Ichneumon wasp

This female ichneumon wasp is huge – the body is an inch long, the tail two or three inches:

(I’m now offering a print of this wasp at a special price.)

It’s almost four inches long. The long tail is used to drill eggs into trees – the eggs hatch into larva that parasitize other insects. This wasp is in the genus Megarhyssa, the giant ichneumons. This species parastizes other wasps that lay eggs deep in trees. I wish I’d been able to observe her drill in – maybe next year.

10 thoughts on “Ichneumon wasp

  1. Wow. Perfect DOF and wonderful bokeh! I have a tree at Audubon that almost always has one of these on it… It makes a great stop when leading a group! And one time, I did stay and watch the drilling for quite some time. Very interesting!

  2. Wow. This wasp just stopped to rest on my kitchen window. I was awestruck. Immediately googled “large orange wasp long tail” and came upon this lovely photo of yours. So glad to find someone who loves nature so much, and who has an awesome macro lens as well. Consider me a new follower! (In case you’re interested, I just blogged about my chickens’ close encounters with tomato hornworms. Would be honored if you’d take a look: http://scratchandpeck.blogspot.com )

  3. These do not sting. They are actually a fly but tthey r related to a wasp. Unsure of what type of wasp would want to mate with a fly to make this creature. They r harmeless to animals and humans. U could catch one and hold it, and nothing would happen just tickling on your hands. I do find this fly scary as I am allergic and scared to death of bees and wasps and this just looks like an oversized wasp. I get these lil guys in my backyard and have gotten a few shots. I had one just 2 days ago come out after it raained. It sat there drinking at a rain puddle on the pedestal of my stair handles. Cute buut creepy haha.

    • They definitely don’t sting, but they really are in the bee/wasp family, and not a fly. Wish I had them in my yard!
      The “stinger” is for laying eggs. Ichneumons stick them deep into trees where their eggs parasitize larvae, I think beetle larvae.

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