Posts Tagged 'wasps'

Late Insecta

Not a single bee, wasp, or butterfly spotted yesterday in Green-Wood during lunch. There was a suggestion or two of fly, and at least one spider. The first real day of winter, then, bug-wise.

Last weekend, though, these stragglers were spotted:
Differential Grasshopper, a big one.
One of the confusing Syrphid flies.
Clouded Sulphur.
Vinegar fly.
Variegated Fritillary.
Large Yellow Ant, according to iNaturalist. Reproductive ants are winged, the better to spread the genes, and the wasp-ant similarity really comes through.
Speaking of wasps… there are so many species! This may be a member of the Square-headed Wasp subfamily.

In the Queen’s Chamber

Let this be a lesson to me. I turned over a rotten old log that was about two feet long and a quarter of that in diameter. It came apart in three pieces. This stirred up this Bald-Faced Hornet, all covered in saw dust. Must be a queen in her over-wintering chamber.

A thousand pardons, Your Majesty! I put the wood back together after she resettled in her hollow.

Elsewhere that same Saturday, this nearly eye-level nest was still active.

Bald-Faced Washing

Bald-faced Hornet licking the stonework. Getting salts and minerals?
Also, licking forelegs to groom antennae. Like a cat!
The grooming wasp was spotted Saturday in the sun. This nest was seen Sunday, with at least one wasp hanging around still.

Cryptus

One of two similar ichneumon wasps I saw yesterday around the trunks of very large trees. I’ve never seen this species before. This is what keeps me looking.
I think she’s a Cryptus. Note the long, harpoon-like ovipositor. She is looking for moth larvae to jab her eggs into. She kept moving, but hardly flew. Wings constantly flicking. I took dozens of pictures to get these passable ones.
There are a lot of ichneumon wasp species out there. This one was easy to narrow down to genus because of that orange abdomen.
Cryptus albitarsis, White-footed Cryptus Wasp, perhaps. That’s the most common species. The “feet” do look pretty pale in some of these images.

Last licks in before the cold…

Under the Lilac Bush, Again

Remember the Wasp Lilac? Cicada-killer Wasps and a few other wasp species, but mostly Cicada-killers, were sucking the sap from this one bushy specimen in Green-Wood. Well, more than one lilac, actually, since the one nearby was also being suckled at.
A month later, I happened to look again, and now it’s the turn of the European Hornets.
Vespa crabro is another big, burly wasp. I usually see one or two patrolling places with lots of pollinators. They are rather generalist when it comes to prey.
And they also clearly like the sugary stuff.
Cleaning. The fastidiousness of big killers like these is something to see.
Those mouth parts! These are serious jaws. And that tongue, at least I think it’s the tongue, looks very hairy.

Webworm Days

Fall Webworm caterpillars have been everywhere. This one was on a raised bed on the sidewalk next to the local high school last week, with barely a tree in sight.
I don’t even remember where this was, back in July.
Here’s yet another, along the 5th Avenue Green-Wood fence. Uh-oh!

You see, everybody knows the prolific caterpillars are out and about. Dozens of parasite species attack Fall Webworm, which provide a lot of meat. This one is an ichneumon wasp. I’m not sure what her strategy is because I can’t get her down to species level. She’s a member of the tribe Gravenhorstiini of the family Ichneumonidae.
But that strategy ain’t good, at least according to the caterpillars. The wasp, of course, has another agenda.
Those are, in fact, caterpillar droppings. These colonies are messy.
Here’s more. These are cocoons of a Meteorus genus wasp. They hang from rather crinkly silk under the webworm nests. Both look like they have exit holes at the base. According to Eisemen and Charney, if the exit whole is irregular and on the side, it’s the work of another wasp who parasitizes the parasite.

Location (3)

Still at Shawangunk. There’s one of those perma-porta-potties, thick with Drain Flies, and an observation gazebo. Mud-daubers and paper wasps appreciate the dry, sheltered spot.

Seemed like everywhere you looked up there were old or current Polistes nests.
There are… a number species of paper wasps in the Polistes genus in the northeast; 11 by one count, 21 by another, I assume it’s a matter of the range of the “northeast”. Anyway, this maybe P. fuscatus, the Northern or Dark Paper Wasp. Says Bugguide.net: “the separation of P. fuscatus from related species remains the greatest taxonomic problem of the northeastern Vespidae fauna.” Interestingly, the very yellow and black European Paper Wasp (P. dominula), which is all over NYC, is also in this genus.

Started seeing these dark ones in late August in Brooklyn, too. After a steady diet of P. dominula all summer, they’re a welcome sight.
Speaking of diet, this one has some food. I gathered there was a nest down there.

So many wasps! There was a time I would have avoided them all. Yikes! But they’re just going about their business, and I’m just quietly photographing them, and nobody is bothered.


Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 590 other followers

Twitter

Nature Blog Network

Archives