American sand wasp

(Bembix americana)

Conservation Status
American sand wasp
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

American sand wasp a widespread, medium-sized, sand wasp. There are seven 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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: to ¾ (16 to 20 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Sandy areas

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

 

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Paralyzed flies and other insects

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  2/27/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Fairly common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)  
 

Infraorder

Aculeata (ants, bees and stinging wasps)  
 

Superfamily

Apoidea (apoid wasps, bees, sphecoid wasps)  
 

Family

Crabronidae (square-headed wasp and allies)  
 

Subfamily

Bembicinae  
  Tribe Bembicini (sand wasps)  
  Subtribe Bembicina  
 

Genus

Bembix  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

American sand wasp (Bembix americana americana)

American sand wasp (Bembix americana antilleana)

American sand wasp (Bembix americana comata)

American sand wasp (Bembix americana dugi)

American sand wasp (Bembix americana hamata)

American sand wasp (Bembix americana nicolai)

American sand wasp (Bembix americana spinolae)

 
       
 

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, scale, or flap-like structure that overlaps the base of the forewing of insects in the orders Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Homoptera. Plural: tegulae.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    American sand wasp      
 

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
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Feb 13, 2016

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

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

Jun 24, 2020

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

 
       

 

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Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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  Alfredo Colon
8/12/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

American sand wasp  
  Dan W. Andree
7/5/2020

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

American sand wasp  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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Created: 7/22/2020

Last Updated:

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