To Bee Or Not To Bee.

This excellent post by Dr. Manu Saunders reminded me of one on the old blog from four years ago, and prompted this re-publishing to perhaps interest new readers.

Gasteruptiidae wasps, are wisps of things that can disappear before your very eyes, and can be extremely hard to photograph as they flicker around, so when I saw one beside the bee house it was inside quickly for the camera. It was still there when I returned, dancing back and forth, so I sat on a chair with the camera ready on the tripod waiting for it to pause. I didn’t know at the time that they are parasitic on solitary bees and wasps and the food for the young, but that fact soon became clear as the series of photographs shows. The wasp finally landed at one open cane among several sealed ones, checking it out thoroughly.

This cane must have been an unsealed brood chamber, because things really got interesting. These wasps seem to have a double barrel ovipositor, the one with the white tip, and another very thin red one with which it touched the white tip. When flying, the two are held together with the red one virtually impossible to see. It can just be seen in the fourth shot, although not sharply as the flickering ovipositor is slightly blurred.

I can only surmise that it was getting an egg, because it then inserted the red ovipositor into the cane, folded the white-tipped one along its back, and disappeared upside down into the cane.

A short time later the wasp backed out and was gone, with I presume its egg laid and a masked bee doomed to never see the light of day.

Click the first six pictures to enlarge.

Well Worth The Effort…

…to grow the multi-coloured Xerochrysums this season, they have been a magnet for a wide variety of insects. As mentioned previously they were originally intended for butterflies, but to date not a solitary one has been seen taking up the offer. No matter, the camera has been kept busy with the others, some more of which follow, starting with small grasshoppers that seem to like taking up residence on the flowers.

A native bee has been photographed concentrating a drop of nectar by evaporation, this large fly perched on a leaf seems to being doing something similar. There are a number of theories why flies do this but apparently no definite conclusion. More information here.

Photographed for the first time, a long-legged flower wasp, several of these have been nectaring.

Not an insect, but a tiny lynx spider probably just out of the egg, head and body measured only about two millimetres. It lived on the flower for several days, growing slightly before disappearing.

Highly magnified.

There are many different pintail beetles in a variety of sizes. This is one of the larger ones, a Hoshihananomia species.

Click images to enlarge.