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Sand Wasps

July 11, 2007

Sand wasps have similar habits to the cicada killer and steel-blue cricket hunter. There are several species, ranging in size from 1/2 to almost 1 inch long. They are dark-colored, slender wasps with one or more contrasting gray to reddish bands. Adults feed on flower nectar.

Females dig burrows in sandy or other soil, preferring areas bare of vegetation. These burrows descend several inches and have loose soil around the entrance. Depending on the species, adult females capture flies, crickets, camel crickets, or katydids. The female drags the individual stung and paralyzed prey item to the bottom of the burrow, lays and egg on it, and then fills in the burrow opening. She digs a series of burrows, repeating the process. The egg hatches into a larva that eats the prey and pupates in the burrow, emerging during the following growing season.

Author: Phil Nixon


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