Sand Wasps

Top Photo: Sand wasp hovers above concealed burrow. I just assumed the sand wasps I was looking at were Bembix species of wasps. The wasps were buzzing low over sections of the large, empty sandbox area of Gateway Park which has been closed since the start of the Pandemic (I’ve been told the area will re-open in the near future, but until that time it’s home to various insects including the always fun to watch sand wasps). The 20 someRead more

The Wasp and the Caterpillar

Top Photo: caterpillar lying on its side next to burrow entrance. As I walked past the Pollinator Garden which is just above the Butterfly House Rain Garden, I notice a green object hurriedly angling across the path. It looked like a caterpillar, but it had an odd movement, a side to side wiggle, and speed which most caterpillars don’t display while moving along the ground, or anywhere else. There are a handful of swift moving caterpillars, but none quite thisRead more

Potter Wasp

A hot, humid, and quiet day and a potter wasp has secured a looper caterpillar for its “pot” nest chamber. The wasp descended on the caterpillar as it was looping along the path in front of Into The Mist in Catch the Wind. I was lucky to be there when it happened. Potter wasps are solitary wasps, which means they nest alone, not in colonial gatherings as do some burrowing wasps or in collective hives as do yellowjackets, paper wasps, orRead more

Visiting Sumac

  Dwarf sumac was in bloom this past week along the north side of the Wetlands. There were many insects visiting the tiny greenish flowers. Here, in the photos below, are a handful of those visitors.       Carpenter bees drill holes in trees, or the wood facia or siding of your house, creating separate chambers within the tunnels, and stocking each chamber with pollen and nectar. They lay an egg in each chamber and seal it off. The young thatRead more

Paralyzed spiders for my babies, please!

You have no doubt seen the object, or one like it, in the photo at right. It’s an Organ Pipe Mud Dauber’s nest. One individual constructed the “pipes” in the photo, a female wasp. The male may be nearby to guard the nest but doesn’t participate in its construction. Each pipe may have anywhere from several to a dozen cells within. The cells are stocked with spiders which the female paralyzes with venom from her stinger. Once stocked with spiders,Read more

Two insects

A dragonfly. Although I saw what I think was a Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) last week, and definitely saw one on Friday (3/23), Common Green Darners are still the dragonfly you’re most likely to see cruising over the Wetlands at this time. A wasp. The above wasp was spotted as it was dragging the cricket across the farmyard at the end of the day. I didn’t quite know which wasp it was at the time, but simply calling it aRead more