Blue-winged Wasps & Flies

Scolia dubia, the Blue-winged Wasp or Blue-winged Scoliid Wasp, with two i’s.
“Two eyes” may be a good mnemonic for this one with the two orange marks on their reddish abdomen. When they are gathering nectar, they’re easy to spot. But I’ve seen two bunch of them patrolling what I thought must be a courtship or nesting area recently here in the city and on the flanks of the hill at Croton Point. And when they’re on the move, it’s hard to see this vibrant rear end. This species goes hunting for beetle grubs underground, especially June bugs and the invasive Japanese beetle, which are then parasitized by the wasp larvae.
The “blue-winged” description covers more than one species. This is Chalybion californicum, the Blue Mud Wasp or sometimes Blue Mud-dauber, for instance. This one has captured a spider it will entomb for her young. That’s how I guess it’s this species and not the similar-looking Steel-blue Cricket Hunter (Chlorion aerarium).
The Great Black Wasp shows some blue in the right light.
The blue-black connection comes into play here, too, only this is not a wasp. It does seem to be a bit of wasp-mimic, though. Looks like a Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens). Note those unusually long antennae for a fly.
The more you look, the more you’ll see. Hadn’t ever noticed this species before this summer.

There’s a Pelham Bay Nature Day today in the Bronx from 11-3. Our friend NYC Wildflower Week has teamed up with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, bete noire of misogynist fascists everywhere, to stress the green in Green New Deal.

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