Urocerus gigas (Giant woodwasp, Banded horntail, Greater horntail)
A woodland species found throughout the UK, usuall in or near coniferous woods, and from May to October,U. gigas is a wood boring insect which attacks softwoods of freshly felled logs/unhealthy trees. The species leaves discrete tunnels, frequently filled with hard packed coarse fibrous frass, hard to dig out from tunnels. The tunnels are large, round and discrete between 6-7mm.
Size: Up to 40mm
Special features: Great Wood Wasps are often mistaken for Hornets because they look similar to a wasp but considerably larger.
They’re sometimes called ‘Giant Horntails’ for obvious reasons. The female Great Wood Wasp has a long pointed tube at the back of her body, and this is usually mistaken for a stinging organ. In fact it’s an ovipositor, which she uses to lay her eggs in the trunks of coniferous trees. Despite their slightly fearsome appearance, these insects are quite harmless.