Scolia hirta – Croatia

Scolia hirta is a species belonging to the family Scoliidae subfamily Scoliinae.

It is present in most of mediterranean and central Europe, in East Palearctic ecozone, in the Near East and in North Africa.

Scolia hirta – Male
The adults grow up to 10–25 millimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, the body is completely black, with two glossy yellow stripes on the abdomen. The wings have a smoky-dark color, with blue reflexes. Males have longer antennae than females, as well as three large spines at the tip of their abdomen.

They can be encountered from July through September feeding on flowers, with a preference for flowers appearing cyan or blue to bees eyes and for composite flowers or aggregated inflorescences.

These massive solitary wasps dig in search of larvae of beetles (Cetoniidae species, especially Cetonia aurata, as well as Scarabaeidae species). Then they parasitize the larvae and lay eggs in them for feeding their offspring.

Mutilla barbara- Velvet Ant- Croatia

Velvet and is a wingless wasp

The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair, which most often is bright scarlet or orange, but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the giant panda. Their bright colours serve as aposematic signals. They are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. Unlike real ants, they do not have drones, workers, and queens. However, velvet ants do exhibit haplodiploid sex determination similar to other members of the Hymenoptera, including the Vespoidea.

Xylocopa violacea – Violet Carpenter Bee-Croatia

These are probably the biggest bees I have seen on my travels

Violet carpenter Bees hibernate overwinter and they emerge in the spring, usually around April or May. Hibernation is undertaken by the adults in wood where there are abandoned nest tunnels. In the late spring or early summer, they may be seen around searching for mates and suitable nesting sites. After mating, the gravid femaless bore tunnels in dead wood, which is where the name Carpenter Bee comes from, although old nest tunnels may be used.

Like other solitary bees, the female creates the nest alone. The eggs are laid within a series of small cells, each of which is supplied with a pollen ball for the larvae to feed upon. The adults emerge in late summer then hibernate until the following year

Megascolia maculata flavifron – Mammoth Wasp (Croatia)

Highlight of my insect finds on holiday.

The mammoth wasp, Megascolia maculata flavifrons, is a very large wasp (the largest in Europe), with the female reaching up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in), whereas the male is smaller. The species can be seen in warm weather, from May to September.

Mammoth wasps are parasitic of the European rhinoceros beetle larva, since the female mammoth wasp stings the larva to paralyze it, and then lays one egg in its outer skin. The egg will then hatch and the mammoth wasp larva will feed on its host, until it is able to build a cocoon and develop into an adult mammoth wasp. It will stay in the cocoon over winter, and will emerge only in spring.