Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blue-winged Wasp

Blue-winged Wasp, Scolia dubia

Nectar-seeking Blue-winged Wasps are one to watch for right now, especially on goldenrods. These are cool, distinctive and beneficial wasps. The oval-shaped yellow marks on the burnt-orange abdomen is distinctive.

This species preys on the grubs of various scarab beetles, and allegedly goes after the grubs of Japanese Beetles. The female wasp is an adept burrower, and tunnels down into grass and other vegetation in pursuit of their prey. Once a beetle grub is located, the wasp stings it into submission, administering a neurotoxin, and lays an egg in the victim.

Apparently female Blue-winged Wasps on a hunting spree go a bit mad, attacking and stinging all of the beetle grubs that they run across, and not necessarily laying eggs on all of them. But, as some of these beetles are pests of people's beloved turf grass, the wasps should be viewed in a friendly light. As should anything that takes out Japanese Beetles.


Trendle Ellwood said...

I love your blog with its timely and local information. It is wonderful to know about the interconnections of flower and bug that you awaken us to. Thanks a Million.

Anonymous said...

These wasps have SWARMED our yard! The dog can't go out without distraction and the kids are afraid to play in the yard. We planted a rose bush this spring that was attacked by Japanese beetles, so I assume we must have a yard filled with JB grubs. Our neighbors to either side do not have these wasps in their yard; they stop almost exactly to the property lines. They seem to lessen their activity in the afternoon. There are so many, it is like the ground is moving. Any thoughts for combating both of these bugs? We live in Maryland.