The long abdomen ('tail') of the female invokes trepidation among humans, but its primary purpose is not to sting. It is actually used to deposit eggs onto the backs of grubs living underground. She pokes deep into the soil until she hits one. She then lays one egg on it and moves on. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva will then burrow into the helpless grub and eat it from the inside out.
The male has a shorter abdomen with a swollen tip. They are rarely seen. Females have bulging legs in addition to the extremely long and thin abdomen.
Adults feed on nectar from garden plants, woods and other areas. They are low fliers, staying close to the ground and sometimes are spotted perched on low growing shrubs or plants.
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common name: American Pelecinid Wasp
Scientific Name: Pelecinus polyturator
Adult Size (Length): 15mm to 62mm (0.59in to 2.44in) COMPARE
Identifying Colors: black; yellow
General Description: long, skinny, stinger, thighs, stinging, flying, harmful
North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kentucky; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Vermont; Virginia; Nova Scotia; Newfoundland and Labrador; New Brunswick; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec
* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.