A Sweet Story


Once upon a time (November 2017), I came upon a large hive covered in lovely stripey friends, and I took a photo. Unfortunately, I was still new to my camera, and I didn’t realize until I uploaded the photos that my focus depth was off. Oh no!

I uploaded my photos to iNaturalist, identified the friends as honeybees, and went on my way. Except, I was told that this was not a honeybee nest, and the bees had likely made this hive a temporary home while searching for a new one. 

Unsatisfied, I returned the next day, determined to get better photos of the nest. I got them

They weren’t bees temporarily taking up residence in an abandoned paper wasp nest. They were Mexican Honey Wasps, who make a big, elaborate paper nests. And also, honey. Yes, wasps that eat honey. Oh yeah, and they also eat pest insects that damage food crops, and it’s believed that these wasps were responsible for pollinating avocados before honeybees were introduced from Europe.

But anyway, I’m digressing. 

I don’t see these wasps very often. Besides on that nest, I haven’t really seen them elsewhere.

Until earlier this week. Guess who visited my garden?

I have an Elderberry bush baby growing (it’s not even a year old yet). And it would appear that Elderberry plants have nectaries–those little knobby things where the leaves attach to the stem by my fingers are the nectaries. Think of nectaries as little plant nipples that let insects drink nectar direct from the tap. Ants and wasps can’t get enough of them. While I was taking these pictures, I had two other wasp species wandering through this bush for the nectaries!

But that wasp up there?

Going to town on the nectaries here?

Mexican Honey Wasp

I’m going to be so excited if their nest ends up being in my yard! They’d be smart to put one in there! So many bugs for them to eat! So much delicious nectar! 

I love my yard. I’m at 989 species right now. So close to 1,000. 

March 17, 2019

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/183515269366.

Tags: insects, insects anonsally will never see.

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