Hi, My mother has lived in Andalucía in sothern Spain on and of for 40 years, and she has seen this insect intermittently, I've only seen it about 10 times, on 3 spring/summers, the size of the ones seen are between 3 and 7cm approximately [its well over twice the size of the black bees we get in the south]. There arent many true locals anymore, no one in the local gardening center, chemist etc knew what it was, though an old friend of moms said hed seen it before, but didnt know what it was.
Unfortunately theses are the only photographs we have of it on a [large leafed] stephanotis plant. It fly's and it burrows, I think it may have had a burrow underneath a set of umbrella pines we had in the garden.
Twice to try and get photos, mom put a bucket on it so she could go and get the camera, once it knocked over the bucket, the other time she put a brick on the bucket and it burrowed out, making a 2ish cm hole, the ground was a hard sun backed sandy earth.
We have had quite a few visitors from Africa, and we wonder what this one is, and how far from home is it ?
I once found a hornet that was about 5cm long under a bit of wood in a forest near us. I looked it up and i found European giant hornets. Might be worth a look.
Hi, thanks for the suggestion, I do suspect its a type of hornet, and did google a bit before posting, the wings, waist, and the markings on "my bug" are a bit different from most giant hornets I've managed to find online, it looks a more like an asian one, then european in my opinion. The markings from what I remember were the same on each of them that we saw.
As we are so far south, we have had a few african insects, so that's why I wonder if its a type of african hornet? Very curios to find out what the beastie is !
Living in the Pyrenees and seeing every day Asian and European Hornets I can confirm its not one Hornets live above ground Asians preferring shrubs or trees European buildings more often than not my chimney
Maybe a Mammoth Wasp (Megascolia maculata)?
Thank you Florin, the mystery is solved! Just wanted to say, the biggest my mom saw was 13+cm [she is a sculptor with great spatial awareness] , I didn't put that in the original post, because I thought no one would believe me, and it was unusual that the bug was that big!
This common and extremely distinctive species is the biggest hymenopteran of Europe (overall females like the one in your photos, as the males are a bit smaller) but they never could have 13 cm long or wingspan, anyway. They have a lenght of about 6 cm.