Currently viewing the category: "Sand Wasps"
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Subject: idenifying an insect
Location: Kimberley, South Africa
February 19, 2014 3:53 am
We saw this bright yellow eyed fly in November near Kimberley, South Africa.
Any idea what it is?
Thanks
Tjeerd de Wit
Pretoria
Signature: t de wit

Sand Wasp or Fly???

Sand Wasp

Hi Tjeerd,
This looks more like a Sand Wasp than a Fly to us.  We may not have time to research this completely before rushing off to work this morning, but we are posting your photo now and we will continue to research this gorgeous creature when we return to our offices.
  Here is a Sand Wasp image from ISpot.  Those orange legs are sure pretty.  Your photo is gorgeous.

Thanks a lot. You remarks took me to this site: http://www.ispot.org.za/node/207535?nav=parent_ob where the same wasp is shown, a Crabronidaea
Many thanks.
Greetings
TdW

Hi again Tjeerd,
And there is a comment with a link to Wikipedia and the indication the genus of this beauty is
Tachysphex.  The Sand Wasp tribe of Bembicini is contained within the family Crabronidae.  We believe the superfamily (if our memory of the endings is correct) Crabronidaea may be an obsolete taxonomy.  Here is the BugGuide taxonomy.

Hello Daniel
Thanks for your help. I notice insects is/are your passion .
Now this wasp knows its place in the hierarchy. So many insects, so many names. Maybe it’s good many many insects have not been discovered yet, your life would be even more complicated.
Greetings
TdW

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp sp.?
Location: Sequoia NP, California
November 11, 2013 12:40 pm
I took this photo, in Sequoia NP, California, completely by accident! I was trying to photograph the Butterfly! Does anyone know which species of Wasp it is?
Signature: GaryT

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Hi GaryT,
This appears to be a Sand Wasp in the tribe Bembicini, but we are uncertain of the species.  It appears to us to resemble members of the genus
Steniolia that are pictured on BugGuide.

Thank you very much for your really quick response. This at least gives me a starting point to look a bit deeper.
Thanks again

Let us know if you get a more specific identification and we can update the posting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Daniel – New Bee?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
October 3, 2013 12:41 pm
Hi Daniel,
We saw what we are pretty sure is a bee in the back today and I know I’ve not seen one like this before. It also did a lot of crawling around on the gravel paths. Can you help?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Hi Anna,
Perhaps this Sand Wasp in the genus Bembix was crawling on the gravel path in an effort to find a good location to build an underground burrow.  Female Sand Wasps provision the nest with Flies for the larval wasps. 

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black and Yellow Wasp
Location: Trinity Alps, California
August 24, 2013 6:50 pm
Hi. This guy was on a Zinnia blossom today. I think it may be a Yellow Jacket but it doesn’t seem quite right. This is larger than the Yellow Jackets around here. About an inch long. Seemed to be collecting pollen or laying eggs. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Karen Horn

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Hi Karen,
This is a Sand Wasp in the tribe Bembicini and probably the subtribe Bembicina.  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.”  We believe your individual is in the genus
Bembix and BugGuide has some interesting information on these Sand Wasps, including:  “Females provision their nest with flies which the larvae feed on (a single developing larva may eat more than twenty flies)” and “Provisioning is progressive. The females provide a greater number of prey over subsequent days during larval growth. Adults are excellent diggers and can disappear below the surface of loose sand within seconds.”  We know of a freeway overpass in in industrial part of downtown Los Angeles that is about as far away from a natural area as one can get.  The sandy soil under that freeway is populated by Sand Wasps each summer and we suspect they play an important role in the control of the fly population in the vicinity.

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

Thank you so much for your reply!
One question:  Are they pollinators?  Do they collect pollen?  Mine was very busy in that Zinnia and I noticed several other pictures on your website with the Sand Wasps on flowers.
Thanks again, Karen Horn

Adult Sand Wasps do visit flowers for nectar.  Like many adult wasps, Sand Wasps take nectar, but they hunt insect prey for the developing larvae.

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Annual Sand Wasp visit to What’s That Bug? office garden
June 22, 2013
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

So, last Saturday a Western Tiger Swallowtail was cruising around the garden and we have tried unsuccessfully for years to get a decent photo of this nearly daily summer visitor.  Seems they fly around, but rarely land.  Well, the Western Tiger Swallowtail was nectaring from the Rudbeckia daisies, but by the time we returned with the camera, it had flown off.  We contented ourselves with photographing these lovely Sand Wasps in the genus Bembix.  Any wasp that preys upon flies is fine in our book.  According to BugGuide:  “Females provision their nest with flies which the larvae feed on (a single developing larva may eat more than twenty flies)” and “Provisioning is progressive. The females provide a greater number of prey over subsequent days during larval growth. Adults are excellent diggers and can disappear below the surface of loose sand within seconds.”

Sand Wasp

Sand Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: two bugs
Location: Arizona
November 2, 2012 11:37 am
I have found these two time of bugs. One of them is a spider, and the other isca flying insect.
The spider I have in a location called Saddle Back Mountain in Arizona. The other one out side of my house by the canal.
Signature: Juan F. Hernandez

Sand Wasp

Dear Juan,
We believe this is a Sand Wasp in the tribe Bembicini and you can see photos on BugGuide which look very similar.  We have requested assistance from Eric Eaton to confirm or dispute our identification.

Sand Wasp

Eric Eaton confirms Sand Wasp identification
Yes, and probably the genus Bembix, too.  Nice female (note tarsal rake on front legs).
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination