Great Golden Digger Wasp
This wasp, a Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus, has been making its home around Bicentennial Hall as of late. Thanks to Professor Helen Young for the identification! It’s completely harmless (as are most bees and wasps), only stinging when pinched, walked on, teased, or threatened. This one, I didn’t catch her name, is seen making a nest in the ground next to the sidewalk by Discovery court. It’s about a foot away from the sidewalk, but that is the gravel underneath the sidewalk that she is working so hard to pull out. The species makes a hole in the ground, then preys after grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, etc. It then takes these insects, paralyzes them, lays an egg inside each, and stores it in a hole off of the main burrow. Still alive and fresh, yet paralyzed, (insect refrigeration), the egg hatches in the insect, and the young larvae consume their first take out meal.
There are several females burrowing around there, and probably males flying close by. Go over and say hi. They are quite good pollinators, as it feasts on nectar as an adult. With pollinators under siege lately, we need all of them we can get.