Great Golden Digger Wasp excavates nest

Subject: Ground insect… Bee?
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
August 17, 2013 7:01 pm
Here’s a strange ground insect/bee (strange to me, anyway). It was digging a hole in my garden in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was about 1-1/2” long with a loud buzz. Can you ID it for me?
Signature: Sue

Great Golden Digger Wasp excavates nest
Great Golden Digger Wasp excavates nest

Dear Sue,
You have observed and photographed a female Great Golden Digger Wasp excavating her nest.  Perhaps you will be fortunate enough to witness her stocking her nest with paralyzed Katydids or Crickets to feed her young.  Great Golden Digger Wasps are solitary wasps, and though she has a stinger, she would be very reluctant to use it on a human.  Solitary Wasps are generally not aggressive, nor do they defend their nests from attack.  This Great Golden Digger Wasp uses her instincts to locate Katydids and sting them.  Her venom does not kill the prey, but merely paralyzes it.  She then drags the paralyzed Katydid back to the nest and buries it.  She lays an egg on the paralyzed Katydid and the larva then has a supply of fresh, not dried, meat upon which to feed.

Very cool, Daniel!
Thanks for the great information and such a quick response!!
Are these wasps very common? I’ve never seen one…

Great Golden Digger Wasps are not rare and they are found in all 48 lower states.

3 thoughts on “Great Golden Digger Wasp excavates nest”

    • To the best of our knowledge, the Great Golden Digger Wasp is not an aggressive species, and we have never heard of anyone getting stung by one.

  1. I have several holes in my yard and I have only seen 1 wasp looking bug emerge from one hole it looks like the above pic from Sue how ever I have not been able to take a picture of it as I am terrified but I have taken pictures of the holes and they do do just like the about pic. Does this wasp make several holes? I can count at lease 15 holes.


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