Subject: Big black wasp in Namibia
Geographic location of the bug: Windhoek, Namibia
Time: 12:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We came across a bush that had 20 – 40 large black wasps feeding on it – they were stunningly beautiful and made a ‘helicopter’ sort of sound. There were many other types of wasps/bugs as well but these ones were just huge. I’d love to find out what they were and read up on them.
How you want your letter signed: Fiona L
We are uncertain of the species, but we are quite confident these are Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae. As your image indicates, adults are frequently found nectaring on flowers including milkweed, and the female preys upon spiders which she paralyzes and then drags to her underground burrow where the immobile, but still living Spider becomes food for the larva that hatches from the egg she lays on the Spider. There are some nice images of a female Spider Wasp and her prey on Africa Geographic.
Thank you so much. I have now done a bit of reading on these things and feel privileged to have been so close to so many of them at once. Poor spiders though!