What kind of large, red flying wasp with blue wings would be dragging a large rubbery-looking spider across the patio, then stuffing it into a hole in the ground? Is it a hunting wasp, and what kind of spider is it?
A large, red wasp with blue wings is a spider wasp subduing a spider prey, which is probably a large wolf spider. Spider wasps hunt spiders by stinging and paralyzing the spider then dragging or carrying it to a hole they use for a nest. An egg is then laid on the spider and the developing wasp larva consumes the paralyzed spider over the next month an a half. The wasp usually continues its development in a dormant stage over the winter in the nest, emerging the next spring. Spider wasps are types of hunting wasps that do not make colonies, but individually dispatch their specific prey and use it as food for their young in a solitary nest. Most spider wasps are blue-black and/or orange-red. "Tarantula hawks," which specialize in preying on tarantulas, are the largest and best known of the 280 or so North American species of spider wasps.