Scoliid Wasp: Dead from Unknown Causes

Swarms of this insect just showed up!
August 11, 2009
Dear Bugman,
These flying insects just showed up in our backyard in South Jersey. The neighbors recently did a lot of landscaping, its early August and has been very hot / humid. They swarm during the morning / early afternoon and then we have no idea where they go? What are they and what can we do about them / will they ruin our vegetable garden? Should I be worried since my dog plays all day in the backyard? The picture is attached, sorry it isn’t super clear.
Haddonfield, NJ

Digger Wasp:  Campsomeris dubia
Digger Wasp: Campsomeris dubia

Ed Note:  We quickly glanced at Sven’s blurry photo and wrote back with this incorrect ID.
Non-aggressive Cicada Killer

They seem to be much smaller than that and have some slight fuzz (orange-ish) on the lower part…can that still be a cicada killer?

Oops. Our mistake.  Scolia dubia, a Digger Wasp, is also a non-aggressive species and should not be killed unnecessarily, especially since it preys upon Japanese Beetles.  According to BugGuide:  “Food  Adults take nectar, may also feed on juices from beetle prey.  Larvae a parasite of the green June beetle and Japanese beetle.
Life Cycle  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.”  This species is also called the Blue Winged Wasp.

Thank you so much — you’re on the money — have a great day.

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