An incredible wasp
Question: What insect is this? I’ve never seen a bug like it. Larger than a crane fly, with a colorful exoskeleton like a wasp and 3 long tails, almost twice it’s body length.
Answer: The picture is indeed of a wasp, but not your usual wasp that you find near homes. This is likely the “giant ichneumon wasp”, or one of its sister species in the scientific genus Megarhyssa. These wasps don’t build nests or live in groups, and can be found where trees are plentiful. That’s because they use their large “stinger” as a drill, where they bore into tree bark to parasitize the wood-boring larvae of horntails beneath. The horntails themselves are also in the insect order of wasps and bees, but fortunately for us both the horntails and the giant ichneumon wasps are harmless to humans. Nice find!
– Scott Berg, M.S.