Sphecidae

These are the digger and mud dauber wasps. The adults are 2-40 mm long and the body is black to reddish brown; some are metallic blue or green, and some are marked with yellow or reddish brown. The hind legs and antennae are long, and the body setae are sparse. They are very active and take short erratic flights. They usually nest in subterranean cells, which are provisioned with insects or spiders. This is a diverse group of wasps, and the prey used for provisioning brood cells includes homopterans, various species of wood-infesting beetles, winged ants, bees, and flies captured in flight. Microbembix monodonata is a large wasp with greenish-white markings; it is abundant along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. It preys on dead or dying insects. Nests of most sphecids are usually in sandy areas, but many species utilize natural cavities above ground, including abandoned beetle emergence holes in wood, and a few species build mud cells.

Thrips wasps, Spilomena spp. Adults are about 9 mm long and black; the petiole is short. This wasp is abundant in the spring; thrips wasps capture thrips to provision their nests. The prey is stored in abandoned tunnels of the furniture beetle, Anobium punctatum. They may first clean the beetle tunnels, and create a pile of ejected frass below the holes, which gives the impression that the beetle larvae are active in the wood. Spilomena is a large genus and species are distributed around the world.

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