Queen Ant Kidnapper

Mid afternoon. Cowling Arboretum. Mostly cloudy at the beginning of the hike as I set out to look for Queen Ant Kidnapper wasps.

Because it was the weekend, quite a number of people fished the banks of the Cannon River. At one location an extended Hmong family fished—moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, infants in car seat carriers, music, and coolers of food—obviously there for the duration. I said hello to several of the family members and kept walking, headed to the sunny upland trails to search for wasps.

On the gravel trail along the edge of the prairie, I saw no clubtail dragonflies (I've seen them here in the past) nor any wasps. The weather was warm enough but to overcast. On the sandy access road, where I'd discovered the Queen Ant Kidnapper last summer, numerous wasp nests were present, many looked freshly dug. A single wasp flew down the road ahead of me, disappeared, and did not return.

I crossed Highway 19 and visited the Carleton College baseball fields, thinking I might find another Cerceris fumipennis nesting site there. The fields, which I'd never visited before, were immaculately cared for, but they were also empty, fenced, and padlocked. The low strata of clouds drifted away and the sun came out. I turned around and revisited the wasp sites.

On the sandy access road, several wasps were now active, flying, digging, or simply peeking out of their nests. A Weevil Wasp (Cerceris clypeata) peered cautiously from one mound-shaped nest, recognizable by its solid yellow facial markings. Several feet away, out of a tunnel-shaped nest, the digging cast out in front of the entrance, a Queen Ant Kidnapper made an appearance, the yellow markings of its face divided by two wide vertical stripes. This was the wasp I'd hoped to see. In the days and weeks ahead, this wasp will hunt and provision its nest with queen ants.

Pleased to have found the wasp I went searching for, I headed toward the car. However, I was soon delayed by more wasps. On the gravel trail along the edge of the prairie, several black wasps were flying. These turned out to be Cerceris fumipennis. I'd passed by these nests earlier; with their large entrance plugged with sand from within (when it was cloudy) I mistook them for anthills. I counted five active nests (there were probably more). I watched one wasp carrying a beetle drop directly, without landing, into its nest entrance and disappear. Another returning wasp appeared, flying slowly. I didn't have my net, but I'd read, just this morning, that you could tap the wasp with your hand while it was flying and it would drop the beetle it was carrying. I gave it a try. I followed the wasp and tapped it. It landed on the ground and then flew away. Where it had landed, I found a slim, metallic beetle. It worked!

Publicado por scottking scottking, 02 de julho de 2017, 03:08 AM

Observações

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 1, 2017 03:06 PM CDT

Descrição

Four-spotted Jewel Beetle
captured by Cerceris fumipennis
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 1, 2017 02:59 PM CDT

Descrição

Buprestid Hunting Wasp
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 1, 2017 02:40 PM CDT

Descrição

Ant Queen Kidnapping Wasp
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 1, 2017 02:38 PM CDT

Descrição

Weevil Wasp
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 1, 2017 02:02 PM CDT

Descrição

Beautiful Mining Bee, male
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 1, 2017 02:46 PM CDT

Descrição

Mining Bee
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Comentários

There’s an aggregate of these in my garden. It wasn’t til today that I observed them carrying queen ants.

Publicado por allisonbf 5 meses antes (Sinalizar)

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