Ichneumon wasp are related to wasps and are sometimes known as Ichneumon flies, whose larvae are parasitic on many other insects. Ichneumon wasp are harmless to humans and trees, and in fact help to keep many insect pests under control. Following here are some Ichneumon wasp facts that may help you understand this beneficial insect better.
Ichneumon wasps are classified:
- phylum: Arthropoda
- class: Insecta
- order: Hymenoptera
- family: Ichneumonidae.
Female Ichneumon Wasp
The female wasp has a long ovipositor capable of penetrating through several inches of an insect-infested tree trunk to the caterpillars and other larvae within the trunk. The ovipositor of the female is used to lay eggs deep within fallen timber. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the body of the host.
Ichneumon Wasp Facts
- Over 3,000 species of ichneumon wasp are found throughout the United States but not in the Southwest.
- These flies have a wasp waist, and long, flexible antennae.
- The stinger at the end of the female flies abdomen is actually an ovipositor, rather than a stinger.
- The adults feed on nectar from flowers and aphid honeydew and help in this way to cross pollinate.
- The ovipositor is like a hypodermic needle and is protected inside a long black sheath. It can penetrate wood with ease despite its delicate appearance.
- The female feels the timber with the antennae on the front of her head searching for the larvae of wood wasp When she has found the wasp larva she lays her eggs near the larva for food.
- Control horticultural or forest pests.
- They are good pollinators but feed mainly on caterpillars, beetle larvae and other soft bodied insects