Swarms of this insect just showed up!
August 11, 2009
Dear Bugman,
These flying insects just showed up in our backyard in South Jersey. The neighbors recently did a lot of landscaping, its early August and has been very hot / humid. They swarm during the morning / early afternoon and then we have no idea where they go? What are they and what can we do about them / will they ruin our vegetable garden? Should I be worried since my dog plays all day in the backyard? The picture is attached, sorry it isn’t super clear.
Sven
Haddonfield, NJ

Digger Wasp:  Campsomeris dubia

Digger Wasp: Campsomeris dubia

Ed Note:  We quickly glanced at Sven’s blurry photo and wrote back with this incorrect ID.
Non-aggressive Cicada Killer

They seem to be much smaller than that and have some slight fuzz (orange-ish) on the lower part…can that still be a cicada killer?

Oops. Our mistake.  Scolia dubia, a Digger Wasp, is also a non-aggressive species and should not be killed unnecessarily, especially since it preys upon Japanese Beetles.  According to BugGuide:  “Food  Adults take nectar, may also feed on juices from beetle prey.  Larvae a parasite of the green June beetle and Japanese beetle.
Life Cycle  Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis, and the Japanese Beetle. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.”  This species is also called the Blue Winged Wasp.

Thank you so much — you’re on the money — have a great day.

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