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?

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

7 Comments:

Anonymous Sandy said...

It is an ichneumon wasp, the only things with anything to fear are caterpillars on your plot!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichneumonoidea

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 (http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=1677). 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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