Sand Wasp, genus Bembix Click to enlarge image
Sand Wasp, genus Bembix Image: Jiri Lochman
© Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Genus
    Bembix
    Family
    Sphecidae
    Super Family
    Sphecoidea
    Suborder
    Apocrita
    Order
    Hymenoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    2 cm

Introduction

The sand wasps are closely related to the Mud-dauber Wasp but, unlike their cousins, sand wasps nest in the ground.

Habitat

Sand wasps live in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.

Distribution

Sand wasps are found throughout Australia.

Feeding and diet

Adult sand wasps feed on nectar but most hunt for flies to feed to the larvae in the nest. They are excellent hunters, capturing flies on the wing, paralysing them with venom in mid-air and carrying them back to the waiting larvae.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Although sand wasps may nest in a group, they do not share labour like true social insects unless the nest needs defending, in which case they may attack as a swarm.

Danger to humans

Sand wasps can deliver painful stings, but are not as aggressive as the European Wasp. They normally only attack humans if their nest is disturbed. An ice pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of an allergic reaction, medical attention should be sought.