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  • Blue-Winged Wasp - (Scolia dubia)

    Blue-Winged Wasp - (Scolia dubia)

    The non-native Blue-Winged Wasp is a great help to gardeners battling a different imported pest.

    Staff Writer (10/23/2017): This wasp may not have blue wings in the brightest sense of the color, but at certain angles, the wings are a blue-black. The most telling physical feature for identification, however, is the orange abdomen with two side-by-side bright yellow spots close to the 'waist'.

    The Blue-Winged Wasp can sting, and this is more likely done by females. Attempts to handle them will elicit that defensive reaction, but they are otherwise considered not aggressive. It would be best to just admire them as they work and allow them to protect your flowers from a very destructive garden insect, the Japanese Beetle.

    Both insects have established large ranges in North America. Japanese Beetles are notorious for chewing through the petals and leaves of a variety of flowers, most notably roses and hibiscus. They are rapid breeders and difficult to eliminate from a flower bed. The Blue-Winged Wasp is a natural predator of this beetle (as well as other beetle species) because its larvae eat the beetle grubs. A female wasp will dig up a beetle grub and sting it to paralyze it. She then digs a burrow around the grub and lays a fertilized egg into the hole with the grub. Once finished, she sets out to repeat the process on another beetle grub. Once each wasp larva hatches, it eats the paralyzed, yet still living grub, starting with non-essential organs first.

    Adults are most active in the summer. By day, they visit flowers and drink nectar. At night, they rest on plants and may socialize with other Blue-Winged Wasps. Males tend to curl up around a twig or blade or grass in order to rest.

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    Details of the:
    Blue-Winged Wasp

    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Blue-Winged Wasp
    Scientific Name: Scolia dubia
    Other Names: Digger Wasp, Blue-Winged Digger Wasp

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Scoliidae
           Genus: Scolia
            Species: dubia

    Size (Adult, Length): 13mm to 25mm (0.51in to 0.98in)

    Identifying Colors: black, orange, yellow

    Additional Descriptors: spots, fuzzy, buzzing, stinging, flying, helpful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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