Scoliidae Wasp: Adult Campsomeris plumipes fossulana (Fabricius), a scoliid wasp.
Credit: Dr. Tim Davis, Director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens


Nature never ceases to amaze us with its diverse and captivating array of insects. Among the remarkable creatures that inhabit the Southeastern United States, the Scoliid Wasp stands out as a fascinating insect with its unique characteristics and intriguing behavior. Let’s look at the enigmatic world of the Scoliid Wasp, exploring its distinct features, remarkable life cycle, and the vital role it plays in maintaining the delicate balance of ecosystems in the Southeastern United States.

Appearance and Distribution:

The Scoliid Wasp, a member of the family Scoliidae, possesses an appearance that immediately captures attention. With its robust body, prominent antennae, and intricate wing venation, this wasp species boasts an impressive and distinct visual presence. Found throughout the Southeastern United States, including states like Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, the Scoliid Wasp is commonly observed in meadows, gardens, and open grasslands where its preferred hosts, such as beetles and grubs, can be found. World wide there are more than 500 species, but in the Southeastern U.S. there are 20 species and numerous subspecies.

Life Cycle and Behavior:

The life cycle and behavior of the Scoliid Wasp are truly fascinating. After mating, the female wasp embarks on a quest to locate beetle or grub larvae, which will serve as hosts for her offspring. Once found, she skillfully paralyzes the prey using her sting, ensuring that it remains alive but immobilized. The female then lays her eggs on the immobilized host, providing a ready source of food for the developing wasp larvae.

As the wasp larvae hatch, they consume the living host from within, gradually completing their development. Although this behavior may seem ruthless, it plays a crucial role in regulating the populations of beetle and grub larvae, contributing to the overall ecological balance of the Southeastern United States’ ecosystems.

Ecological Significance:

The Scoliid Wasp, with its predatory behavior, plays a significant role in maintaining the health of ecosystems in the Southeastern United States. By preying on beetle and grub larvae, these wasps act as natural regulators of pest populations, preventing overpopulation and subsequent damage to crops, grasslands, and gardens.

Additionally, Scoliid Wasps unintentionally contribute to pollination. While foraging for nectar from flowers, they inadvertently collect and transfer pollen grains on their bodies, inadvertently aiding in the pollination process as they move from one flower to another. This incidental pollination service supports the reproduction and diversity of plant species in the region.


The Scoliid Wasp of the Southeastern United States is a captivating insect that amazes us with its distinctive appearance, intriguing life cycle, and vital ecological role. By controlling beetle and grub populations and inadvertently aiding in pollination, these wasps contribute to the overall health and balance of the region’s ecosystems.

As we continue to explore and appreciate the biodiversity around us, the Scoliid Wasp serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness and beauty of the natural world. Protecting and conserving these remarkable creatures is essential for preserving the rich ecosystems of the Southeastern United States and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

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