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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
scoliid wasp adult on goldenrod

Scoliid wasp by Phil Nixon

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Scoliid wasps, family Scoliidae, feed as parasitoids on the larvae of green June beetles. Where there were high numbers of these beetles, this is followed by large numbers of scoliid wasps. These are one inch long black wasps with the posterior portion of the abdomen being orange with a couple of yellow spots. These wasps cruise over turf areas in figure 8 patterns searching for locations to lay their eggs. They tend to fly a foot or so above the grass, being very noticeable.

Once located, the wasps crawl down into the burrows of the green June beetle grubs. Once it locates a beetle grub, it stings it to paralyze it, and lays an egg on the underside of the grub. This egg hatches into a legless larva that feeds on the paralyzed, but still living, beetle grub. When fully grown, the larva spins a cocoon, pupates, and emerges as an adult wasp during the next growing season

.Although fearsome in appearance, the adult wasps are unlikely to sting unless grabbed or stepped on while barefoot. With these wasps in almost constant motion, it is difficult to find one at rest where it could be grabbed or stepped upon. They are also numerous on flowering plants including goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace as the adult wasps feed on flower nectar. Treatment is normally not recommended. However, applying a grub control should indirectly cause the adult wasps to leave due to a lack of hosts to attack

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