Averaging almost an inch long with a bright half-black, half-orange abdomen, these solitary wasps are hard to miss. While watching them nectar at flowers is certainly interesting, if you are lucky enough you might get to observe some of their reproductive behaviors. Females excavate a burrow almost vertically and then dig cells radiating out from the central tunnel. Then, they locate a cricket or grasshopper, sting it (paralyzing it) and carry it to a cell. Once placed, they lay an egg on it. The prey is still alive but immobile …fresh food for when the larvae hatch. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for some great action shots of burrow construction and prey transport. These wasps range from southern Canada throughout the United States in moist habitats with wide open, sandy areas.
Photo by Marirose Kuhlman on 8/23/20 near Florence, MT