Sand wasps include many related genera and species, including all wasps in the genus Bembix. Most sand wasps are yellow and black, or white and black, often with a banded (beelike) pattern. Many have pale greenish markings. All dig nests in the ground for their eggs and provision their nests with insects, usually various types of flies. Often, many sand wasps make their nests in the same small, sandy area, but they are not social or communal the way paper wasps and yellow jackets are.
One species, Bembix americana spinolas, is one of the largest and most conspicuous sand wasps. Its habit of hovering uncomfortably close to a person for the purpose of catching flies attracted to that individual is often mistaken for aggression. But these are even-tempered wasps, and it is possible to feed them out of your hand by presenting them with a living fly not quite capable of flight. Sand wasps are occasionally mistaken for hornets or yellow jackets because of their banded color pattern.