Revealed by the thinning of the leaves, two more Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nests:Note the differences in the color pattern of the wood-pulp paper between the above nest and the one below. I have some paper that is predominately reddish, but the one above is the usual pattern I see here in Brooklyn. The all-gray one below is unusual looking.Both of these were nearly twice as large as the one I recently discovered in Prospect.
Update: I saw three more of these in Prospect Park today.
Published November 1, 2013
Tags: Brooklyn, wasps
I hope your Halloween was without plastic, styrofoam, and corn syrup.
Unless she’s a queen. A Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata), caste unknown, unexpectedly by the front door buzzer.
I rarely see this species, but I know they are neighbors. A local nest was revealed by the fall of leaves a couple of seasons ago. The wood-pulp paper nests are abandoned in the fall and not reused, making them safe for removal and adding to your bookshelf. Fertilized queens squirrel themselves away for the winter, to start again the generations next year… if they make it through the winter.
Published September 23, 2013
Tags: Arizona, insects, wasps
For the budding naturalists I met in the park while photographing these wasps, which of course I couldn’t remember the name of. There were about half a dozen on this milkweed, more than I’ve ever seen at once. This is the Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). The adults, like many of the big wasps, are gentle vegetarians, gathering nectar for themselves, while they hunt grasshopper and katydids for their young. And speaking of katydids, last night they were giving They Might Be Giants a run for the money in Prospect Park with their music.In the first photo, you can see where some of the little pollen packets, the pollinia, of the milkweed has attached itself to the wasp’s front leg.
Black and Yellow Mud-Dauber (Sceliphron caementarium). Remember when they spent a winter nesting in the Back 40? And then bundled out of their mud huts after about 9 months entombed in hard mud like ancient Egyptians?
“Paging Dr. Kinsey, paging Dr. Kinsey! Gall wasp emergence on Henry Street…”
Before he went into human sexuality in a big way, pride-of-Hoboken Alfred Kinsey was a specialist in gall wasps, a vast and largely unknown kingdom, at least to us non-specialists.
Back in early February, I posted about two species of gall wasps on an oak in Green-Wood. I bought a couple of the galls home to photograph. One of these had no exit holes, so I popped it into a little plastic box with a magnifying lens built into it. Yesterday, I noticed something moving in it. From the corner of my eye, I thought ant, and thought it must be outside the box. But it was this 5mm gall wasp inside, crawling about. (Ants and wasps are of course in the same order, Hymenoptera, so the morphological similarity makes sense.)
I placed the box into the freezer for about a minute to get this wasp to play dead momentarily for the camera.
Published December 31, 2012
Tags: insects, Prospect Park, wasps
If you’ve been following this blog a while, you’ve seen this before. Not this photo, not this example, but similar. For nature follows cycles, and so too does this blog. Pieces of the past summer’s Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nests, now abandoned by the generation of 2012, get blown out of trees this time of year. Somewhere nearby, a mated queen, tucked into a protective nook, awaits the long days of spring and summer to begin the building anew.