Currently viewing the category: "Sand Wasps"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Rather large bee?
Location: Bayville, New Jersey
July 20, 2016 8:28 am
I’d like to know what this is.
Signature: Naomi

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear Naomi,
This is a Cicada Killer, a large, non-aggressive, solitary wasp that hunts Cicadas.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Sand Wasp
Location: West Valley City, UT
July 13, 2016 8:15 am
It’s fairly easy to tell this is a Sand Wasp given the shelter and size. Finding out that they are not aggressive to humans AND they feed on flies means this little guy(gal) gets to stay right where he(she) is. July 12, 2016, West Valley City, UT.
Signature: Vic M.

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Dear Vic,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Sand Wasp in the tribe Bembicini in her nest.  We don’t think we will be able to provide a species identification based on this image.  According to BugGuide:  “About three quarters of the species prey on Diptera, and it is believed that fly predation is ancestral in the group; the rest prey on Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Neuroptera, Odonata, and/or Homoptera.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Wasp ID
Location: Southeastern Washington State
July 9, 2016 12:32 pm
First time these 2″ monsters in South Eastern Washington State. Attracted to all bushes and trees, with or without fruit or flowers. attracted to water also
Signature: Tracey- Washington State

Western Cicada Killer Carnage

Western Cicada Killer Carnage

Dear Tracey,
No insect winds up on our Unnecessary Carnage page more than the Eastern Cicada Killer, because these solitary wasps are large and frightening looking, however they are not aggressive, and though a female is capable of stinging, they do not seem at all interested in stinging people.  You have submitted an image of the Eastern Cicada Killer’s western cousin, the Western Cicada Killer, and we don’t generally get Unnecessary Carnage images of the Western Cicada Killer because we just get far fewer images of them.  Like the eastern cousin, the Western Cicada Killer is a solitary wasp and it is not aggressive.  It was likely searching your trees and bushes for Cicadas because female Cicada Killers sting and paralyze Cicadas, and then drag them back to the nest they have constructed underground.  The female lays an egg on the paralyzed Cicada which then acts as food for the developing larva.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a cicada killer?
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
July 2, 2016 1:02 pm
Started off with one in the wall by my driveway and now there are dozens flying around. It is a duck wall with dirt. They dig into the wall and hang out around the wall during the day”fighting” eachother. What are they? Yellow jackets, hornets, some other singing bug?
Thanks, want to get rid of them if they attack since have small kids who miss riding their bikes in the driveway.
Signature: Jenngi

Cicada Killer Carnage

Cicada Killer Carnage

Dear Jenngi,
Though male Cicada Killer wasps are quite territorial, they are incapable of stinging. They are very specific about preying upon Cicadas. Female Cicada Killer wasps are not aggressive, and we have yet to receive a report from someone being stung by a Cicada Killer.  In our opinion, they do not pose a threat to your children.  This is our first reported Cicada Killer sighting of the year and we are saddened that it is a dead individual.  We would urge you to educate your children about the natural world around them so that they can appreciate and respect the lower beasts.

Thank you for your quick reply. Now we can watch these awesome creatures, have about 15 now, without the fear of multiple settings. It is a relief to hear that these are not aggressive stinging wasps or hornets and will not be creating a nest of thousands so close to our entry into the house and where we play. The kids love and respect all creatures big and small. We strive to live in peace with creatures. Thank you again for the reply.

Thanks for getting back to us Jenngi.  As further clarification, only social wasps like hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps will defend a nest by stinging.  Solitary wasps like Cicada Killers do not defend the nest.  Though they sometimes nest in colonies where soil conditions and hunting prospects are ideal, Cicada Killers are solitary wasps.  Again, male Cicada Killers will defend territory, especially against other male Cicada Killers, but only females have a stinger which is used to paralyze Cicadas to act as food for the developing young.  Cicada Killers appear in the summer and the larvae that are developing in the subterranean nest will not emerge until the subsequent summer.  Cicada Killers females are capable of stinging, but we believe this will only occur if they are handled.

Subject: Cicada Killer life
July 2, 2016 6:44 pm
How long are cicada killers active? First one appeared about a week ago and now there are about 15-20 in the wall right by my driveway. Are they out  all summer? Also do they kill bumblebees too?
Signature: Jenngi

Cicada Killers do NOT prey on Bumble Bees.  You should expect activity for about four to six weeks, during which time females will hunt Cicadas to provision the nest for the developing young.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hornet?
Location: Massachusetts, USA
October 11, 2015 5:29 pm
Hi, I’ve seen this strange hornet-like bug in my backyard a couple times over the summer when I went to mow my lawn. It makes a buzzing noise like any bee-like creature when it flies, but it doesn’t look particularly like a bee or hornet. The eyes also resemble those of a grasshopper.
Signature: -J

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Dear J,
This is very late in the year for a Cicada Killer sighting, so we suspect the image was taken this summer.  Cicada Killers are not aggressive, but they might sting, but only if carelessly handled.  The female Cicada Killer provisions her subterranean nest with paralyzed Cicadas.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bug identification
Location: Grand Junction, Co
August 9, 2015 5:17 pm
Just wanted to know the correct name of this bug. On the ground at Lands End, on the Grand Mesa, Grand Junction Colorado. During mid July, did not seem to be aggressive.
Signature: Paul Huntington

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Dear Paul,
This little beauty is a female Sand Wasp in the tribe Bembicini, but we were not able to match your images to a species on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “About three quarters of the species prey on Diptera, and it is believed that fly predation is ancestral in the group; the rest prey on Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Neuroptera, Odonata, and/or Homoptera.”  The female provisions the underground nest with prey for the developing brood to feed upon, and as BugGuide states, most Sand Wasps prey upon flies.

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination