Posts Tagged 'wasps'

Wasp Nests, Part I

I’ve now spotted 22 of these paper wasp nests in local trees.
Some in the park, some in the cemetery, but at least five on street trees, right outside doors, stoops, and windows.
All have been abandoned by now, and the weather is starting to break them up. I found this paper on the ground; looked like just the comb was still hanging in the tree above.
This is made of wood fiber chewed off dead wood, including wood fences, by Dolichovespula genus aerial yellowjackets.

“Aerial Yellowjacket” is a bit unfortunate for a term, because the most common Dolichovespula wasp we have here is the Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculate), which is black and white:

Gathering wood fiber off a fence slat.

Meanwhile, in Pollination:

Some Wasps

Have you noticed all the parts of a wasp’s mouth? That’s the tongue in the center there, reaching into the nectar, but that’s not the half of it.
This is Ammophila pictipennis, I think, one of the thread-waisted wasps.
Here’s a European Hornet, hanging from at least one foot, devouring a Western Honey Bee. These big hornets are relatively slow fliers and seem to miss most of their tackle-like approaches to prey, but they clearly hit enough to carry on.
It was a cool morning, and I didn’t see any of these ubiquitous European Paper Wasps out and about until I happened to spy one of their nests in the plantings.
These are relatively small, uncovered nests, compared to:
The football-sized paper-wrapped nests of Bald-faced Hornets.
This German Yellowjacket was obsessed with my boots, flying around them, landing besides them, and at one point climbing up one of them. I moved a few feet away, and the process repeated itself. Did it again, and it happened again. Finally lost the wasp by moving further away.
Eumenes something-or-other-should-be-distinctive, one of the pottery and mason wasps. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Even More Galls!

Andricus incertus on swamp white oak (Q. bicolor) acorn. (All the below are on various swamp white oaks as well.)
A cluster of Oak Rough Bulletgall Wasp galls (Disholcaspis quercusmamma). Note the ants and bee.
Bald-faced Hornet and Asian Lady Beetle, too. In fact, I found several with lady beetles on them. Are the galls extruding something sweet to eat?
This one is out of the ordinary, if any of these extraordinary gall structures can be called ordinary. Andricus quercusstrobilanus. (You’ll be noticing a number of these things don’t have common names.)
Oak Rosette Gall Wasp (Andricus quercusfrondosus).
And fresh versions of the same.

More Galls

This is Andricus capillatus, a Cynipidae gall wasp like all these specimens today, on a white oak.
Round Bullet Gall (Disholcaspis quercusglobulus), on the same white oak. This magnificent specimen of a tree is on a slope, with one branch sweeping down below eye-level, which is essential when searching for these things.
Here’s another Round Bullet Gall, from a previous year (and again, the same white oak). These are quite woody and persistent. Notice the exit hole. The wasp cut its way out.
Inside is the cocoon.
The empty cocoon. The wasp had to get out of here before cutting through the gall structure.
Millimeter scale.
Acraspis pezomachoides, same tree. Pea-sized.

Remember, the tree itself forms these galls in response to the irritation of the wasp. What fascinates me is how each species of wasp forces a characteristically differently-shaped gall.

Twofers and More

European Paperwasp and Two-spotted Scoliid Wasp.
Clouded Sulphur (or is there some orange in there?) and something something skipper.
Another skipper, in the background, along with an Common Eastern Bumblebee and a striped sweat bee.
Monarch and more Common Eastern BBs.
Two species of metallic sweat bees.
Monarch and skipper.
From the top clockwise: European Hornet, Cicada-killer Wasp, Eastern Yellowjacket, all slurping up lilac sap.

Good gravy!


And colors:

Blue-winged Ones

Zethus spinipes, I think. One of the potter and mason wasps. Note all the parts of the mouth, like little tendrils.
Isodontia philadelphica, a grass-carving wasps, also sans a common name.
Female and, with the face dot, male Four-toothed Mason Wasps (Monobia quadridens).
Nearctic Blue Mud-dauber (Chalybion californicum), presumably. Very similar looking to the Steel-blue Cricket-hunter Wasp (Chlorion aerarium).

Vine Wasps Continued

Eumenes potter wasp. Remarkably, even with this striking pattern, can’t get this one down to species. And that’s a wasp curator on iNaturalist talking.
Leucospis affinis, a parasite of mason bees.
Note that she carries her ovipositor flipped up and across her back. I’ve never seen this before.
This is an impressive appendage, which can drill through 7mm of plant material (or cardboard, for those who set up mason bee nest sites).
And look at these massive hind legs!

Tiger, tiger, flying bright

… until caught in a web. An ichneumon wasp — of some kind.
You might think something this distinctive looking would be easy to identify. For instance, doesn’t “Tiger Wasp” sound good?
But there are a LOT of ichneumon wasps. The Ichneumon genesis alone includes about 143 species in Neartica (most of North America). Here’s what says about the Ichneumonidae family: “~5,000 described spp. in almost 500 genera in the Nearctic Region, possibly 3,000 more undescribed; arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates).” Neither nor iNaturalist can even confirm genus.
(I returned this back to the spider web after taking these pictures.)


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