ONH

  • 1160685
  • 1492
  • 3172
  • 8756
  • 9024
  • 9348
  • 1160685
    1 - A Sand Wasp, Bembix sp., on beach sand.

    07/06/2015 Fort Flagler Historical State Park, Marrowstone Island, Washington

  • 1492
    2 - Sand Wasp.

    09/14/2006 Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

  • 3172
    3 - Sand Wasp.

    07/27/2007 Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

  • 8756
    4 - Sand Wasp on Entire-leaved Gumweed flower.

    09/20/2007 Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

  • 9024
    5 - Sand Wasp emerging from its hole.

    07/31/2006 Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

  • 9348
    6 - Sand Wasp.

    08/05/2006 Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Bembix sand wasps dig holes several inches deep using the front legs, which have special adaptations for digging. Each time they leave the hole, they cover the opening. When they return to the hole, they may circle the spot several times, apparently recognizing landmarks. Then they excavate the opening to the hole again. This shallow oval excavation may be a centimeter long with the nest hole roughly in the center.

They capture insects, usually flies, sting the prey to paralyze or kill it, then fly back to the nest hole. They drag the prey into the nest hole. After hatching, Bembix larvae feed on the prey insect. Some Bembix species supply additional insect prey as their larvae develop. Bembix adults generally feed on flowers, but may feed on the gut contents of prey they capture for their young, without killing the prey. They later carry the prey to their nest hole to provision their larvae. (see Bembix Feeding in menu).

In photos, the pseudopupil often makes Bembix appear to be peering at the camera.

Bembix can be identified by the large green eyes, stout body with white or yellow zigzag stripes, close-set antennae and an elongate proboscis.