I have seen in my dad's greenhouse a few normal wasps but there are others that look a bit like a wasp but longer and very thin. I would love to know what they are , as  have never seen any think like it before.
I have a photo of it, if that would help

Regards Ron Mansfield

Hi Ron, it sound to me you might be seeing hoverflies. These are flies that mimic wasps to put off predators. There are lots of different types - some like wasps, some look more like bees. Look to see if they have just one pair of wings (wasps and bees have two pairs that overlap). Also, hoverflies are better fliers than wasps, so look to see if any of them fly backwards or spend a long time hovering in one place.

Hello Ron,

Without seeing the picture of the insect it is very difficult to guess what it might be, but from your descripton, along with the hoverfly possibility that Paolo suggests, there is another.  Very closely related to wasps, the same order in fact (Hymenoptera), is the family of insect Ichneumonoidea.  The ichneumon wasps are very thin, and have a very thin 'pedicel' the waist between the thorax and the abdomen, compared with other members of the hymenopteran sub-order Apocrita ants, bees and wasps (sawflies, have no waist at all and fall into a different sub-order, Symphyta). 

Many ichneumon wasps are parasitic, laying their eggs in the bodies of other insects.  Some are very small and parasitise aphids, while others are relatively much bigger and can parastise beetles.  The tail looks very dangerous, and I would not like to try and annoy an ichneumon to test it, but  I am assured that unlike wasps and bees this is really only a means of getting eggs into a host insect, or rotten wood. 

There is a picture of a a couple of ichneumons for you to compare your picture with in the link below.  If they are the same as the isect in your Dad's green house, they are probably doing a good job at keeping some of the pests off of his plants.


Last edited by Neil Gostling (26th Jun 2007 09:43:09)

Ron sent us a photo to help with the ID on this.

It is an ichneumonine ichneumonid - probably a male of Amblyteles armatorius.

These wasps are parasitoids of pupae of moths and are pretty common at this time of year and totally harmless to people.