The female wasps collect and paralyze adult beetles in the Buprestidae family. They then take the beetles back to their underground nests and lay an egg on the beetle's thorax, specifically the mesosternum.
Check out the white jelly bean shape on top of the Buprestid beetle. That is no jelly bean- it's a Cerceris egg and it will soon consume the beetle (yum)!
These are no yellow jackets, nor are they bees!
They are ground-nesting wasps!
How cute is the video to the left? (SO cute!)
Wasps save the day!
As if they couldn't get any cooler...
Cerceris fumipennis females will often collect the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle. EAB is a common pest of ash trees in North America. EAB can kill entire trees and is historically difficult to detect using visual and trap survey methods.
Have no fear, Cerceris is here!
Cerceris fumipennis has been used as an alternative surveillance method for EAB. Instead of humans looking for beetles in the trees (when it is often too late), we let the wasps do what they do best, hunt! This is a lot more cost and time effective. All we humans have to do is find the wasp nests, mark then, and look inside the nests for the EAB beetles.
Who's looking for the wasps?
Trained wasp watchers find the nests and then mark them with blue sheets (see the above image). They then create a map and revisit the same nests to find EAB.
This process is called biosurveillance.
Want to become a wasp watcher?
Check out this awesome website for more information