Wood Boring Wasps

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Wood boring wasps are a non stinging wasp with several different kinds. Wood boring wasps that are apart of the Siricidae family are a big wasp that is attracted to dying or dead trees, conifers predominantly. 

North American Wood boring wasps can grow to a length of around 20mm to 30mm and feature a very cylindrical body. Colouring ranges from a black to a very metallic looking dark blue while having black, red and yellow stripes. The wasps also make a very loud buzzing noise when flying.

Female wood wasps are larger than males with their ovipositor that is used for laying eggs is very long and sometimes longer than her own body. The wood boring wasps ovipositor is only used for laying eggs and can not sting in order to defend its self.

The Female wasp will search for the appropriate dead or dying tree with the most likely tree being a pine, spruce or fir tree. The female wasp will then insert her ovipositor into the wood and lay between 1 and 7 eggs at a time. In around 3 to 4 weeks time, the eggs will hatch to produce larva. 

Wood boring wasp larva on softwood tree

The larva will then tunnel parallel with the grain of the wood chewing its way through and using its spine at the tip of its abdomen to push it along. The larva begins by eating and tunnelling along the soft part of the wood just under the bark. It will then move to the hardwood closer to the middle of the trunk before returning to the softer wood near the surface. The larva's tunnel can reach a length between 25cm to 30cm. Once the larva has reached the end of its tunnel in the softwood close to the surface, it then pupates for 5 to 6 weeks before emerging as an adult wasp. As the newly developed wood boring wasps emerge from the wood, it leaves an exit hole behind.

Larva of wood boring wasps can sometimes be identified by woodpeckers and other birds that can hear the larva moving inside wood. So if a woodpecker is paying a part of your home a lot of attention, then there is a good chance you have wood boring wasp larva living in it. Fortunately, wasps larva only cause cosmetic damage and no structural damage. Depending on were the infested wood has been used, round exit holes created by newly matured wood boring wasps can be found in the likes of plaster, wall boarded, floors, carpeting and non ceramic tiles. Once the wood wasps have emerged from the piece of wood possibly used in the construction of your home, it will not re-infested the same piece of wood.

Read our article on the different types of wasps and hornets if you like this one!

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