Meet the Neighbors: Long-tailed Giant Ichneumonid Wasp
For the introduction to this series, see here.
Here is one of the most dramatic wasps you might see in your yard. This is a rather scary looking insect. After all, look at that long appendage on its tail. You might think that is an enormous stinger! In reality, these wasps are harmless to humans. That long appendage is actually an egg-laying tool called an ovipositor. Only the female has an ovipositor. They crawl around on trees looking for the larvae of horntails, large chunky wasp like insects that lay their eggs on dying trees. When a female ichneumonid wasp locates the tunnel of larvae, it uses its immensely long ovipositor to drill into the wood and lay eggs on the horntail grubs. So while these wasps may look scary, there is no need to worry—unless you are a horntail larva!