Explanation of Names
Podium rufipes Fabricius 1805
rufipes - from the Latin rūfi ('red') + pēs ('foot or leg')
Head, thorax, and abdomen black with bluish reflections; apical three-fourths (or less) of femora, tibiae, and tarsi reddish; wings clear except for clouding of second submarginal cell; erect white hair of head and thorax.(1)
Provisions nests with cockroaches, adults or nymphs (Krombein, 1967, 1970). Nests in wood borings or sometimes supersedes the nests of other wasps (Krombein, 1967).
Krombein (1967) notes:
This wasp is uncommon in collections, probably not so much because of its rarity but more likely because it is difficult to capture. It prefers an open wooded habitat and runs swiftly over tree limbs and trunks instead of taking flight. However, it will accept borings in wooden traps as a nesting site...
Prey. P. rufipes preyed on either adult or nymphal cockroaches which it presumably found under loose bark of dead trees and in similar situations. Usually it stored about 6 specimens in a cell, though occasionally there might be only 3 or 4 or as many as 14.
Cowan (1991) has notes on abundance and habitat:
This species is rare in collections and this may reflect the wasp's cryptic habits and difficulty capturing quickly moving wasps on logs and branches in forests. They may also have particular habitat requirements that restrict their distribution. The cockroaches that P. rujipes preys on may be most abundant in the dead trees and leaf litter of deciduous forests, but pines are required as a source of resins to seal the nests. Krombein's habitat descriptions (1967,1970) and mine all indicate a mixture of broad-leafed trees and conifers.
The western P. krombeini is similar in coloration but has entirely red femora, lacking the black bases found in P. rufipes.
Cowan, David P. 1991. "New Michigan State Record for a Sphecine Wasp, Podium Rufipes (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae)," The Great Lakes Entomologist: Vol. 24 : No. 3 , Article 9. Available at: http://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol24/iss3/9
Krombein, K.V. 1967. Trap-nesting wasps and bees: life histories, nests, and associates. Smithsonian Press, Washington, D.C., 1 unnumbered plate, iii-vi + 570 pp. Available through: http://www.archive.org/details/trapnestingwasps00krom
Krombein, Karl V. 1970. "Behavioral and Life-history Notes on Three Floridian Solitary Wasps (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae)." Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 1–26. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.00810282.46