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bee Great Wood Wasps

Identify It >   Invertebrates Section >   Great Wood Wasps >

Scientific name:  Urocerus gigas

Size:  Up to 40mm

Distribution:  Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen:  May to October

Habitat:  Usually found in or near coniferous woods

Food:  The larvae feed on dead wood

Special features:  Great Wood Wasps are often mistaken for Hornets because they look similar to a wasp but considerably larger.  They're sometimes called 'Giant Horntails' for obvious reasons.  The female Great Wood Wasp has a long pointed tube at the back of her body, and this is usually mistaken for a stinging organ.  In fact it's an ovipositor, which she uses to lay her eggs in the trunks of coniferous trees.  Despite their slightly fearsome appearance, these insects are quite harmless.

Sightings

2008 - Trowse, Norfolk - John Lewis (photo)
2011 - Portinscale, Keswick - Tony Duncan
2015 - Ringwood, Hampshire - Jon Kennett (photo)
2015 - Newport, South Wales - David Richards
2015 - Buckland Filleigh, Devon - Liz Williams
2015 - Great Smeaton, North Yorkshire - Angela Scott (photo)
2015 - Lincoln, Lincolnshire - Paul Barden
2015 - Sway, Hampshire - Janet Amoroso (photo)
2015 - Galashiels, Selkirkshire - Craig Paterson (photo)
2015 - Greerigg in Harthill, West Lothian - Carla McIntyre (photo)
2015 - Markinch, Fife - Peter Gulline (photo)
2015 - Portadown, County Armagh - Gary Thompson (photo)
2015 - Prestwick, Ayrshire - Paul Jardine (photo)

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