What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Friend or Foe?
Geographic location of the bug:  Pateros , WA
Date: 08/13/2018
Time: 06:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy was moving among the flowering herbs at edge of garden this weekend.  He looks formidable with extremely long back legs.   What is he?
How you want your letter signed:  Charlene

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Charlene,
This large, impressive wasp is a Great Golden Digger Wasp, a solitary species that is not aggressive toward humans.  Was it moving among the flowering herbs like it was more interested in the flowers or like it was searching for something?  This is a pollinating species that feed on nectar as an adult, but it is carnivorous, but helpless, as a larva.  The female Great Golden Digger Wasp hunts for Katydids among the foliage and when she locates one, she stings it to paralyze it and then drags it back to her subterranean nest as food for her brood.  We vote “friend.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Pateros, Washington

2 Responses to Great Golden Digger Wasp

  1. CkC says:

    I have been watching one of those for a few days, it’s been ravaging the Gulf Fritalry caterpillars on my Passion Flower vine.

    • bugman says:

      Great Golden Digger Wasps do not trouble with caterpillars. They are very host specific, though the actual species of Katydid they prefer will vary over their range depending upon what is common locally. We suspect you have been watching an entirely different species of Wasp, like possibly a Paper Wasp in the genus Polistes, a group that frequently preys upon caterpillars to provide for their young.

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