great black digger wasp

(Sphex pensylvanicus)

Conservation Status
great black digger wasp
Photo by DeWaine Tollefsrud
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Great black digger wasp is a large thread-waisted wasp.

Females are larger than males. Males are ¾ to 1 long, averaging about long. Females are 1 to 1 long, averaging 1 long. The body is slender and all black.

The upper plate of the first thoracic segment (pronotum) is short and collar-like. There is a short, rounded lobe on each side of the pronotum that does not reach the plate at the base of the wings (tegula). The longitudinal sutures on the upper thoracic plate of the middle abdominal segment (mesonotum) are absent or indistinct. The lower plate of the middle thoracic segment does not have a forked process.

The abdomen is stalked at the base. The stalk of the abdomen (petiole) has two segments.

The wings are black with a dark blue tint. The anal lobe of the forewing is large.

The last leg segment (tibia) of the middle leg has two spurs at the top.

There are no claws at the end of the fifth segment of the front tarsus (foot). The first segment of the hind tarsus is slender.

The body hairs are not branched. The erect hairs on the head and thorax are black. There are appressed hairs on the face, silvery on the male, black on the female.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

¾ to 1

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Meadows, fields, suburban gardens.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

July to September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

This is a solitary wasp. It does not create a communal nest, though it sometimes nests colonially. It is usually found on flowers.

The sting of this wasp is painful but does not usually swell.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female creates a nest by digging a slanting burrow in soft earth, usually in a protected location. The burrow is divided into several cells. She hunts katydids in the genera Microcentrum and Scudderia, which she paralyzes by stinging in the neck and thorax. She carries the paralyzed prey back to the burrow, placing 2 to 6, usually 3, in each cell. She then lays 3 16 to ¼ long eggs on the underside of the prey. When the larvae hatch they feed on the still living but paralyzed katydids.

Adults emerge in mid-summer the following year. They are seen in flight mostly from July to mid-August, though some are seen as late as early September.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Paralyzed katydids

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar and/or pollen

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  7/29/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

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

Sphecidae (thread-waisted wasps)  
 

Subfamily

Sphecinae  
  Tribe Sphecini  
 

Genus

Sphex  
  Subgenus Sphex  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Sphex pensylvanicus robustisoma

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

great black digger wasp

great black wasp

katydid hunter

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Mesonotum

The principal exoskeletal plate on the upper (dorsal) part of the middle segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Pronotum

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

 

Tarsus

The last five sections of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Myrna Orensten

 
  Peacefully enjoying the flowers, end of July 2021. Had to look these up since I had not seen them before   great black digger wasp  
 

ASol

 
  This wasp (about 1.5” long) has been visiting my vegetable garden for a few days, especially the onions   great black digger wasp  
           
    great black digger wasp   great black digger wasp  
 

Chelsey Schluter

 
    great black digger wasp      
 

Mary Edel

 
  What is that? 4 of us said in iPhone Live Photo. I looked it up   great black digger wasp  
 

Patrick Moran

 
  inside cabin, daughter found. She said it was acting aggressive, trying to sting   great black digger wasp  
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    great black digger wasp      
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
    great black digger wasp   great black digger wasp  
 

Margot Avey

 
    great black digger wasp      
 

Michael Supina

 
  I noticed your page does not include Dakota County in the range of the great black digger wasp. It is here, at least in Eagan. I've included a photo of them in my oregano.   great black digger wasp  
           
        great black digger wasp  
 

LMG

 
  We see these every summer in our herb garden. The garden backs up to a backyard pond.   great black digger wasp  
           
        great black digger wasp  
 

DeWaine Tollefsrud

 
  Beautiful non-aggressive and beneficial wasp just nectarine.   great black digger wasp  
 

Tory Williams

 
    great black digger wasp      
 

Jaime

 
  observed 4 on mountain mintThe other continuous call besides the chorus frog is a gray tree frog. The occasional bird-like, rising notes sound like an alternate call of spring peepers. Check out http://listeninginnature.blogspot.com/2013/04/spring-peepers-listening-to-solo-voices.html, the recording that's labeled "Peeper soloist, then pitch variation in Peepers".   great black digger wasp  
 

Tork

 
  Found two in our house, have never seen these before.   great black digger wasp  
 

KMK

 
    great black digger wasp      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    great black digger wasp   great black digger wasp  
           
    great black digger wasp   great black digger wasp  
           
    great black digger wasp      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
great black digger wasp
DianesDigitals
  great black digger wasp  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  great black digger wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) at Greenwood Nursery in Marshall, MN.
siouxpilot
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 28, 2013

A great black digger wasp in sedum @ Greenwood Nursery in Marshall, MN.

 
  great black digger wasp and the Spider
river wind
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 6, 2011

Labor Day weekend, North Central Pennsylvania, 2011. great black digger wasp (sphex pensylvanicus) gets trapped in a spider's web, and I started filming.

 
  Marimbondo Caçador - great black digger wasp
MarkTrav82
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jan 4, 2011

Known as the marimbondo caçador in brasil. The great black digger wasp is 2 inches long with a powerful sting. (species Sphex pensylvanicus)

 
  great black digger wasps
haskellHacker
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 6, 2012

Here's a few great black digger wasps (Sphex pensylvanicus). Gentle and tolerant of the gardener's fingers.

 
  Sphex
Bryce Larson
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 7, 2009

Some great black digger wasps -- Sphex pennsylvanicus on my spotted mint blossoms in my back yard shot at 300 frames per second on a Casio EX-F1 camera.

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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  Myrna Orensten
end of July 2021

Location: Afton - St. Croix

Peacefully enjoying the flowers, end of July 2021. Had to look these up since I had not seen them before

great black digger wasp

 
  ASol
7/19/2021

Location: Falcon Heights, MN.

This wasp (about 1.5” long) has been visiting my vegetable garden for a few days, especially the onions.

great black digger wasp

 
  Mo
7/28/2021

Location: Empire Township

Was seen in front of my house coming out of the ground in the corner of rocked in area.

 
  Jacob Weaver
7/27/2021

Location: 4599 370th St. North Branch MN 55056

one of these flew at my GF head and then took off I have seen them a couple times in the past couple years in chisago county.

 
  Cheryl
7/26/2021

Location: Sleepy Eye

There are 5 of these scary looking buggers residing in a pipe running through a large set of cement steps at my church. They fly aggressively at anyone walking by. This is the second consecutive year they’ve been in this location. There’s also a group of several by the drug store in town.

 
  Alan L
7/22/2021

Location: I have seen 4-5 of these around my yard

Yesterday and today I saw the female land with a Katydid and bring one down into the crack in the concrete between my garage apron and driveway. Today I saw it land again with a Katydid and bring it down a chipmunk burrow. Very cool insect !

 
  Lacey
7/21/2021

Location: Adams,  MN

I saw one of these in the stairway of my apt building. Thought it was a small bird at first. What an amazing site to see up close. I believe it was a female also d/t the length of 2 inches.

 
  Corey
7/18/2021

Location: ESt. Michael, MN

We had 2 buzzing around our patio tonight. Our dog aggressively went after one. They didn't seem to care that we were around. Much bigger than the average wasp we see!

 
  M & M Stalka
7/15/2021

Location: Winona, MN

We have been seeing many of them in or flower garden in Winona, MN

 
  ljhar
7/12/2021

Location: Rogers,  MN

we have several around the yard and they appear larger or longer than the description. 

 
  Phoebe McCartan
7/3/2021

Location: Minneapolis

great black digger wasp sighting at UMN ReUse Center in Minneapolis on July 3, 2021.

 
  ELO
8/16/2020

Location: Powderhorn Park neighborhood in S Minneapaolis

I’ve never seen the great black digger wasp so often in my gardens

 
  Chelsey Schluter
8/5/2020

Location: Bloomington MN (Normandale Lake)

great black digger wasp

 
  Terry
8/3/2020

Location: Elk River, MN

 
  Katie Piece
7/30/2020

Location: Duluth, MN (St Louis County)

One made a nest in my gardens and is constantly buzzing around. It's gorgeous.

 
  Chris
7/28/2020

Location: White Bear Lake, MN

I’ve noticed this single black wasp flying around my patio for several days now. Very scary! Never seen anything like it! 3 times the size of a regular wasp!

 
  Abossmann
June/July 2020

Location: Nerstrand, MN

We've lived here for 5 years and other than unfortunatw yellow-jackets or wasps deciding to use the siding on our garage as a home, we've never seen these new black ones. Finally, this year, my husband sprayed wasp spray into the siding and when the others seemed to be gone these guys popped up! My husband found their burrows under our evergreen tree and accidentally flooded them out a couple weeks back. Just today I was cutting the flowers off the hostas and found a burrow under there plus two dust/dirt made small burrows actually ON a hosta stalk! At first I didn't know what it was until my husband crushes one with his fingers and was like, "Ope, yep. There's one in there moving around!" So now we have these, that seem way less agrgessive and a couple other wasps that we still share our yard with. If everyone keeps their stingers to themselves, we'll all be alright!

 
  Gail Brumm
7/21/2020

Location: Shakopee

this wasp was on my patio furniture at 8:15 am on a rainy morning

 
  c spencer
7/11/2020

Location: south Minneapolis

Wedding on oregano flowers

 
  Erik Robelia
6/25/2020

Location: Finlayson 55735, pine county MN

Found all be in basement.

 
  Mary Edel
9/23/2019

Location: Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis MN

What is that? 4 of us said in iPhone Live Photo. I looked it up

great black digger wasp

 
  Patrick Moran
8/14/2019

Location: Ideal Corners (near Crosslake)

inside cabin, daughter found. She said it was acting aggressive, trying to sting

great black digger wasp

 
  Alfredo Colon
8/12/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

great black digger wasp

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
8/8/2019

Location: Maple Grove, MN

great black digger wasp

 
  Tim Baufield
8/6/2019

Location: Wheaton, Minnesota

I see that according to the map they aren’t know to be out this way or at least haven’t been reported  but we got ‘em. They are kind of creepy but amazing to watch. They are under our steps and sidewalk. Very non aggressive. I’ve had them pass between my legs and had one brush the underside of my bare foot while I was walking and it just continued to its hole. I have a phobia of wasps and hornets but I can stand outside and drink my coffee in the morning while they do their thing around me and it doesn’t bother me. I’ve mowed and trimmed and they’ve come out and checked out what was going on but haven’t tried to sting me. They’ve thinned down the cicadas and grasshoppers around here and it’s cool to watch them root through the grass to get the moths. Don’t like it when they go after the butterfly’s though. Dare I say I’m slowly becoming a fan?

 
  Marianne B.
7/29/2019

Location: Prior Lake, MN

Watched as it landed with a grasshopper in its grasp on the arm of a park bench, then flew with it and dropped it next to a hole in the sand, and moments later dragged it down into the hole.  Very cool!

 
  ELO
7/24/2019

Location: South Minneapolis

Huge and Scary!

 
  Todd P
7/20/2019

Location: Sauk Centre

These wasps are very big.  It must have a nest in the storm sewer at the end of my driveway.  I have seen it for the last 4 years. It has mainly left us alone. Last night it was buzzing around in our garage.

 
  Janice
2/15/2019

Location: Maple Lake MN 

We live on Ramsey Lake in Maple Lake, Wright County. The great black digger wasp appeared in my kitchen last evening. It was flying very slow. I had to look it up to find out what it was. I've never seen one before and I do not know where it came from with it being winter.

 
  Margot Avey
8/23/2018

Location: Lake Harriet Trial Gardens in Minneapolis

great black digger wasp

 
  Barb
8/15/2018

Location: Montgomery, MN

First time I have seen one of these in my 65 years.  It was flying around in my home.  Had a tough time catching it but I did.  Scared me.

 
  Michael Stanga
8/1/2018

Location: Otsego, MN

On a Bee Balm Plant in Wright County

 
  Sarah Fitzgerald
7/25/2018

Location: Waite Park, MN 56387

we’ve had this wasp come last year and didn’t know what it was. It is massive and terrified us. We sprayed wasp spray in the crack it crawled into on the corner of our house. It never attacks us but always flies away, it’s huge an intimidating.

 
  Michael Supina
7/22/2018

Location: Eagan, Dakota County

I noticed your page does not include Dakota County in the range of the great black digger wasp. It is here, at least in Eagan. I've included a photo of them in my oregano.

great black digger wasp

 
  LMG
7/18/2018

Location: New Prague

We see these every summer in our herb garden. The garden backs up to a backyard pond.

great black digger wasp

 
  Joe
7/18/2018

Location: Savage MN

Thought it was a dragonfly at first. Scared my daughters.

 
  indigowren76
7/17/2018

Location: St Michael MN

 
  Kyle, PLM
8/30/2017

Location: Pope County

Several sightings as we are harvesting in various parts of the county.  Watched one searching relentlessly through the weeds along a gravel road looking for prey.  Very much reminded me of my dog looking for pheasants.

 
  pjbmeb
8/4/2017

Location: St. Paul MN

they fly very fast.  Feasted on my oregano flowers.  Total of four, each one

 
  Glen
8/17/2017

Location: Wanamingo, MN

I have a at least one or more females nesting in ground holes near the sliding door of our Quonset building. Very large wasp indeed, a few weeks ago I even saw a female bring a paralyzed katydid back to its nesting chambers. Pretty crazy sight to see.

 
  Jon
8/16/2017

Location: Chaska, MN

Cool looking wasp.  Want to get close up photos.  Living in Townhome brick foundation.

 
  John
8/14/2017

Location: Red Wing, MN

Have seen a dozen or so of these feeding off butterfly bushes we have planted in the landscaped area of our circular driveway. First spotied a couple of weeks ago and still present as of today. I wonder where they are nesting...

 
  DeWaine Tollefsrud
8/8/2017

Location: Shoreview

Beautiful non-aggressive and beneficial wasp just nectarine.

great black digger wasp

 
  Dia
8/7/2017

Location: Eagan

I have these great black wasps every year on my flowering twist and shout hydrangea and the pink diamond hydrangea. Seem to have more this year than other years. They don't bother us and we don't bother them so we live harmoniously together. I enjoy having pollinators around. Just hope I don't get in there way of their nests.

 
  Barnecat
7/4/2017

Location: Waldorf, MN

Hanging out on our porch, I noticed a wasp ‘hunting’ along the siding of our house. I watched this wasp deliberately kill (or sting) large spiders under the eaves. I saw the spiders fall, but did not see the wasp take them away. Just for sport?

 
  Emily H
7/4/2017

Location: Mantorville, MN

Didn't have a problem last year, but this season, noticeably in the past couple weeks, the have been buzzing back anf forth from one side of our house across the front porch to the other side of the house and into our garage. They tend to fly around the garage ceiling and up into the attic for awhile and then go back out to the other side of the house again.

 
  Arne Bokkers
7/16/2016

Location: Fergus Falls, MN

 
  Teri
9/9/2016

Location: Minneapolis

Have never seen this wasp before this summer. They were hanging out in my swamp milkweed. Until they showed up, wasps and hornets were all over in my milkweed eating Monach eggs. When these black beauties showed up, there were no more wasps and hornets. They don't seem agressive. They are welcome in my yard any time! 

 
  Bernieo
8/15/2016

Location: Alexandria MN

been hanging around my milkweed flowers for about the last week now.. only see one. 

also have seen a bald faced hornet the last few days on the same plants..

I grow them for the monarch butterflies 

 
  Sharon
Schloegel

8/10/2016

Location: Austin,MN

Nesting between garage and cement driveway. Digging out large amounts of sand.

 
  Woods
8/5/2016

Location: Ramsey, MN

These come back every August. They live under a crack in our garage. Im afraid of them because they are GIANT. I wonder if they bite or if they are dangerous to people in anyway. I’m pretty sure they could carry away my 3 year old………

 
  Jay
8/7/2016

Location: Baldwin WI

nesting in flower garden next to garage, burrowing into sand soil.

 
  Ellen
8/7/2016

Location: Powderhorn neighborhood in S. Minneapolis

I saw 2 of them around Golden Rod

 
  Laura Gingras
8/2/2016

Location: Chaska, MN 

We have had one buzzing around our garage when the door is open. The size was what surprised us before the coloring.

 
  Tory Williams
7/26/2016

Location: Waconia, MN

great black digger wasp

 
  dena33
7/27/2016

Location: Northeast Minneapolis

just as the other commenter observed, she is loving the oregano!

 
  Sam
7/26/2016

Location: South Mpls

was very surprised to see two of these in my flower garden today. The where hanging around my milkweed. Are they indigenous to mpls? Are they new to the area?

 
  Meridith
7/21/2016

Location: rural Prior Lake

I just had to look up these ominous looking creatures and discovered others, too, have been a little intimidated by their presence. We've never seen them at our place before, but there are numerous ones around one of our flower gardens and deck the last week. The oleander plant is especially enticing to them. So far they have not been aggressive. Hopefully they stay that way until they move on!

 
  Rebekah
7/20/2016

Location: Mazeppa, MN

We have dozens of these nesting by the garage and had to resort to filling their openings with foam and sand covered with wasp deterrent.  They are not happy, hopefully they move away soon!  One even had brought back a grasshopper the size of itself to the nest.

 
  Kay
7/20/2016

Location: Benton County

They visit our yard yearly and seem especially fond of flowers from the onion family of plants.

 
  Jaime
7/19/2016

Location: Rochester MN

observed 4 on mountain mintThe other continuous call besides the chorus frog is a gray tree frog. The occasional bird-like, rising notes sound like an alternate call of spring peepers. Check out http://listeninginnature.blogspot.com/2013/04/spring-peepers-listening-to-solo-voices.html, the recording that's labeled "Peeper soloist, then pitch variation in Peepers".

great black digger wasp

 
  Kate
7/19/2016

Location: NW Rochester, Olmsted county

one wasp we've seen several times in the landscaping on the north side of our house

 
  Dave K
7/17/2016

Location: Mankato, MN

Settled in between my Garage foundation and the cement slab next to it.  I have found them carrying large green grass hoppers to the nest.  They do not immediately succumb to Wasp spray but eventually will.  Tough buggers!  I have children so I am encouraging them to move elsewhere.

 
  kate
7/18/2016

Location: northeast minneapolis

2 busy pollinating oregano, never seen them before, seem to be sharing nicely with honeys and bumbles

 
  Cotter
7/13/2016

Location: Mower County, Austin MN.

 
  Mike
7/16/2016

Location: White Bear Lake, Mn in Ramsey county

Freaked me out cause of how huge and fast it was, took me awhile to realize it was a bee because of how dark it is. Never seen them before in White Bear until this summer. Bees everywhere on the wild flowers in the back yard this year. Seems very hostile towards the other bees and chases them away. Looks really cool flying in the sun though. One of the biggest bees I have seen here.

 
  Cheryl
7/2015

Location: Milkweed pod flowers

Every day for about a week these bees came by about a dozen. Only plant in the garden they went to was the milkweed plant.

 
  Susan
9/12/2015

Location: Bloomington

Spotted on flowers among honeybees.  Did not seem aggressive.

 
  Tork
9/5/2015

Location: Windom, MN

Found two in our house, have never seen these before.

great black digger wasp

 
  Lake Elmo Lifeguards
8/29/2015

Location: Lake Elmo Park Reserve Swim Pond

We set up makeshift wasp traps due to the hoards of common wasps we had swarming our beach and found out that we had caught two of these nasty great black digger wasps and decided to do some research on them. We have had them before but never actually caught them.

 
  name withheld
8/24/2015

Location: St Francis, MN

Had 4 females and 1 male in my house!  Finally discovered a nest in our garage rafters.  Mud-like.  Scraped it down and it had hundreds of maggot-like larvae inside.

 
  Barbara
8/22/2015

Location: Northfield

Saw a female on the rosebush.  Perhaps i made a mistake in planting oregano. I will ignore it, but stay as far away as possible.

 
  Randy
8/20/2015

Location: Village of Lake Bronson, near Lake Bronson State Park

Had never seen one of these so googled it as soon as I got home.
Perhaps it came to this area with a camper or boater visiting the state park or lake.

 
  Name withheld
8/2/2015

Location: Otsego, MN

Two flew out of a small hole under garage slab.

 
  JoEllen Martinson Davis
8/16/2015

Location: Seward Neighborhood, Minneapolis

feeding on flowers in front of Birchwood Cafe

 
  anonymous
8/15/2015

Location: Lonsdale, MN

 
  Catherine
8/12/2015 & 8/13/2015

Location: Standish neighborhood, Minneapolis, MN

Both sightings were on spotted bee balm - one in my yard and the other in a neighbor around the block. Quite a spectacular insect!

 
  Ali
8/11/2015

Location: Longfellow neighborhood, Minneapolis

Close to a dozen flying around the clematis paniculata this evening. I don't remember seeing this wasp prior to this year.

 
  Jamie G.
8/9/2015

Location: Northeast Dodge county, MN.

I have seen more than 6 of these this week in my area.

 
  Bonnie
8/8/2015

Location: Maple grove

These wasps have been coming enmasse to my front garden for years-they seem to like the milkweed. I have wondered if they will harm the monarch caterpillars eating the milkweed.

 
  John Valo
8/8/2015

These wasps will not harm butterflies or caterpillars. Adults feed on flower nectar and/or pollen. Females provision their nests with katydids.

 
  KMK
8/7/2015

Location: Maple Grove

I see dozens around my “quick fire” hydrangeas during flowering sesson.

great black digger wasp

 
  Martha A.
8/6/2015

Location: New London, Kandiyohi county, MN

I have watched this large black wasp go between the cement crack in our driveway and garage for a few weeks. Does not seem aggressive at all and have seen it on my oregano frequently. We did not want to harm it if it was beneficial so will now continue to let it hang out after reading your site.

 
  Mary
7/20/2015

Location: Stillwater, MN

I think there are several of these in my flower garden.  The nest appears to be under concrete ledge around the pool.  They are not aggressive but look frightening.  They are pollinators so please don't destroy.

 
  JH
7/30/2015

Location: Hanover, MN

I have seen these for many years. Now learned what they are.=

 
  Kallie Schabert
7/28/2015

Location: Farmington, MN

Saw them last summer & now this summer on our flowering shrubs.

 
  Zlittle
7/25/2015

Location: Rosemount

Found between the house and cement patio. They create issues as they scare everyone including grandchildren.

 
  RSR
7/24/2015

Location: Hugo, MN

Never have seen one of these until this week. Family of them living within a crack in our driveway. Huge! Would not want to be stung by these!

 
  AmberArthur
7/14/2015

Location: cottage grove, MN Washington county, under my cement step by the side door.

There appears to be perhaps less than 10 individuals at any given time. I enjoy their appearance every year. They just came out from under the step a few days ago.

 
  Cecilia
7/7/2015

Location: Rapid City, SD

In a protected area under the front steps of a small porch l noticed two or three of these black wasps where yellow jackets were a problem last summer. I have never seen these in our region before.

Our summer weather in the Black Hills has been extremely wet this year and our mosquito population is much higher than previous years. That may or may not be relevant.

 
  name withheld
6/25/2015

Location: redwood falls

saw in bathroom, have never seen one before

 
  Carmen Ortiz
5/1/2015

Location: Little Falls, MN

I put in today date but I have many that nest in my yard. I've been protecting them for the last eight years, along with the wild bees. I usually have dozens of them during the warm season. Their favorite plant seems to be oregano but my yard is a certified wildlife habitat by the Wildlife Federation and I grow many wildflowers. When the oregano is flowering in the fall, they hang out in the various patches. They have never stung me although I'm around them a lot, so I was upset to read that someone is actively trying to kill such a beneficial insect.

 
  Howard
9/4/2014

Location: Buffalo MN

Seen four or five of these among a large patch of goldenrod flowers.

 
  Bruce Jacobson
8/31/2014

Location: Sartell MN 56377

I am wondering if anyone else has reported a drop in Sphex pensylvanicus population after our cold winter. Last year, my marsh milkweed was literally buzzing with these wasps. This year, the population is 1/4 or less of last year and the grasshoppers are thriving.

 
  J.
8/30/2014

Location: New Hope

As a life long Minnesotan, I had never seen one of these, had to look it up. Very impressive looking with the iridescent blue wings and its size. It was feeding on the goldenrod in my garden.

 
  Pat
8/24/2014

Location: zimmerman

It was on my hydreanga tree

 
  Matthew Kirschstein
8/22/2014

Location: Sanborn

I have three or four working in my raspberries every day for the last ten days.

 
  Lisa
8/17/2014

Location: Rochester, MN

We've been in the house for 8 years and we've never seen them before this year. Today when I was backing out of the driveway, one of the wasps was in flight holding a grasshopper that was much bigger than itself. We thought it was very cool but I'm not having much luck convincing the kids that these wasps rarely sting.

 
  Taylor
8/17/2014

Location: Chanhassen, MN

There are a couple of these on my flowering bushes in front of my house.

 
  Brad
8/16/2014

Location: Bloomington

I saw it in the evening on my hydrangea tree . It was very impressive looking and didn't want to kill it.

 
  Tom
8/12/2014

Location: Andover, MN

On flowering bushes in front of our house. Wow they looked so big and different I had to look them up!

 
  Angie
8/8/2014

Location: St. Cloud, mn

these are huge and are all over my snowberry bush.  They look intimidating!

 
  Cyndi
8/8/2014

Location: St Michael MN -- eastern Wright County

Saw 3 of these in my brand new flower garden…they scared the heck out of me! Relieved to find out they're somewhat normal…had never heard of them before. They really like the taller flowers.

 
  Julie
8/7/2014

Location: Saint Paul MN

I started seeing these beautiful black wasp type things and had to look it up…which brought me here.

I thought it was strange that they acted like bees collecting pollen.

They look kind of scary but are very interesting and seem to mind their own business so I leave them alone.

 
  Steve S
8/6/2014

Location: On our hobby farm near Dennison, MN (Goodhue Co.)

They have burrowed under a stone step near my front door. I buried the opening with gravel and sprayed wasp spray. They just burrowed through the gravel! I finally placed some paving stones there and that seems to have done the trick. There are still a few that buzz around from time to time. I hit them with the spray and the fly away. I have no idea if they die or not. Most wasps fall down and die very quickly. These things are tough and persistent.     

 
  Mark S
8/5/2014

Location: Woodbury

Have seen five flying around my retaining wall. Have killed three with fly swatter. Two others have flown away with my water hose. Kids noticed it and came in house screaming.

 
  Emily K
8/4/2014

Location: Oakdale, MN

We have on about 2 every year that always come from where there is a crack between the pavement of the driveway and front sidewalk. They fly down into the hole often. I will have to watch more closely what they bring with them! Thanks!=

 
  Christie
8/4/2014

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

while walking my dog, flew in front of us and hovered around a retaining wall. This one was carrying a leaf. Is that normal?

 
  aimee reker
8/4/2014

Location: Eden Prairie, MN

Woe! A 2" black female is in between my front door and the storm door in Eden Prairie, MN (Hennepin). She is buzzing around trying to get out. We have a new yellow hibiscus tree aside the door that may have attracted the wasp. She looks scary and awesome.  I am hoping she goes away as I don't want her to nest here with my small boys but certainly don't want to kill this amazing creature.

 
  Janelle Timko
8/3/2014

Location: Circle Pines, Anoka County, MN

On the flowering oregano in my garden. Thanks to your site for helping identify what it is!

 
  Mary Robberstad
8/4/2014

Location: Under my front step for the last few years

I have a few of them flying under my step for the last few years. Wonder what kind of nest they have under there?? Would spraying after they leave kill off the nest???

 
  John Valo
8/3/2014

Location: Savage, MN

I visited the calcareous fen at Savage Fen SNA yesterday and saw dozens of these large wasps visiting blooming wildflowers. While I never saw more than one at a time (they are not social insects) they were by far the most numerous large flying insect on the fen. The description on this Web page says that they get up “to 1 long, averaging 1 long”. I didn't capture one and measure it but some of them looked larger than that.

 
  Jantze Haley
8/3/2014

Location: Golden Valley, MN, front entry patio

Several on my hardy hydrangeas.

So far they have not bothered us. Your website was helpful in identifying them.

Thank you

 
  Karen
7/31/2014

Location: Apple Valley, MN

My friends and I actually watched (we didn't realize it was a black wasp) trying to bundle up a dead spider in a ball and carry it away.  A large dead spider, mind you.  It kept coming back trying to figure this out and we couldn't figure out why it wanted the thing.  Once the wasp left we got rid of the spider and it didn't come back.

 
  Rhonda Walker
7/28/2014

Location: Minneapolis -South

I've seen them for the past couple days on my oregano and also on my phlox. They seem harmless enough but I give them their space! My flower garden is blooming madly this year and is full of bees, wasps and butterflies. Love it!

 
  Jon Manning
7/28/2014

Location: Bloomington, MN

I have never seen these wasps before today.  There were several dozen on yellow wildflowers growing in a drainage ditch behind my work.

 
  Mark
7/28/2014

Location: Burnsville MN. Near CR. 11 and 35E

I saw in the kitchen, on the sliding glass door. Sort of freaked me out. I have been in this house if 16 years,
And I have never seen anything this BIG around here before. Given the online descriptions, I would guess this was a female Wasp.
It was easily almost 2 inches long. Hope I don’t see many more of these!   

 
  Patty Olson
7/21/2014

Location: St. Hilaire, MN

I have seen two black wasps since moving to a new residence on the Red Lake River near St. Hilaire, MN.  I did not know what they were, but found them on your site.  I presume since there are two, there must be more? I’ll have to look at the info on your site to find out more about them. 

 
  JH
7/20/2014

Location: Monticello

have had a nest for 2 years now. Trying to get rid of it as it is in the front steps to our house!

 
  Jennifer
7/9/2014

Location: Inside my office on the 7th floor of a building in St. Cloud, MN

It flew past my head a few times trying to find its way out a window, scared me to death, but it definitely didn’t seem aggressive.  A man in my office killed it with a fly swatter.

 
  Lindholm
7/6/2014

Location: blaine, mn

found it inside our house. Strange thing is that we don't have any flowering plants in our yard. Never seen anything like this before!

 
  Michele Raddatz
9/9/2013

Location: Chanhassen MN

We have them all over our hydrangeas right now - have never had them EVER!! Trying to find and kill nests.  Live in Chanhassen MN !!

 
  Janet Gmail
9/5/2013

Hi I have never seen a black wasp and googled it and found your site. It made me aware and no so afraid to have them landing on my flowers. Good information.  Thank you

 
  Sarah K
8/26/2013

Location: Caledonia, MN--Houston County

Hi there! Love the website, we have been seeing dozens of these huge black wasps all over our backyard this summer. Today I finally got one, I don't have any flower bushes, a few in pots, but my neighbor has a huge flower garden in their back yard and I'm assuming that is where they are coming from. Anyways, my county is not listed on your map so I thought I'd email and state where they were sighted. We are in Caledonia, MN--Houston County. Thank you for all the information!

 
  Amy M.
8/18/2013

I have seen these in my veg garden for 3 years now.  We are in the NW Suburbs of Mpls.   I don't want them here, however, they are serving a great purpose for my veggies.  How would I find their nest and destroy it w/out chemicals? Any chance they will leave me alone when I am trying to work in my garden?

 
  BRUCE IN PLYMOUTH, MN
8/18/13

HI HI

I HAVE HAD THEM LIVING UNDER MY GARAGE SLAB LAST 3 YEARS

THEY BUZZ AROUND BUT DON’T BOTHER ANYONE

ITS NEAT TO SEE THEM CARRY IN A BUG OR GRASSHOPPER THEIR SIZE

I WILL ADMIT WHEN THEY FIRST ARRIVED THEY APPEARED INTIMIDATING

 
  Katherine in Minnetonka
8/15/2013

I had never seen or noticed these until I was stung on the calf a week ago in Rapid City SD.  Initially the sting was very painful, but subsided after about an hour.  I didn't give it much thought until I woke up the next morning.  Calf was very red and swollen, eventually swelling to about the size of a softball.  Also a burning itch that went on for a couple days.  After a week, the swelling, itching and redness has lessened, but is still very noticeable.  I am telling you this so people understand they can have a severe reaction to the sting of this wasp.  Also, saw one for the first time on my deck today.  Didn't know if they were common here or if it followed me home to finish the job :). 

 
  Shelly
8/9/2013

Just want to let you know this year for the first time I have them in my back yard. I do have a flower garden they (about 7 of them) are around daily within the last 2 weeks. My relatives that live 1/4 mile from me have many of them in their front entry way. Hutchinson is about 60 miles west of Minneapolis Mn.

 
  Susan R. Spray
8/7/2013

Hi, I had a black wasp in my den last night. I live in SW Minneapolis. Have sun flowers, hostas and lilies blooming in the yard.

 
  Teresa Okeson-Prater
8/6/2013

I live in Cottage Grove, MN south end of washington county -- last night I saw a minimum of 5 of these flying in my garden (which is my entire front yard) .    I had to look up what this bug was since I seem to have so many of them.    Great website.

 
  Ashley Hoefs
7/31/2013

Use your website a lot! Very interesting. Today, the Kids and I looked up the great black digger wasp because one kept flying around us. I noticed that Wadena.county wasn't highlighted for sighting so I wanted to comment they're here! Thanks :)

 
  M L
7/18/2013

I just thought I would send a sighting update for them. Noticed my area wasn't covered on the sightings map. I live in Princeton MN just north of 95 in mille lacs county. I have seen them all over my yard this year. One in my living room this morning. Beautiful iridescent blue black color and double wings on each side. Thanks for the informative website! -Michael -

 
  Jennifer Kirby
8/13/2012

I have had the great black digger wasp feeding on my swamp milkweed for the past month in Farmington, MN, Dakota County. Thought you might like to up date your sightings map on your web page.

 
  Bill Seifert
8/10/2012

I have 2(Sphex pensylvanicus) of these reguarly on swamp milkweed in our native plants garden at 3229 47th av s Mpls., mn. 55406

 
  Teri Luciw
8/5/2012

Hi,

Found your website. I have been trying to find a way to get rid of the great black digger wasp for years.

We have them in our backyard annually, right next to our patio and everyone in my family is afraid of them, we all run. I have killed many over the years but they are smart and somehow continue to hide their eggs in places I can’t find. This year my approach is going to be to dig out and discard my favorite 4 peony bushes that reside up against the East side of our house because this summer this is where they have been digging holes and laying eggs and prey for them to feed on. In all previous years it was up against the foundation of the house behind the rock boarder next to the same peony bushes. I thought if I chopped down the greenery on the peony bushes that they would leave, but no. I have tried all kinds of products to kill them but nothing does, including wasp spray, it is useless. Direct contact and no reaction. I have pondered an exterminator but I doubt any of them have any experience with this. I have learned a lot after watching their behavior and there is very little information available about them. If you have any advice please let me know as I want to get rid of them forever.

 
           
 
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