Sunday, August 5, 2018

Bee Balm Bistro 1: Three Wasps Walk into a Bar....

On July 15, 2018, this very large wasp came to dine at the Bee Balm Bistro.  Isn't (s)he a beauty?  Check out that yellow belt and those smoky-blue wings!

Thanks to, I learned that this visitor is  Euodynerus crypticusa mason wasp.

Nesting in small colonies, E. crypticus digs a vertical burrow in the ground, sometimes bringing water from elsewhere to soften up the soil.  The eggs are laid in individual cells, sealed off with clay, and furnished with caterpillars, which provide a ready-made meal for the larvae when they hatch.  This species specializes in the caterpillars of skipper butterflies.... 

Despite having started out life sipping caterpillar innards, this adult E. crypticus obviously likes the nectar which Bee Balm has to offer!

At that same time several individuals of a second species of mason wasp came to sample the libations at the bistro.  

This wasp is resilient.  (S)he comes right back after being shoved away by E. crypticus.  

A braconid wasp also came for the bistro's food and drink.   Maybe she is also looking for a caterpillar or beetle on which to lay eggs.