Ichneumon fly

   Very few people recognize an ichneumon fly when they see one. But ichneumon flies are quite important. They are among our insect helpers. By laying their eggs in or near the eggs or caterpillars of harmful insects, they help us get rid of these insects. The larvas of the ichneumon flies, as soon as they hatch, begin to eat up the eggs and caterpillars that are near by.
   There are many kinds of ichneumon flies. Some measure several inches from the head to the tip of the long egg-laying tube. Some are almost too small to be seen without a microscope.
   One ichneumon is called the long-tailed ichneumon. It is one of the largest in the group. Its long egg-laying tube looks fragile, but the insect can push it deep into solid wood.
   Ichneumon flies are not true flies. They are relatives of the wasps, bees, and ants instead. In fact, they are often called ich­neumon wasps. All the wasps, bees, and ants are believed to have come from in­sects very much like the ichneumon flies of today—insects that lived more than 60 million years ago.