Genus: Philanthus Fabricius, 1790
Common names: beewolves, bee-hunters, or bee-killer wasps
Philanthus species are solitary, predatory wasps. The majority of species prey on bees, hence their common name. These wasps build solitary nests in the ground. Adult females provision their nests with insects, like bees, to feed their larvae. The adults consume nectar from flowers.
Distribution of Philanthus by GBIF: https://www.gbif.org/species/1338932
To identify the family (Crabronidae):
To identify the tribe Philanthini:
To identify the genus Philanthus:
There are 140 known species of Philanthus worldwide.
Adult beewolves feed on nectar, but the larvae are fed bees and other insects provisioned by females at the time of egg-laying. They prey particularly on sweat bees (family Halictidae), but at least one European species specializes on honey bees (Apis mellifera) (Bohart and Grissell 1974).
Females hunt for prey on flowers, at solitary bee and wasp nests and apiaries. They excavate tunnels in the ground for their nests. Some species, like P. bilunatus and P. nasalis, nest in sandy, flat locations, while others, like P. gibbosus, build their nests near forest edges, in meadows, or even in cliff faces. The average nest contains 3–7 cells, and each cell can contain 3–18 bees and/or wasps as larval food. Females may share nest entrances, but each female uses its own cells (Bohart and Menke 1976). They sleep in their nests after closing the entrance from the inside.
Males are territorial and use pheromones to mark twigs and other objects in their vicinity to claim the territory from other males. They tend to sleep in aggregations in small tunnels and in the ground.
Adults are present from June to September in North America, and only have one generation per year.