What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Green eyed insect that made 5 dirt nest under garbage cans
Location:  Utah
July 21, 2010 12:43 pm
I found 5 hills with one entrance in each under my garbage can. Then a wasp/fly/? looking bug appeared. It had long wings and bright green eyes. It seemed to have either a stinger or antennae out the mouth area. We sprayed the hills and took the picture just before it died. I have never seen it before and lived here in Utah for 5+ years. Do you know what it is? Thanks so much for your time and effort. I wish I could just download the picture and that it would match it with the bug.
Sincerely Heidi

Sand Loving Wasp

Dear Heidi,
One of our primary purposes in running What’s That Bug? is to promote tolerance and appreciation of the lower beasts, and to educate the public in an effort to prevent the senseless slaughter of beneficial or benign insects and other arthropods because we know that people fear the unknown, hence the creation of our Unnecessary Carnage section where your letter and photo will be archived.  We were uncertain of the identity of this digging Hymenopteran, so we sought assistance from Eric Eaton who was kind enough to respond:  “
Hi, Daniel:  The insect is a “sand-loving wasp” in the genus Tachytes.  Hard to say more without examining the specimen under a microscope.  EricBugGuide does not have much information on the genus,  however, BugGuide does provide this tidbit of information on the info page of the subfamily to which it belongs, Crabroninae, the Square Headed Wasps:  “Some nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. The principal prey is flies, but some utilize various other types of insects.” We can deduce that the proximity of the underground nests to the garbage cans means that your species feeds upon flies.  Your Sand Loving Wasp would be considered a beneficial insect by most people since it helps to control pestiferous flies that are attracted to garbage and can spread diseases including:  Typhoid fever, Cholera, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigellosis, Polio, Diarrhea, Anthrax, Eye inflammation, Tuberculosis, Yaws, Dysentery, Trachoma, Conjunctivitis and even Leprosy.  Were we you, we would welcome Sand Loving Wasps in the vicinity of our garbage cans.  Perhaps our response will cause you to allow any future nests to develop unmolested.  As a postscript, Sand Loving Wasps are not known to sting humans.  They are solitary wasps and solitary wasps do not have the aggressive nest protecting behavior exhibited by social wasps like Yellowjackets and Red Wasps.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Utah

One Response to Sand Loving Wasp poisoned with bug spray

  1. Mike says:

    What did you kill it with? I know they’re harmless and actually eat annoying bugs but they’re digging out all the dirt underneath my paver stones. I’m also in UT.

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