Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Floras Lake wasp

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Question
Floras Lake wasp
Floras Lake wasp  
Eric,

Do you recognize this species? Photo taken mid-June, near Floras Lake south of Bandon, mid-morning. Many flying at ground level around nest opening. Not very aggressive.

Thanks,

Jack DeAngelis

Answer
Jack:

The creature in your image is a sand wasp in the genus Bembix , probably Bembix americana comata .  Please consider submitting your image to Bugguide.net, as there is not yet an Oregon record of this species on that website.

Sand wasps are solitary, each female digging her own nest burrow in sand.  Many individual wasps may nest in the same *area*, but they are not social.

The female wasp captures and kills flies which she feeds progressively to her larval offspring, much like birds do with their young.

Sand wasps are not aggressive, and while they *can* sting (females only, males do not have stingers), they will not do so unless stepped on or handled carelessly.  They are so alert and fly so fast, good luck getting close enough to get stung :-)

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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