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Blue-winged Wasp (Scolia dubia)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Blue-winged Wasp

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The multicolored Blue-winged Wasp is a great help to gardeners battling a different imported pest.

Updated: 06/25/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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. 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 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.

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.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Scoliidae
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          Genus: Scolia
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            Species: dubia
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Scolia dubia
Other Name(s): Digger Wasp, Blue-Winged Digger Wasp
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 25mm (0.51" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, orange, yellow
Descriptors: spots, fuzzy, buzzing, stinging, flying, helpful
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 13mm (0.5in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 13mm
Md: 19mm
Hi: 25mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* 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.

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