Fine hairs on the Asian Horntail and a host plant preference diet separate it from other horntails.
The Asian Horntail was accidentally imported in the 1970s where it was likely embedded in wood as larvae and pupae when it was shipped from Asia. It is most commonly found in the coastal states of the southeastern U.S. where it rapidly expanded upon arrival, though it was reported in Utah, too. It is not considered a serious pest thanks to its use of trees that are already dead or dying. Unlike other horntails, this species prefers to use deciduous trees as host plants instead of conifers. Oak, sweetgum, and hickory trees are common hosts. Though the Asian Horntail does not attack healthy trees, care is being taken to discourage its expansion across the region. It does not have any known predators that could help control its numbers should the insect ever change how it chooses host plants. For now, slowing the spread of the Asian Horntail by teaching prudent firewood practices is underway. Little is known about its life history despite decades of its presence in North America.
The appearance of the female Asian Horntail is unique. Males are rarely seen and may have variations in how much yellow color they have on their bodies. Unlike native horntails, the female's abdomen has a ring of fine hairs that encircle it. The long black abdomen has yellow rings on it. More fine hairs may also cover other parts of the body. A bright yellow thorax sits just behind the head. Legs have wide yellow and black bands on them. Her thick ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen looks like a syringe, and she uses it to inject fertilized eggs into trees. Like other horntails, the larvae likely tunnel in or around the wood inside as they grow.
Scientific Name: Eriotremex formosanus
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 28mm to 30mm (1.09in to 1.17in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.