Urocerus gigas


The Horntail is also known as the 'Giant Wood Wasp' or 'Greater Horntail' and is a massive sawfly. A relative of the wasps, the female is black and yellow and has a long 'sting'; this is actually her ovipositor through which she lays her eggs into wood, especially pine. The larvae live in the wood of pine trees, where they spend up to five years developing. Found near pine woods, or places where pine timbers are used.

How to identify

The Horntail is an unmistakeable insect if seen well, perhaps only ever likely to be confused with the Hornet or Hornet Robberfly.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, from bugs to butterflies, fish to Foxes. But these precious sites are under threat from development, intensive agricultural practices and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Urocerus gigas
Other insects
Length: 4cm
Conservation status