"Great Golden Digger Wasp"  (three photos)
Sphex ichneumoneus


great golden digger wasp
Gorgeous Great Golden Digger Wasp at Red Butte. Carol Davis 7-17-2012

Sphex ichneumoneus
I was seeing a lot of wasps like this one on one particular plant and then all of a sudden this female came
floating in and sent the bee/wasp world into an upheaval.  She was so much larger than the other pollinators,
I think it was a little intimidating for them. Both wasps and bees were constantly bumping into her and
it made it particularly difficult to photograph her. 
She didn't fight back but moved on to another area.
 A few years ago a wasp this size would have sent me running home to mamma. Carol Davis, 7-17-2012


great golden digger wasp
As you can see, Sphex ichneumoneus  is quite hairy and Bugguide says it can reach lengths up to 25 mm but I can

tell you that they must grow them out here in the West bigger than the rest of the country. This one was HUGE.
Bugguide also has this to say about their nesting habits: the "female digs burrow almost vertically. Cells are dug
radiating out from central tunnel. Larvae are provisioned with crickets, camel crickets, katydids. One paralyzed
prey is placed in each cell, and one egg is laid on it. One generation per year." 
Carol Davis, 7-17-2012


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