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Beneficial Insects Thrive in Unsprayed Gardens

Great golden digger wasp on swamp milkweed

Great golden digger wasp on swamp milkweed

August 2, 2018

Great golden digger wasps (Sphex ichneumoneus) seem to be abundant this summer. Here's one feeding on nectar of a swamp milkweed flower. Members of the Sphecidae family (thread-waisted wasps), these solitary wasps benefit the world by pollinating flowers and aerating soils, as females dig vertical tunnels up to 6 inches deep into the ground, with side tunnels for nest cells. They drag a captured and paralyzed grasshopper, katydid or cricket into each nest cell and then lay an egg on top of it. The developing larvae feed on the insect. Digger wasps are not aggressive if left alone, and they themselves are food for birds, mammals, reptiles and others. You can support these fascinating and beneficial insects by avoiding insecticide use.

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