This wasp may not have blue wings in the brightest sense of the color, but at certain angles, the long wings are a blue-black. At certain angles, the blue is obvious, but the most telling physical feature for identification is the orange abdomen with two side-by-side bright yellow spots close to the 'waist'. The Blue-winged Wasp female can sting and attempts to handle one may elicit that defensive reaction, but the species is otherwise considered non-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 cell near the grub and lays a fertilized egg into the hole. She then drags the immobile grub into the hole with the egg. 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.
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.InsectIdentification.org. It is the product of hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, educators, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at InsectIdentification AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Blue-winged Wasp may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Blue-winged Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.