North Chagrin Reservation

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Rand
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by Rand » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:47 pm

Thanks Doug. I've only seen an ichneumon wasp once as a kid. I was climbing up in my grandma's weeping willow and happen to look down were I just placed my hand, and it was a few inches away from one of those huge wasps in the middle of drilling a hole! After a couple of seconds of instinctive pants-pooping immobility, I figured out it wasn't coming after me and beat a hasty retreat. I guess they don't sting. Right?

Here's a short article I found with some brief googling that gives some interesting details

http://northernwoodlands.org/articles/a ... eumon-wasp

A pity they don't eat emerald ash borers...
Last edited by Rand on Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DougBidlack
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by DougBidlack » Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:30 pm

Rand,

funny story and nice article. I'm not sure if they can sting humans or not. Stingers are just modified ovipositors though, so they certainly sting horntail larvae. I'd be willing to bet that if they were being physically abused that they could probably sting a person. I know many species of Ichneumonids can sting people but you really have to be trying to get them to sting you...or maybe accidentally putting your hand on top of one!

As for not being able to attack EAB, I really don't know. I worked on parasitoids of corn earworm and tobacco budworm in eastern Tennessee and although most ichneumonids are very specific in host preference I would never say that species X will only parasitize species Y. I mean we're talking about biology here...there are always exceptions. So, for example, species X may prefer species Y but if species Y is not available it may very well go after species Z. Most species don't like dying or not having offspring.

Doug

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bbeduhn
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:31 pm

I saw one with ovipositors about ten years ago. I thought I was seeing something new to science, as I'd never seen anything even remotely like it before. I was fascinated and watched her do her thing for a good while but had no idea eggs were being deposited, rather it looked like it was drinking sap.

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Don
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by Don » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:29 pm

While I'm no entomologist, I have seen the insects you have images of, and perhaps geographical variants of them, across much of the mountainous US. Back in the days when loggers chewed tobacco, and were generally crude, they'd refer to the larger species rather inelegantly as 'stump fuckers', for the rotational 'screwing' motion of their ovipositor drilling through the wood (in many cases, they would choose a freshly sawn stump). Kind of 'logger lore' for this forester growing up.
As I progressed academically, they got even more interesting. The drilling motion of (what I'll call, perhaps incorrectly) the tarantula wasp, with it's ovipositor, allowed them to place their progeny fairly far into the stump, sufficient you'd think to be safe from predators.
Wrong! Seems that there's another wasp that apparently has finely honed receptors that pick up on pheromones or such, and equipped with their own ovipositor, drills into the tarantula wasps 'den', and lays it's own eggs (?, larvae?) which amazingly enough hatch sooner, and consume the tarantula wasps progeny.
While like many growing up, I had been rather aimless in my investigation of issues such as philosophy, religion, etc., it was observing such scenarios that irrevocably placed me into the "evolutionary camp". Had the preying smaller wasp had slower hatching progeny than the tarantula wasp, it would not have had a successful niche, at least in the 'stump_____ing' world of insects.

As an almost aside, the reference to a cicada killer reminded me of a life and death struggle I observed in the mountains of SE Kentucky, in the Redbird RD of the Daniel Boone NF. In a summer where the cicadas were uncommonly loud (as in a seventeen year hatch?), I walked into a bit of a clearing with an unusually loud cicada-like noise...it took awhile to locate the source. On the ground, in a small hole (reminiscent of a tarantula's den) a tarantula hawk (again, that's what the insect looked like) was doing it's dead level best to pull a cicada out of the hole.
I watched for some time, pretty much entranced with the seriousness of the event, then left them to their struggle.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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dbhguru
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by dbhguru » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:01 am

Don,

My eyes got big as saucers when I read you account of the old logger's description of egg-depositing insects. Then I burst out laughing as the image of some rough old logger with a big "chaw" in his mouth uttering that expression and then unceremoniously spitting at the insect. Bet lots of them developed a good aim.

Bob
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ElijahW
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by ElijahW » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:16 am

Don,

I've not seen the particular insects you described, but the loggers' nickname tells the whole story. Right now I'm re-reading "Tall Trees, Tough Men," one of my favorite books. Much of it is dedicated to the description of the timber beasts of New England. The author refers to insects called "no-see-ums," which I'm sure were also thoroughly verbally abused by the lumberjacks. Also, I've seen pine 2x4s ruined by bumblebee-drilled holes.

On a related topic, as a Christian, I see much evidence of intelligent design in these instances and in the working of the natural world in general, where you see the workings of macro- (or micro-?) evolution. I'm sure that I'm in the minority here on the BBS, but I also stand in awe of the world around me, ascribing to it a divine cause rather than a purely natural one. On this, I'm not attempting to preach to anyone, just explaining where I'm coming from.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Bart Bouricius
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by Bart Bouricius » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:43 am

Bob,

Doug was absolutely right about the insect commonly called a Saw Fly (not a fly) but Don's guess at "Tarantula Wasp" would have been a large type of pepsis wasp, see amazing image. I see these all the time in Central America and in the Amazon. Check this link, this is not photo shopped. http://dipdip.org/archives/2011/02/Worl ... Hawk-/2187

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DougBidlack
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by DougBidlack » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:13 am

Elijah,

the bumble bees that you refer to are probably actually carpenter bees. Carpenter bees make their nests in solid wood while most bumble bees nest in the ground.

Doug

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ElijahW
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by ElijahW » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:17 pm

Doug,

Thanks for the clarification. I made the bumblebee assumption based on several of them landing conspicuously on the boards and checking out the goo that had been (eggs?) before I sawed them asunder. These creatures made many almost-perfectly round tunnels through the wood, and the only visible evidence left on the outside was a small hole, which I had thought nothing of. The lumber looked fine structurally on the outside, but the insides were hollow. I ended up burning several of these long 2x4s, not knowing for sure what the infestation was and erring on the safe side.

Do carpenter bees prefer any particular species of wood? This was very dry white pine.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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DougBidlack
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Re: North Chagrin Reservation

Post by DougBidlack » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:49 am

Elijah,

I don't know if carpenter bees have a preference for any particular wood, but I've seen evidence of their excavations in everything from broom handles to sills and other wood on the outside of houses. A friend at work told me that he had a big piece of buckthorn that some of these bees dug into. So I know that they can tunnel into just about any kind of wood.

Doug

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