Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007-08-18
Let’s finish wasp week with the Great Golden Digger Wasp, one of the larger and more impressive local NYC wasps (though sadly not one of my more impressive photographs. I am looking into improving my camera equipment.) This is actually a very widespread wasp across North America, and is commonly seen in gardens and parks.
The Great Golden Digger is a solitary (non-social) wasp that lays its eggs in burrows in the earth. It’s not very aggressive, but like most wasps will sting if you try to handle it. Adults feed on nectar but prey on other insects to provide food for their young, especially grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets. Thus like many other wasps they’re quite beneficial to gardeners and farmers, and should be left alone when encountered. Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.