Sphex pensylvanicus – Great Black Wasp
These are solitary wasps and are not aggressive like social wasps and usually do not sting. In fact this one seemed shy and did it’s best to avoid me. The adults feed on pollen and nectar. But their method of nesting and feeding their young are the stuff of science fiction horror movies and nightmares.
Females burrow in the ground or use and existing hole to nest and lay their eggs. So far so good, nothing really scary about that. But what comes next is – if you let your imagination get carried away. Great Black Wasps hunt crickets and their sting will immobilize but not kill their prey. They drag the captured katydids into the burrow and lay a single egg on each. When the eggs hatch the larvae have a nice live juicy meal.
I sometimes called my kids ‘life sucking parasites’ but I never considered putting them up for adoption like a Great Black Wasp mother. I guess human children inject something that instills love in their hosts.
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