Sunday, March 6, 2011

Incidental Pollinator - The Great Golden Digger Wasp

This large, brightly-colored wasp is a frequent flower visitor and so is a potential pollinator. It is shown here gathering nectar on Virginia Mountain-mint, a native wildflower in eastern North America.

Solitary females dig burrows to lay their eggs and provision them with katydids, grasshoppers and crickets as food for their larvae. The adult wasps look ferocious but never seem to sting.

This species was unknown in southern Ontario 50 years ago, but has spread here from its range in nearby northern Illinois and Michigan.

[Photo (c) D. Barr]

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