Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Sand Wasp Visitor

Sand Wasp
Bicyrtes quadrifasciatus

Late summer is the time of year to observe a large diversity of insects in our landscape. We've had a few new wasps appear this week, one in particular was interesting - a type of Sand Wasp in the family Crabronidae. These wasps were nectaring on Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) in our raingarden.

Its longer than typical body is black with white stripes and is very similar in shape to the Cicada Killer Wasp.

The majority of sand or digger wasps are ground nesting wasps, although some nest in dead wood or mud nests. They are solitary nesters, but some species will build nests in the same area. These wasps are predators on a variety of other insects including flies, bugs and bees where they fly the prey back to their nests in their mandibles. (Insects Their Natural History and Diversity)

This particular genus of Sand Wasp likes to provision its nest with true bugs, the nest is mass provisioned once, then closed. (BugGuide.net) It is important to leave some bare areas of soil in your landscape, especially sandy soil for these wasps. Many native wasp and bee species nest in the ground.

Have you seen Sand Wasps in your landscape?