Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 9:55 AM
I racked my brain trying to figure out what species bee this is, only to find out it’s not a bee at all. I’m still having trouble determining which genius it is. It has a very bright orange color. And is about the same size as a Bumble Bee.
Sincerely, Audrey Wilkison
Long Island, New York
This is a Scoliid Wasp, a family of wasps that parasitizes the grubs of Scarab Beetles, especially June Beetles. Scoliid Wasps are large, robust, hairy wasps. Your photos are quite blurry, so we are not certain of the exact species identification, but we believe this may be Scolia nobilitata which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide, its “Range Includes southeastern United States. Noted from Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina, south Florida.” We would have eliminated the larger Campsomeris quadrimaculata because BugGuide indicates it is found “Throughout Southeastern United States,” yet there is one report on BugGuide from New Jersey and it was in June. Again, your photos look too blurry to be certain, but we believe your specimen looks more like Campsomeris quadrimaculata, and the sighting from New Jersey makes that a distinct possibility.