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Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Giant Ichneumon Wasp a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) specific to the pigeon tremex. It also is generally brown in color with yellow and orange markings. It has a very elongated body form and most notably long ‘tails’ that may extend a couple of inches.


Giant ichneumon wasp male

These tails also are the ovipositor and supporting structures, used to insert eggs into wood onto developing pigeon tremex horntail laravae. Altogether the body and ovipositor of this insect may extend more than 5 inches.

Males are smaller, lack the ovipositor, and have a blunt tip of the abdomen.) Despite its rather fearsome appearance, the giant ichneumon wasp is harmless to humans and can not sting.

The adults drink nectar and water. Ichneumons lay their eggs on moth or butterfly caterpillars or in the larvae of their distant relatives, the horntails and sawflies. Spiders and other insects may also be hosts. Their parasitic larvae feed internally or externally on their hosts and ultimately emerge as adults from the host’s pupa.

Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Giant Ichneumon Wasp Female

Life Cycle: The ichneumon wasp is incredibly slender, not much thicker than a horse hair, and the egg that passes though it is, by necessity, deformed into a slender, threadlike shape. But the process of finding a horntail, drilling a hole, and inserting an egg does not always result in a next ichneumon generation.

Other ichneumon wasps, of species that are unable to drill such holes themselves, may use Megarhyssa holes to insert their own eggs. When these hatch, the larvae destroy the Megarhyssa eggs and proceed to consume the horntail larva themselves. An appealing host larva may have several parasitoid species competing for its nourishing tissues. In addition, many parasitoids have evolved to prey only on other parasitoids.

There is great variation in the behavior, shape, and size of insects. Ichneumon wasps lifestyle may have developed in the distant past from insects that consumed dead prey.

Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Giant Ichneumon Wasp Larva

controls: The best time of the year to control wasps is in June after the queen has established her colony and while the colony is still small. But because nests are small, they are also harder to find. The best time of the day to control wasp nests is at night, when they are less active. At temperatures below 50° F, wasps have difficulty flying. Never seal a wasp nest until you are sure there are no surviving wasps inside. If a nest is not discovered until fall, control may be unnecessary as imminent freezing temperatures will kill the colony.

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