I was clearing out my back garden today getting rid of the usual overgrown bushes and ivy that seem to just spring out of nowhere!

I heard the sound of wings by my head expecting there to be a bee or a wasp or something similar by my head. To my surprise I saw this monster of an insect flying towards me and without hesitation I swung for it with my shovel! Luckily for the beast I'm an awful shot and it was spared an ass-kicking.

Could somebody please identify this horror for me as I won't step foot outside my house until I know what it is!

From head to 'toe' it is around 2 inches long, it was yellow and black and orange and it had yellow antenas. Also, it had a large 'stinger' or pointy butt end that was quite long, hence my attempt to wipe the sucker out...

Please help! Cheers!


http://emob37.photobucket.com/albums/e9 … G_0105.jpg

Looks like a very large hornet, quite possibly a queen given the size. Exactly which species I'm not sure though there aren't too many in the UK.

This looks more like a Wood Wasp / Horntail (Urocerus gigas) than a Hornet - they are not aggressive and they actually use their long "stinger" (ovipositor) to drill into wood to lay their eggs.

Nothing to be frightened of!

Here's another pic:
Photo by Andy Thomas (Giant Horntail, Urocerus gigas, taken by me at Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire, Wales, August 2005)