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Steel-Blue Cricket Hunter

July 11, 2007

Steel-blue cricket hunters are bluish black, slender wasps with transparent dark blue wings. Their legs and antennae are black. They move with quick, nervous actions in sandy and bare soil areas, flying readily when approached. They are smaller wasps, about 5/8 inch long.

Adult cricket hunters feed on flower nectar. Females dig downward-slanting burrows into the soil, leaving fine soil around the entrance. The females seek out crickets and grasshoppers and sting them, causing them to be paralyzed. A single, paralyzed prey is dragged down to the bottom of the burrow by the female, who lays a single egg on the prey. She them closes the burrow, digs a new burrow, and repeats the process.

The egg hatches into a larva, which eats the still living, parasitized cricket or grasshopper. The wasp larva pupates in the burrow, emerging as an adult the following summer.

Author: Phil Nixon


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