Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ichneuman Wasps

Giant Ichneuman Wasps, Megarhyssa atrata, are our largest wasps. As they are not venomous, thus they are no danger to people. They insert their long ovipositors into rotten wood and deposit their eggs inside Pigeon Horntail larvae, which burrow into trees. The wasp’s larvae proceed to devour the hosts from the inside out. Adult wasps are short-lived and have only about a month to mate and find their host. How they find their host larvae is a mystery. Presumably the wasp uses smell or sound (University of Michigan). The wasps remain as larvae through the winter, leaving their burrows and pupating in the spring.

Scott King and I found several of these wasps in the forest at the River Bend Nature Center near Faribault, Minnesota.

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