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Photo#682559
Ground burrowing wasp - Sphecius speciosus

Ground burrowing wasp - Sphecius speciosus
Gambrills, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA
July 31, 2012
Size: about 1.5" long
I found a group of these wasps digging out holes (like sand crabs would) in the sandy ground of our back yard early in the morning. They are very large. Can anyone tell me anything about them and what they are?

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

They're probably females.
The females dig holes to put cicadas in. Then they lay eggs on top, so when the eggs hatch, they have a supply of food.

 
They have a very interesting system.
You'll often see a group of females each with a seperate burrow that is protected by a male. Each burrow the female makes can have up to ten cells each with their own larva. They give a male egg one cicada to feed on, and female eggs get 2-3. They're very non-agressive so as long as you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone. I get very close to take pictures and watch and they don't seem to care.

Sphecius spheciosus

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