Category: wasps

godtsol:

i love this

August 8, 2019

glumshoe:

We’ve had a lot of small monarch caterpillars on our milkweed plants this summer, but so far none of them seem to be surviving to pupate. They’re supposed to be gross and poisonous, but I don’t think the birds have gotten the memo yet. I just went out and collected as many as I could find—I count eleven caterpillars and one unhatched egg. We’ll take care of them until they’re ready to pupate, and then we’ll set them out on the porch to emerge as butterflies.

A mother butterfly followed me around from plant to plant, laying eggs on one leaf while I plucked a caterpillar from another. Best wishes, ma’am!

Birds aren’t getting them, wasps are. Their larvae eat caterpillars and grubs. If you watch your garden, you’ll see paper wasps wandering around hunting for them.

August 2, 2019

I have a question about wasps. There’s a nest right in front of my front door, and while I can respect that they’re just living their little waspy lives, my dad is highly highly allergic to all stinging insects, so we need them to pick somewhere besides my front door to live. They’re free to go about their waspy business, but they need to do so elsewhere. My dad is going to land himself in the hospital trying to get rid of them. Is there a way to relocate them / make them pick a new home?

Best way: from a very far distance, spray the nest down with a hose. You can spray the downed nest away from your front door since the wasps will probably swarm around it for a while. They will rebuild somewhere else, most likely under the eaves of your house again, but hopefully not by your door!

Hope this helps!

July 30, 2019

nanonaturalist:

Oak galls in Travis Audubon’s Baker Sanctuary outside Austin, March 18, 2017. Galls are a new thing for me: they are growths composed of plant matter that grow around a larva, typically of a gall wasp. They do not harm the plant, and if you don’t know any better you would think they are dried berries or seeds.

This was my first time seeing fresh ones–before I had only seen the brown dried up ones the wasps had already emerged from (several are pictured above, look for the exit hole). The green galls seemed to be only on the saplings. I collected a couple to dissect at home (didn’t bring my knife!).

Turns out each gall has an individual wasp. The middle of the ball has a suspended encasement for the larva. You can see where the larva is in the photo of the dissected green gall–the larva is on the side I’m pointing to with a needle. I pulled out my trusty iPhone microscope, and amazingly was able to get (very shaky) video of the larva MOVING. Creeped me the hell out when I saw it.

Fun fact: when I first saw the wasp larva moving in the microscope, I actually screamed 👍

Amphibolips sp. – Wasp that produces galls on oak trees

Reposted July 14, 2019

nanonaturalist:

I was finally able to ID some of my mystery observations on iNat! I always love finding “evidence” like this but having absolutely no idea what they are. I had guessed that the top one (bright lime green) was an insect cocoon, and the bottom one (white cottony fluffy mass attached to a stalk of grass) was a collection of eggs.

The top photo was taken at Southeast Metropolitan Park outside of Austin in late January. iNaturalist Observation [link] is here. Turns out all I had to do was google “texas lime green cocoon” and viola! These are spinybacked orbweaver eggs! Spinybacked orbweavers are one of my favorite Texas spiders–they are so much fun to watch and I find them everywhere. Below are just a few of the ones I have seen recently–each photo is a unique individual.

image

The bottom two photos were taken in my backyard, also in late January. iNaturalist observation [link] is here. This one really had me stumped. I have seen several of these but just couldn’t figure out what they were. Nobody on iNat offered suggestions. I noticed the first ones towards the end of summer/early fall, and I assumed that they were likely eggs or a cocoon from one of the common insects/spider I find in my yard. I looked up what the eggs/cocoons for various species looked like, but nothing was even close. I had pretty much given up. 

Then last night, I was at the bookstore trying to find some African bird books for my November trip to Malawi and had no luck, so I consoled myself by leafing through the Texas Nature books to see if any were worth buying. I found one that was about Texas Bugs, and was an interesting guide of the most common arthropods you find here. Lo and behold, in the braconid wasp section, there was a photo that looked EXACTLY like this. 

In case you are not familiar, braconid wasps are the parasitic wasps that grow on caterpillars. You may be familiar with the Microgastrinae that have individual pupas hanging off caterpillars (photo taken at a bioblitz in east Texas in May 2015, observation posted here [link]):

image

It seems that other species in this family make super fluffy pupae–so fluffy that you can’t see the poor caterpillar underneath them. I had considered dissecting one of these fluffy masses, but decided against it for some reason. Now I really wish I had! If I’d seen a caterpillar in there, I would have known it was braconid wasps!

Another fun post to come across! I posted this in March 2017. I did eventually come across some more of those super fluffy cocoon piles, but the host was always long gone by the time I had found it. Braconids do not exclusively prey on caterpillars! I have seen some that will make their cocoons away from what they had presumably used as a host, so it seems there is no “right” way to be a parasitic wasp! 

I like this post because it shows where my learning curve really started to take off. Spring 2017 was the point in time when I started to CONSUME entomology content like it was malt vinegar and sea salt potato chips (and I have a bit of an addiction…). I also like that it shows that sometimes you learn through intelligence (my google abilities), and sometimes you learn just by pure luck (flipping through a book at a bookstore). And really, you need both!

Reposted July 14, 2019

nanofishology:

Yesterday, between doctor appointments, I went for a walk at my favorite park, Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve.

Reposting from Fall 2016

Speaking of wasps vs bees! funny to note, I had tagged the original post with a #bees tag and lol, that is clearly a yellowjacket on my sweater hahaha. PS I did NOT GET STUNG!

The purple berries are American Beautyberry, and the plant is a host for Rustic Sphinx Moths. Ask me how I know! 😀 The snail is a Globular Drop.

Also, peacocks act like giant fat pigeons and they come up and beg you for food. There was one once who thought I was a sexy lady peacock and he tried to woo me. Uh, sorry? This is a great park if you are in Austin! The peacocks are LOUD! If you visit and you can’t find them, look on the roof of the house or up in the trees, because yes, they can fly. The ones in this post have shorty tails because they molt them after mating season in May, which means if you visit the park during molting season, sometimes YOU CAN FIND THEM!

Reposted July 9, 2019

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker!