Subject: Wasp identification
Location: Vail, az
June 30, 2015 10:02 pm
On a hot and sunny tucson summer day I found this curiosity burrowed in my grass, apparently trying to keep cool. I know it’s not a tarantula hawk from the antenna, but it was making stinging-like motion with its abdomen on the stick I used to relocate away from me and my children. Wish I had a clearer picture of the mouth, but, what say you?
Thank you for your wonderful site!
Thanks for the compliment. We believe we have correctly identified your Scoliid Wasp as Triscolia ardens based on images that are posted to BugGuide. Alas, BugGuide does not provide any information on the species, and the genus information is also very limited on BugGuide except for “a single species in our area, 2 total”, however, the family page on BugGuide indicates common names “Flower Wasps, Mammoth Wasps, Scarab Hawks, Scarab Hunters” and provides this information: “Larvae are parasitoids of ground-dwelling scarab grubs, esp. Phyllophaga; adults take nectar. Life Cycle Female digs down to the host grub, stings it, and lays an egg on the paralyzed grub.” Perhaps your wasp is hunting for Scarab Beetle larvae in the lawn. Scarab Hunters are not aggressive wasps, but because you were thoughtful enough to relocate it due to concerns for your children’s safety rather than to kill it, we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award.