Thirteen Nests

Late in the day. English Plantain in bloom several places along the trails. I saw a single White-faced Meadowhawk perched on the tip of a dead branch at eye level. How long before these first meadowhawks take on their mature red color?

After the previous day's successful biosurveillance, intercepting the hunting wasp and capturing its prey, I keenly anticipated more, but I wasn't able to make it into the field until late in the day, well after the peak hours of wasp activity, so I settled on some simple reconnaissance work. There had been zero Cerceris nests on the practice field when visited several days ago. Today, I numbered thirteen nests (literally scratching the number into the infield dirt adjacent the nests) and there were wasps flying.

As I surveyed the ball field, a small mystery presented itself—not all nests were the same. In fact, there seemed to be four distinct varieties (if indeed they all belonged to Cerceris fumipennis): 1) active nests that had a large mound of sand with a large opening in the middle; 2) closed nests that had a large mound of dirt with the opening plugged by the wasp with sand from within; 3) exit holes of the same diameter as the active nests but without and mounded sand around them; 4) small pushed up mounds of sand. I suspect the latter may be wasps preparing to emerge? One of the flying wasps, a female, landed and inspected one of these small mounds. It then flew and landed at a second one of these small mounds before flying off for good.

George and Elizabeth Peckham, who studied a variety of wasps near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, over a century ago, had this to say about our wasp: "Fumipennis, large and handsome, with a broad yellow band at the front of the abdomen, is another wasp that has no regard for the convenience of the people who are watching her. You may sit by her big open hole for hours without seeing her, and when she comes she drops in so suddenly that, unless you are very much on your guard, you are not sure even then what she is." (from Wasps: Social and Solitary, 1905)

Publicado por scottking scottking, 03 de julho de 2017, 02:52 AM

Observações

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 2, 2017 04:42 PM CDT

Descrição

Corrugated Beewolf
in flight with bee
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 2, 2017 04:33 PM CDT

Descrição

Smoky-winged Buprestid Wasp
and nests
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

What

Língua-de-Ovelha (Plantago lanceolata)

Observador

scottking

Data

Julho 2, 2017 04:18 PM CDT

Descrição

English Plantain
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

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