Beneficial Besties: The Blue-Winged Wasp

Have you ever seen a blue wasp? Wander near a patch of mint in late August or early September and you may encounter this natural marvel, named for its gorgeous iridescent blue coloring.

The blue- winged wasp, Scolia dubia, is a parasitic wasp easily recognized by its metallic blue wings, black upper body, and reddish- brown abdomen decorated with two yellow spots. From late summer to early fall, this beneficial beauty can be seen either foraging in your flower garden for sweet nectar or hovering over your lawn.

People have good reason to fear most wasps – they tend to be aggressive and sting!  But no need to be alarmed by the Scolia dubia because it’s is doing you a favor.  It’s a terrific pollinator and also a helpful hunter. Female blue-winged wasps hunt for beetle grubs, especially Japanese and June Beetle grubs. Those beetle grubs are lawn pests that damage grass by munching on the roots.

Once the female blue-winged wasp locates a good spot, she burrows into the soil, finds and stings the grub, and lays an egg on it. The egg hatches, the wasp larvae eats the paralyzed grub and eventually it becomes a new wasp! That’s one less grub eating your lawn or becoming an adult beetle capable of making more grubs.

Blue-winged wasps are not aggressive, so sit back and enjoy watching their wings glisten in the sunlight as they go about their day.