Ed. Note: This posting was originally published on What’s That Bug?
June 26, 2012
Location: Mt Washington, Los Angeles, CA
We are always thrilled when the Great Golden Digger Wasps, Sphex ichneumoneus, appear in our garden in early summer.
Their appearance seems to coincide with the bloom season of the onions we plant each year. Though we grow onions because we love pulling out a few fresh green onions to add to the salad or to eat with a bit of salt, and we also enjoy the mature onions that we dig out after the bulbs get to a large size, but the added attraction of blooms that are frequented by bees, wasps, pollinating flies and even a few butterflies is a wonderful addition to a vegetable garden that is also decorative. We watched as a larger Great Golden Digger Wasp was buzzed by a smaller one, and we can’t help but to wonder if this was some type of courtship behavior.
The female Great Golden Digger Wasp provisions her nest with paralyzed Crickets and Katydids. We also have a healthy Katydid population, so there is ample food supply. Parts of the garden are more wild in nature, and there is adequate habitat for a nest to remain undisturbed throughout the winter. Great Golden Digger Wasps can be found in all 48 lower United States, and they are quite adaptable to a range of climate conditions. Great Golden Digger Wasps are not aggressive and we hope that our readers will learn to tolerate them and not succumb to the impulse to eradicate all potentially stinging insects they happen to encounter. See BugGuide for additional information on the Great Golden Digger Wasp.