American sand wasp

(Bembix americana spinolae)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

American sand wasp

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Fairly common

Flight/Season

 

Habitat

Sandy areas

Size

Total Length: to ¾ (16 to 20 mm)

         
         
         
         
          Photo by Dan W. Andree
 
Identification

American sand wasp a widespread, medium-sized, sand wasp. There are five subspecies of American sand wasp worldwide, two in North America north of Mexico. Of these, only the eastern subspecies, Bembix americana spinolae, occurs in Minnesota. It occurs in the United States and southern Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, and in Mexico.

Adults are to ¾ (16 to 20 mm) long, medium-size for a wasp, large for a sand wasp. They are mostly black with extensive white markings on the abdomen.

The face and the top of the head (vertex) are covered with short, white, erect hairs. The upper lip (labrum) is long and triangular. There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle at the top of the head. The compound eyes are green. The antennae rise from very low on the face.

The thorax is entirely black with no white markings, and is covered with short, white hairs. The exoskeletal plate covering the first segment of the thorax (pronotum) is short and collar-like. There is a rounded lobe on each side of the pronotum that does not reach the small plate covering the wing base (tegula).

The abdomen is black with 5 pairs of spots. Each pair of spots forms a band interrupted in the middle. The spots in the first band are widely separated. The remaining pairs are closely separated or sometimes joined in the middle.

The wings are clear and have pale brownish veins. The forewing has 3 submarginal cells and a short discal cell. The cross vein between the first two submarginal veins is distinctly crooked.

The legs are mostly yellow.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Paralyzed flies and other insects

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar

 
Life Cycle

American sand wasp is a solitary nester. The female digs a nest in sandy ground and provisions it with flies and other small insects. The nest is not always completely provisioned when an egg is deposited. In these instances, the young are fed as they grow.

 
Behavior

It may appear aggressive by hovering close to a human. When this happens the wasp is trying to capture flies attracted to that person.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30, 82, 83.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)

 

Suborder:

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)

 

No Rank:

Aculeata (ants, bees and stinging wasps)

 

Superfamily:

Apoidea (apoid wasps, bees, sphecoid wasps)

 

Family:

Crabronidae

 

Subfamily:

Bembicinae

 

Tribe:

Bembicini (sand wasps)

 

Subtribe:

Bembicina

 

Genus:

Bembix

 
Synonyms

Bembix connexa

Bembix primaaestate

Bembix similans

Bembex spinolae

 

Epibembex spinolae

Epibembex connexa

Epibembex primaaestate

Epibembex similans

 
Common
Names

American sand wasp

Eastern sand wasp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Flagellomere

A segment of the whip-like third section of an insect antenna (flagellum).

 

Labrum

The upper part of the mouth, sometimes considered the lower part of the face, corresponding to the upper lip, on an insect or crustacean.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Tegula

A small, hardened, plate or flap-like structure that overlaps the base of the forewing of insects in the orders Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Homoptera.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Dan W. Andree
       

American Sand Wasp....

  American sand wasp   American sand wasp
       

Green eyed bee like creature....

  American sand wasp    
       
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Other Videos
 
  Bembix americana - Western Sand Wasp
buggingyoufromsji
 
   
 
About

Jun 24, 2020

This video of a female Bembix americana or Western Sand Wasp was filmed at American Camp (San Juan Island National Historical Park). She is provisioning the burrow of one of her offspring. Bembix americana are not harmful wasps or dangerous to humans or pets. They are important in the ecosystem as they prey on many pest insects.

   
       
  Bembix americana (?, kicking and dragging (2/2) - 2020/06/24
Bombus mystax
 
   
 
About

Jun 24, 2020

A longer video than what I usually post, so if TL;DW applies : two bees get territorial, then later one will kick sand and move rocks. / Un vidéo plus long que ce que je partage habituellement, donc si c'est trop : deux abeilles adoptent un comportement territorial, puis une va creuser dans le sable et déplacer des roches.

Inaturalist : https://inaturalist.ca/observations/50804404

License

Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

   
       
  SAND WASP furiously digging burrow.. Bembix americana spinolae
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Feb 13, 2016

Bembix americana spinolae SAND WASP furiously digging burrow while falling sand keeps refilling it. Illinois Beach SP South Unit, 9/5/2016.

   
       
  SAND WASP, Bembix americana spinolae, digging burrow 9041058
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Jun 24, 2020

SAND WASP, Bembix americana spinolae, digging burrow, moves stone. Illinois Beach State Park. 9/5/2016
9041058

   
       

 

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Dan W. Andree
7/5/2020

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

American sand wasp


     
     
 
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Created: 7/22/2020

Last Updated:

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