Digger Wasp

Are these cicada killers ?
Location: Springfield, MO USA
December 20, 2010 2:39 pm
I’ve got these wasps that are common visitors to my chive garden when it’s in bloom (BTW Chives make great bug attractants for photography). I think from browsing here that they maybe cicada killers. Would you confirm?
Signature: Tom

Digger Wasp

Hi Tom,
The Cicada Killer and your wasp,
Scolia dubia, commonly called a Digger Wasp or Blue Winged Wasp, are in completely different families, though they are both robust wasps that dig an underground nest for their brood.  While the Cicada Killer preys upon Cicadas, the Digger Wasp preys upon the grubs of June Beetles and thankfully,  Japanese Beetles, an invasive species whose imago feeds upon possibly hundreds of different cultivated plants, including roses, rose of Sharon, daisies, fruit trees like peach and apple, blue berries … .  According to BugGuide, the Digger Wasp:  “Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis, and the Japanese Beetle. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.”  You are sure right about chives attracting nectar loving insects, and we also find, in our Mt. Washington, Los Angeles office, that allowing onions and carrots to flower makes for an attractive garden to beneficial insects.

You made my day.  My neighborhood has a bad Japanese beetle problem.  Anything, that kills those monsters is welcome I my yard.  😀

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BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. WhatsThatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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