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This insect is in my house in North Carolina, USA. I think it shares similar body features of that of a wasp, but it is far too narrow and has what appears to be a long stinger. What is it?


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This is some species of ichneumon wasp.

The ichneumon wasps are parasitoid wasps in the order Hymenoptera. They commonly parasitize other invertebrates, especially larvae and pupae of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera.

Specifically, this appears to be Dolichomitus irritator.

enter image description here

Photo credit: Thomas wilson

Here's another specimen of the same species found in Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines, Moore County, NC:

enter image description here

Photo credit: Dorothy Pugh

You can find additional high-quality images from Jeff Tome's Flickr page.

I could not find too many sources with good information about this specific species. Fontanelle Forests' Nature Search provided the most complete info:

  • Description: 7/8 inch long, not including the ovipositor. The head and thorax are black. The abdomen is red-orange. The legs are yellow and orange. The antennae are black. The black ovipositor is at least as long as the body and head.

  • Ecology: Parasitoids of many woodboring insect larvae including long-horned beetles, weevils, metallic wood-boring beetles and some moths that are wasp look-alikes.

  • Taxonomy: In the subfamily Pimplinae, which has 180 species in 28 genera in North America.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much, I thought it had to do something with wood $\endgroup$ – Evander C Apr 19 '17 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Evander_C Some additional info: the long ovipositor has a purpose, but it isn't used for making holes in wood. Other species, like solitary bees lay eggs in existing or newly made holes. They make small walls between each egg (actually they also put eggs with females deeper into the wood). The longer your ovipositor, the more eggs the wasp can reach. A beautiful example of Ecology and evolution if you ask me. $\endgroup$ – RHA Apr 20 '17 at 11:32

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