Allotment horror story

I don’t have anything but questions today – the main question being: what is this? Or perhaps WHAT IS THIS?

Because when a creature as big as my thumb is hanging around outside one of my cauliflower cages for a couple of hours, and I’m having to walk backwards and forwards past it, wondering if it should be classed as harmless, dangerous or fatal, a question like this begins to assume horrifying proportions in my mind.

When I was younger I used to watch those old black and white horror films that showed an apparently immense creature (killer bee, rat, amoeba) terrifying a town. The town was always a scale model, of course, and from what I recall the rats were actually dogs dressed up, which was quite cute really. This creature though, wasn’t cute and didn’t need a scale model town to be terrifying. As you can see, it possesses an enormous stinger but I was quite as worried about it flying into me as stinging me – if you’ve been hit by a rapidly moving bee you know just how painful a collision with insect life can be.

So does anybody know what it is and how worried we should be that it seems quite at home on our plot?


Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Anonymous Sandy said...

It is an ichneumon wasp, the only things with anything to fear are caterpillars on your plot!

June 19, 2012 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger 5olly said...

It looks like a British Horntail. Quite common in woods and forests. It's also unlikely to sting you. :-)

June 19, 2012 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

At least it doesn't look like a hornet to me, they really do look like huge wasps and sound like a bomber fighter plane approaching. We have loads around us, one tried to get into our home today and there are quite a few near our orchard garden plot as one of the nearby oak trees has a nest of the darn things. That of course doesn't help you in identifying the beast

June 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Martin said...

Quick web search suggests a harmless wood wasp ( Does look pretty mean tho

June 19, 2012 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Don't know, but I don't like the look of it either!

June 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Gareth Fuge said...

Looks like a Horntail Sawfly which are mainly found around coniferous woodland. Sting is an egg layer & young feed on timber, so shouldn't be a problem to you or your crops!

June 21, 2012 at 3:49 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

It looks like a European Hornet. They do sting if threatened, but are really quite docile, much less aggressive than wasps. They eat other insects, so should be a helpful predator, though I believe they also like fruit (such as apples plums etc).

June 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM  

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