Sunday, May 12, 2013

Monster in my Garden

~ 'Cimbicid' sawfly ~
 The other night I was out playing in the garden - really, was trying to rescue a flower bed from the grass (we are without a lawnmower STILL so the grass is up to our knees now) & I accidentally encountered this mystery monster insect!

My first instinct in these cases is to grab the insect & then run & grab my camera so I can take photos & then try to figure out what it is. This thing is HUGE! It was close to 7:00 p.m. when I was taking the photos, hence the slightly dark colour & if you can't tell from the photos, this insect was a good inch long!

~ 'Cimbicid' sawfly ~
While it looks a bit like a bee, it was the antennae & the legs that made me think it was something else.

I got on the Internet & eventually found someone on Vancouver Island to whom I could email the photos for identification (Gord Hutchings of Hutchings Bee Service) who has informed me that this is the Simbicid/Cimbicid sawfly - a member of the wasp family. This particular one is probably the heaviest of the family & the larvae are herbivores - so they will do some damage to your plants.

I've not been able to find out too much else about them - like, do the adults burrow in the ground (I have noticed holes in my flower beds that could house these things), are they solitary, what plant species do they target? (the initial id information said these ones like wild rose, arbutus & Douglas fir habitat - which is on the other side of the island - we have mainly salal & cedar habitat, so I'm not sure where they like to be over here... Hopefully I can do some more research & maybe actually see more of these out in the gardens. I've yet to see the larvae (caterpillars).

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