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Photo#2035716
Palmodes praestans - female

Palmodes praestans - Female
Sequoia National Park, Tulare County, California, USA
September 4, 2021
I watched this wasp as it dug a furrow about 6 inches long leading up to the hole shown in the first image. It then disappeared head-first into the hole. Once inside it began buzzing. After a few seconds it backed out, flew around a bit landing on various substances within a 4 meter radius before repeating the process.

I would like confirmation of the id, but also any insight into the behavior. What was the buzzing about? It did not appear to make this sound outside the hole - although it is possible the hole acted as an amplifier and I just did not hear it while the wasp was outside the hole.

Is the hole a nest? Or was it looking for some prey there? (I did not notice any other insects around the hole.)

Images of this individual: tag all
Palmodes praestans - female Palmodes praestans - female Palmodes praestans - female Palmodes praestans - female Palmodes praestans - female

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

Female
Nest-building = ♀
10 flagellomeres = ♀
tarsal-rake spines on forelegs = ♀
The buzzing sound (inside the hole) is kind of like a mini version of a type of jack-hammering behavior. I have some videos of other species doing this.
Sometimes they will use a pebble (held in the jaws) to jack-hammer the soil, before scooping out an arm-full of loose material, held in place by the forelegs.
Then they fly off, around maybe ten feet away and release this soil. After that, they circle back to the hole and repeat.
This is near the beginning stages of normal nest-building, before locating the prey, capturing, paralyzing, toting, laying, sealing, burying and covering up the entrance.