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  • Great Black Wasp - (Sphex pensylvanicus)

    Great Black Wasp - (Sphex pensylvanicus)

    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.

    Picture of Great Black Wasp
    Staff Writer (6/14/2017): 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.

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    Details of the:
    Great Black Wasp

    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Great Black Wasp
    Scientific Name: Sphex pensylvanicus
    Other Names: Katydid Hunter, Steel-blue Cricket Hunter

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Sphecidae
           Genus: Sphex
            Species: pensylvanicus

    Size (Adult, Length): 20mm to 35mm (0.79in to 1.38in)

    Identifying Colors: black, blue

    Additional Descriptors: large, blue, steel, shiny, flying, stinging, waist

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Ontario; Quebec; 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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