Aug 122017

This Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) was trying to set-up nests on my front walkway. It had 5 holes dug already. I was able to get a video of it. This is one pretty creature and aptly named too!

Rick Stankiewicz, Keene

Note: The Great Golden Digger Wasp is a benign, gentle wasp currently being studied by scientists for its behavioral responses.  (from

Golden Digger Wasp – August 11, 2017 – Rick Stankiewicz

Golden Digger Wasp 2 – August 11, 2017 – Rick Stankiewicz

Jul 202014

I want to share some pictures of a parasitic wasp that I took up near Kinmount. I haven’t been able to identify it, but this animal was about 3-4 cm long and had two ovipositors, each about 10 cm long. When I found it, it was busily probing a hole in a dead elm tree, presumably for some unfortunate insect larva on which it could lay its eggs. I watched it for several minutes and it reminded me of how Chimpanzees use sticks as tools to extract termites from termite mounds. She seemed to be methodically probing the inside of the hole in the tree. I hope you find these pictures as fascinating as I do.

Michael Doran

(Note: I believe that the wasp is a female Megarhyssa atrata lineata (Black Giant Ichneumon) . Click here for more information and pictures. Female ichneumon wasps find a host and lay an egg on, near, or inside the host’s body. Upon hatching, the larval ichneumon feeds either externally or internally, killing the host when it is ready to pupate. Despite looking formidable, the ovipositor does not deliver a sting like many wasps or bees. It can be used by the wasps to bore into and lay eggs inside rotten wood. Ichneumons represent a fascinating story of evolution and how animals do whatever is necessary to reproduce – human sensitivities be damned! D.M.)

Female Black Giant Ichneumon wasp - Michael Doran

Female Black Giant Ichneumon wasp – Michael Doran