Spotted in Southern California
This bug caught my roomate and boyfriend’s eye near our front door. It was about 1/2″ long, resembled a house fly and had wings and long antennae. It’s legs were orange and in the sun the body had a blueish sheen. It killed another bug possibly a cricket, grasshopper or potato bug (something much larger than it) by biting it, then dug a fairly large hole compared to the two bugs, dragged the other bug into the hole and stayed in there for several minutes. Then the unidentified bug emerged and began covering the hole (these are pics of the bug covering the hole). Once the hole was filled it flew away. When I came home my friend’s showed me where the hole was and it was pretty well-covered, almost invisible if you were not aware it was there. What the heck is it?
Hawaiian Gardens, Ca
We wish you were able to provide us with an image of this Great Golden Digger Wasp with its prey, but we will have to content ourselves with the dirt flying in your nice action shot and the description of what you witnessed. The Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus, feeds on pollen and nectar as an adult, but a female wasp stings and paralizes crickets and katydids to provide food for her progeny.
The “great golden digger wasp” from southern California looks like Sphex nudus to me, but I’m not sure that species is supposed to occur there. Also, half an inch is very small for any species of Sphex, so it could be a different wasp altogether! A shot of the prey animal would have been conclusive.