This enchanting creature, photographed by Daniel Pepper in Seattle, is a large and gentle solitary wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus. Commonly known as the great golden digger wasp, it is distributed throughout North America. One of its most striking features is the dual-colored abdomen—black and orange—and the bright orange legs. These wasps are also big. The males […] Read more
Think again. The elegant and complex nests shown below were built this summer in two of my three swarm traps. I’ve been using the same three flowerpot-shaped traps for perhaps ten years, hanging them each year from the same three trees. In early spring, we go trudging up the hill with a ladder and the […] Read more
Last winter was mild here in western Washington, so I predicted a surge in yellowjackets and bald-faced hornets this summer. Sure enough, they are everywhere and I’m bracing for battle. Come autumn, when the wasps are looking for a treat, the honey bee colonies will be prime targets. Like bumble bee queens, mated yellowjacket and […] Read more
Speaking of wasps, I just received this photo from Nan at Shady Grove Farm in Kentucky. The white things you see attached to a tomato hornworm are the pupae of a braconid wasp. Using her ovipositor, the female braconid lays her eggs inside the body of the caterpillar. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae eat […] Read more
Where I grew up, the word “wasp” was uttered with derision and hate. A wasp was something to fear, to avoid, to kill. It was so bad, I can almost relate to the following incident. Recently, a visitor to this site wrote to ask if I could identify a bee she saw in her garden. […] Read more
This beautiful creature photographed by Andrew Hogg is not actually a “blue wasp” but a great black wasp, Sphex pensylvanicus. According to John Ascher of BugGuide.net, only the wings are blue. It belongs to the family Sphecidae, the thread-waisted wasps, and if you look carefully at the photo, you can see the very thin connection […] Read more
When I posted the photos from Andrew Hogg yesterday, I somehow overlooked this one. So here is it, front and center.