Wasps II

These are roughly in size order:Great Black Wasp. These pictures do not convey the sheer giganticness of this species. They are big and fast, really moving between flowers. They hunt katydids, crickets, and grasshoppers for their young.The Great Golden Digger Wasp. Crickets, katydids, grasshoppers, beware.European Paper Wasp. Know them by their red/orange antenna. I’ve seen them take down Monarch caterpillars and feast on the adult butterflies, too. Black and Yellow Mud-dauber. Also known as Yellow-legged Mud-dauber. Spider-hunter.Two different individuals in separate places. Blue Mud-dauber or Steel-blue Cricket Hunter? There sure are a lot of these things… still working on figuring out this one.

5 Responses to “Wasps II”


  1. 1 elwnyc August 9, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Is that last one the bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)? I think of the markings being white, but it might be the lighting.

    • 2 mthew August 9, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      No, it isn’t.

      Funny thing about those Bald-faced is that I very rarely see them. I can think of only one or two times so far this summer, and none stuck around long enough to be memorialized in a photo. Yet once the leaves come down, their big paper football nests are visible all over.

  2. 3 Paul Lamb August 10, 2019 at 7:31 am

    For all of their menace, they are still elegant creatures, especially that blue one!

  3. 4 jesse.anne.o August 20, 2019 at 11:46 am

    I haven’t noticed them much in past years but this year I had two strange experiences with them. Not sure what the first one was but it was taking worms and storing it in the screw hole in a patio umbrella (and eating them later). It sounds like there are a few wasps that do this with worms (paper? something else?) but couldn’t figure out what it was.

    That was this one – https://www.instagram.com/p/B0sNZqdj4DK/

    And then at BBG we saw this bald faced hornet attacking this beetle type bug: https://www.instagram.com/p/B09cG-KDxb4/

    • 5 mthew August 20, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      First image looks like a European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, the most commonly seen paper wasp. They are known for feeding chewed-up caterpillar bits to their larvae, so could your worms be caterpillars? Looks like it was probably caching prey in the umbrella.

      Fantastic action view in the second image from BBG! That’s a Green June beetle, which seems like an awfully big target for the Bald-faced. Bald-faced Hornets, the ones who make the large paper nests that start showing up everywhere once the leaves fall from the trees, hunt among pollinators, too, patrolling the flowers and making lunges, usually unsuccessfully, for prey. Saw one recently hanging upside down by one foot as it chewed something up. They also feed their larvae chewed-up bits.

      Do you use iNaturalist? These are great action/behavior observations.


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