pigeon tremex

(Tremex columba)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

pigeon tremex



NNR - Unranked


not listed


Widespread and very common


Late July to early October


Deciduous woodlands


Male: ¾ to 1 (20 to 25 mm)

Female: 1 to 13 16 (25 to 30 mm)

          Photo by Dan W. Andree

Pigeon tremex is a large, widespread, and very common horntail wasp. It occurs in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, in adjacent Canadian provinces, and in northern Mexico. There are a few records from California, where it was likely introduced by human activity but may not be self-sustaining. It is found in dead and decaying hardwood trees. It is active in deciduous woodlands from late July to early October.

Adult females are 1 to 13 16 (25 to 30 mm) long. Males are smaller, ¾ to 1 (20 to 25 mm) long. The base of the abdomen is broadly joined to the thorax.

The head is mostly reddish-brown. There are two large compound eyes, one on each side of the head; and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangular pattern at the top of the head between the compound eyes. The antennae are thread-like, short, and widened in the middle. They are mostly light reddish-brown but are sometimes dark in the middle. They are clearly shorter than the costal cell of the forewing. They have 11 to 14 segments, not including the scape and pedicel at the base.

The front part of the body (mesosoma), consisting of the pronotum, mesoscutum, scutellum, and propodeum, is densely pitted and mostly reddish-brown. The pronotum is wider than long and shorter in the middle than at the sides. The mesoscutum is reddish-brown in the middle, black on the sides.

The abdomen has ten segments and is highly variable in color. It is not covered with golden hairs. It is mostly dark with pale markings. The dark color may be black or reddish-brown. The pale color may be reddish-brown, yellow, or a combination of the two. Females tend to be dark with distinct yellow stripes. On the female, the first segment (T1) is mostly pale. T2 through T8 are pale on the sides at the base. T9 may have a pale spot on each side or be mostly pale. T10 is all or mostly black. Males tend to be lighter, reddish-brown or orange, with less distinct markings. At the end of the abdomen on both sexes there is a short spine or horn (cornus) above (dorsally), from which the family gets its common name “horntails”. The female also has a long needle-like tube (ovipositor) at the tip of the abdomen. The sheath enclosing the ovipositor is reddish-brown.

The wings may be lightly tinted, darkly tinted, or almost black.

The legs may be mostly yellow, reddish-brown, or black. The fourth leg segment (tibia) has a single small spur at the tip.



Larval Food

Elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, apple, hackberry, and probably other hardwood trees.

Adult Food


Life Cycle

The female pushes 2 to 7 eggs into a dead or weakened branch. Eggs hatch in the fall or overwinter and hatch in the spring. Adults emerge in mid- to late summer.


The female may look fierce with its long ovipositor, but horntails do not sting.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30.





Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)



Symphyta (horntails, sawflies)



Siricoidea (wood wasps)



Siricidae (horntails)





Sirex columba


pigeon horntail

pigeon tremex

pigeon tremex horntail










Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.



In Hymenoptera: the front part of the body, consisting of all three segments of the thorax and the first segment of the abdomen, to which the wings are attached.



A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.






Visitor Photos
Share your photo of this insect.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Dan W. Andree

I think this is a male Pigeon Tremix Horntail...

It was resting on a fall colored sumac when I happened to notice it.

  pigeon tremex   pigeon tremex

This large hornet, ? wasp?...

was on my backyard birch tree recently. It looked like a big hornet or wasp type insect but no idea really. It was about a good 2 inches in length. Sat motionless for a few days but not there anymore.

  pigeon tremex    
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos



  Pigeon Tremex (Tremex columba)
Bill Keim
  Pigeon Tremex (Tremex columba)  
  Pigeon horntail
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Pigeon horntail  

Pigeon tremex
(Tremex columba)




Visitor Videos
Share your video of this insect.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

Other Videos
  Tremex columba - Pigeon Horntail
Kris -ArachnoWolf-

Nov 24, 2014

Hey guys! I'll be uploading leftovers from this year! First I'm starting with this nifty little insect I saw this Summer! I'll probably upload the next video Friday night!

  Tremex columba!

Sep 25, 2019

lew right at me and landed in the swing canopy.

  Huge pigeon Horntailed wasp. Largest wasp yet
Great Outdoors

Apr 25, 2019

The pigeon horntail wasp is a huge wasp species even larger than the metricus wasp or the executioner wasp. The pigeon Horntail Wasp may be a large and formidable wasp it is however mostly just mis understood. This wasp species resembles polestes metrics and polestes carolina in many ways however it has a extended abdomen which allows room for a very long modified ovipositor. the ovipositorvis a sexual reproduction organ. it allows this massive wasp to implant eggs deep into small boreholes or soft woody tissue in order to geymt it eggs into the ideal environment to develop into mature adult pigeon Horn tail wasp.

You could be in my next video

Please send Fan mail to
25228 nw 158th ave
Highsprings, FL 32643

Or Email fan photos or videos/links to

Donations are needed to Support the
Great Outdoors on PayPal click here

Follow us on instagram




Visitor Sightings
Report a sighting of this insect.
This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.


Location: Brainerd, MN

Dan W. Andree

Location: Rural Norman Co., Mn.

pigeon tremex

Dan W. Andree

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA in Norman Co. MN

pigeon tremex

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings





Created: 10/10/2019

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2020 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.