June 26th, 2011

Sunday Bugs: Ichneumon Wasp

Sunday Bugs: Ichneumon Wasp

This is an Ichneumon Wasp (Ichneumonidae), a parasitic wasp whose larvae feed on other insects and sometimes spiders. Most adult inchneumons do not feed in the traditional sense, doing little more than drinking water or flower nectar.

That is not a stinger on the end of the wasp; it is an ovipositor for egg-laying. Researchers have found some evidence that the tips of the ovipositors may be hardened with ionized manganese or zinc, like metal drill bits. This enables the wasp to bore deeply into wood to lay her eggs where wood-boring beetle grubs live.

This wasp means serious business when laying eggs. And I am so glad that's not a stinger!