What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

digging bee/wasp green stripes on back metalic green eyes
Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 9:55 AM
Was hoping you could indentify these bees. there are at least 30 to 40 that just stared showing up and digging in our flowerbed.
act1guy
madera, CA (central valley)

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Dear act1guy,
This is a Sand Wasp in the genus Bembix.  We look forward to seeing these wasps each summer.  The two places in Los Angeles where we encounter them are in the Los Angeles River near the Glendale Narrows and near Union Station downtown at the freeway underpass when we walk to a film lab.  The Bembix Sand Wasps or Digger Wasps. according to Charles Hogue in his wonderful book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, are:  “characteristic inhabitants of dry sandy areas such as beach bluffs and mesas, sand dunes and arroyos;  I have seen them working in the long jump pit on the track at the University of Southern California.  They fly low and rapidly over the ground seeking prey and tending their burrow nests.  The nests are shallow tubes running obliquely into the soil;  each contains a single larva, which the female keeps supplied with a diet of fresh flies and other insects.  In practicing this form of continuous provisioning of the larvae, sand wasps differ from spider wasps, mud daubers, and many other digging wasps, which provide only a single cache of food that must last throughout the larva’s development.  Sand wasps are not social insects, as are hornets and yellow jackets; yet, as a result of the tendency of individuals to nest in the same area, a type of colony develops.”  So, Sand Wasps help to eliminate an overabundance of flies which often plague us humans during the hot summer months.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California
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3 Responses to Sand Wasp

  1. Kelsey Muir says:

    Hey, my name is Kelsey from Saskatoon, SK. I was just having a long conversation about bee’s and wasps and our fear with them with my old elementary best friend. So, i started talking about when we were in elementary and when we were digging in the sand box and we seen a weird bee/wasp looking thing and it looked like this but a lot more vibrant. It was almost neon, and i never knew what it was, but after looking it up we found this website, and now we know what it is. I was terrified. I’ve never seen anything like it, and i’m sure everyone gets that feeling when they are trying to remember the name of something but can’t remember, it bothers then so much until they remember it, well it was the same for us but couldn’t find the words to describe it, and when we first described what we saw, no one believed us. Well we had that feeling for 5 years, and feel so relieved that we found what it was and can finally prove to people from 5 years ago that it is a real thing. It blew my mind when i first saw it, and the colors were amazing and bright. So thankful people have seen the same thing as me and my friend. I saw the Sand wasp in Saskatoon, SK, at King George Community School sand pit. I’m so relieved to find this.

  2. Mrs. Tucker's Kindergarten class says:

    Do they sting? My Kindergarten class wants to know…..we have some out in the sand area on our playground….

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