Banded Horntail
Location: Calgary, AB
Date: Sept. 7, 2014
      Photo 2

Banded Horntail (scale in cm).

Common Name: Banded Horntail, Greater Horntail, Yellow-horned Horntail

Latin Name: Urocerus gigas, Linnaeus 1758
                       (R. Bercha, det.)

Length:  10 to 40mm (females larger then males)

Range: Throughout Alberta, specifically the foothills and boreal forest

Habitat: Forested areas

Time of year seen: July - September (Additional Sightings)

Larva: Bores in dead, dying and damaged trees

Other: The Banded Horntail is a large insect with a black cylindrical body marked with yellow bands on the posterior and basal segments of the abdomen and amber colored wings.  The adults are strong fliers, which will travel long distances in search of potential host trees.  It is commonly found in the boreal forest and the foothills regions of Alberta. They prefer to lay eggs in weak, damaged or recently killed spruce trees and thus it is not unusual to find them around recently burnt or logged areas. The female horntail uses her stout ovipositor to bore into the tree or log and lay individual eggs.  The larva then hatch and bore tunnels 15 to 75cm in length into the first 4 cm of wood.  It takes 2 to 3 years before they emerge as adults.  These insects cause minimal damage to lumber.  Although these insects appear formidable with their long ovipositors and large bodies they do not sting.


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