These beautiful wasps were all over the Sedum yesterday.
I searched and searched to find out exactly what they are
and finally found that they are Scolia Dubia Wasps (also
called Blue-winged wasps) and that they are a type of digger wasp.
In the sunlight, their wings shine a fluorescent blue,
but I could not seem to capture the hue in the photos I took.
Some more information I found about them:
Body length is 0.63 in (16 mm). Hairy and blue-black in color, with two yellow spots (one on each side of the abdomen). Behind the yellow spots, the abdomen is brownish and the hairs on the body more noticeable. The wings are dark blue.
New England to Florida and west to the Rocky Mountains.
Adults often are found on flowers. These wasps appear in the early morning and fly low over lawns infested with scarabeid larvae. The flight is characteristic: they fly on a horizontal plane only a few inches above the ground and following a circular or figure eight–shaped course. Males become active somewhat earlier than females, and mating takes place largely on the ground or on low vegetation as soon as females appear.
The female dig into soil or fallen leaves with her powerful forelegs to locate a host. On finding a grub, she stings and paralyzes it. She may burrow 0.5 in (1.2 cm) deeper to construct a cell around the host. Then she lays an egg on the outside of the grub. She may sting many grubs without laying eggs on them; such grubs usually do not recover. Unmated individuals of both sexes are gregarious (form aggregations); after mating this gregariousness is abandoned.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Adults feed on nectar derived from the blossoms of various plants; larvae feed on beetle larvae. Green June beetle, May beetle, and Japanese beetle grubs seem to be the primary host.
Females attract males by spreading their wings so that the brilliantly colored body is revealed. Eggs are attached lightly by the posterior end to the body of the host. When the larva hatches, it finds itself provided with food, which has been preserved alive. There are four larval instars; the mature larva spins a cocoon. During the larval stages the entire contents of the beetle larvae are consumed.