your letter signed: Tracey
Those antennae lead us to believe that this is some species of Ichneumon, a family of parasitoid Wasps whose larvae feed on the internal organs of host-specific Arachnids and immature insects including Caterpillars, Beetle grubs and larvae of wood boring Wasps. This is an enormous family with according to BugGuide: “~5,000 described spp. in almost 500 genera in the Nearctic Region, possibly 3,000 more undescribed.” We doubt it is your species because it is not reported as far north or west, but your individual does resemble Limonethe maurator which is pictured on BugGuide.
Letter 61 – Ichneumon from England
Location: Poole England
September 18, 2012 11:41 am
This was found in back garden yesterday – what is it please?
This is an Ichneumon Wasp, but our initial search did not turn up any matching images online. Ichneumons are a large family of wasps that are parasitic on other arthropods, and each species of Ichneumon is generally very specific about its prey. Ichneumons can be very difficult to identify to the species level. Though this is not your species, you might enjoy reading this account on the Sutton Park Natural History website.
Letter 62 – Ichneumon from England
Subject: Orange big with glass like wings??
September 8, 2015 4:58 am
I found this bug in my bathroom today and thought it was just so pretty! I wish i just knew what it was… any ideas?
Signature: From tegan xx
Dear tegan xx,
This is an Ichneumon, a type of parasitic wasp. Many species are attracted to lights, which is why we suspect it was found in your bathroom. Your individual reminds us of Ophion obscuratus which is pictured on iSpot.
Letter 63 – Ichneumon from New Zealand
Hi Bug Man,
We found this wasp like insect today. We have never seen anything like it. Hope you can tell us something about it. The first photo is taken up against a yellow lighter that is 8cm long. Looking forward to hearing from you. Many thanks and best wishes,
This is a species of Ichneumon. Ichneumons are parasitic wasps. Many lay eggs deep inside wood where the host wood-boring insects live.
Letter 64 – Ichneumon from Portugal
Subject: What´s that bug
Geographic location of the bug: Portugal
Time: 10:31 AM EDT
Can you please help on identify this bug ?
How you want your letter signed: Pedro Santos
This is a parasitoid Ichneumon and it looks similar to Ophion luteus which is pictured on Wildscreen Arkive. We are postdating your submission to go live to our site later in the month while we are away from the office for the holidays.
Letter 65 – Ichneumon from Scotland
I have been through your wood wasp shots but couldn’t find anything like this one. My parents found it beside their pile of firewood logs. It is about an inch long (2.5cm) and the ovipositor is a bit longer than the body. We have never seen anything like it. Some of the logs had 4mm bore holes in them.
Ichneumons are wasp relatives, but have their own page on our site. This looks very similar to our American Megarhyssa species, but we cannot conclusively say that is the correct genus without more research. Female oviposits deep in rotting wood where larvae feed on wood boring insects.
Letter 66 – Ichneumon from Scotland
Subject: The Bingo Bug
October 10, 2012 6:41 pm
I found this wee creature hanging on the wall in my workplace, a bingo club. I’ve never seen anything like it at work, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it at all! Can you help me and my colleagues find out what it is?
Signature: Any way you’d like.
Dear Any way you’d like,
This is an Ichneumon parasitoid wasp. According to the Cornell University Department of Entomology Biological Control website: “Insect parasitoids have an immature life stage that develops on or within a single insect host, ultimately killing the host, hence the value of parasitoids as natural enemies. Adult parasitoids are free-living and may be predaceous. Parasitoids are often called parasites, but the term parasitoid is more technically correct. Most beneficial insect parasitoids are wasps or flies, although some rove beetles (see Predators) and other insects may have life stages that are parasitoids. Most insect parasitoids only attack a particular life stage of one or several related species. The immature parasitoid develops on or within a pest, feeding on body fluids and organs, eventually leaving the host to pupate or emerging as an adult. The life cycle of the pest and parasitoid can coincide, or that of the pest may be altered by the parasitoid to accommodate its development. The life cycle and reproductive habits of beneficial parasitoids can be complex. In some species, only one parasitoid will develop in or on each pest while, in others, hundreds of young larvae may develop within the pest host. Overwintering habits may also vary. Female parasitoids may also kill many pests by direct feeding on the pest eggs and immatures.”
Letter 67 – Ichneumon from UK
Subject: Is this a type of Hornet?
Geographic location of the bug: Bury lancashire
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
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.