Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Great Black Wasp.
Updated: 6/14/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The iridescent Great Black Wasp pollinates flowers while feeding itself, and removes plant pests while feeding its young making it a great friend to gardens and fields.
Steely blue-black and large, the Great Black Wasp is a nectar and pollen eater. It can be seen visiting flowers in the hottest parts of the summer and early fall and help pollinate plants. Every adult, however, was raised on a diet of Katydids, Grasshoppers or Crickets. (Katydids are relatives of grasshoppers and crickets.)
Great Black Wasps are part of the Digger Wasp family, creating burrows in the soil. Adult female wasps hunt for insects after laying fertilized eggs in this underground nest. Each egg laid in a tunnel and a Katydid or Cricket is placed next to it. Once the egg hatches, the emerging larva has an immediate food source and will devour the insect as it grows and develops. Their juvenile diet helps keep the katydid, cricket and grasshopper populations under control.
Adult Great Black Wasps may look mean, but they are disinterested in humans and are not bothersome, though they can sting if mishandled or threatened.