Great golden digger wasps (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Sphex ichneumoneus) can be found throughout much of North America. They’re particularly common in areas that harbor wildflowers for adult nourishment, sandy soil for their nests, and insects for their larvae to eat. Prairies, meadows, and fields are perhaps their ideal habitats.
Industrious females spend much of their time digging nests, provisioning them with prey for their young, and laying eggs. They excavate near-vertical tunnels with numerous side chambers. They then hunt down prey like crickets and grasshoppers, sting and paralyze them, and carry them back to their burrows.
A female places a single prey animal in each chamber of her nest, and then lays a single egg on each one. Once the eggs hatch each larva has a large, juicy meal to devour before pupating into an adult
The prey are often bigger than the wasps themselves, and moving them is no small feat. The particular wasp shown here had brought back a large katydid (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae), and despite the size of the prey the wasp seemed to have little trouble maneuvering it into her nest.