Stake Out

Treebeard and I make regular visits to the new house to keep an eye on things during construction. During these tight economic times you can't be too careful. After we check the house, we check the yard. Actually, we spend a lot of time checking the yard -- there is some pretty cool stuff out there.

On Friday afternoon, as we were scanning the yard in front of the porch we heard an interesting buzzing coming from a couple of dime-sized holes. Hmmm, some sort of solitary wasps, perhaps? Having inquiring minds, we settled down on the bumper of our truck and waited to see what might emerge. While we watched one of the holes, a set of antennae attached to a head with a yellow face peeked out but then quickly scooted back in out of sight. Not enough of a look to allow an ID. Shazbot!

It was hot and we both were sweating in the late afternoon sun, but we had to know so we continued to wait and watch. Finally, our persistence was rewarded. The builder of the second hole appeared, a katydid clutched to her belly. Aha! A golden reined wasp, Sphex habenus. By the time my camera focused, she was already abdomen-first down in the hole, ready to add the paralyzed katydid to her offspring's larder.

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After she dragged her prize down into the hole we heard the familiar buzzing again. Apparently it is necessary to do a little adjusting down there when a new tidbit is brought in.

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When she was satisfied with the placement, she re-emerged from the hole. We watched as she first walked around the opening tapping her antennae against the ground, and then flew around in circles above the opening before taking off to continue her hunt. Cool.


Jenn said...

Much better then a nest of her cousins, the yellow jackets. Man, I detest very few of nature's creatures - I even tolerate mosquitos, to a point - but yellow jackets bring out the destroyer in me.

Maybe because they are so damn "mean" [yes, yes, that's translated to 'tenacious in guarding their home and offspring.' ...still can't garner any sympathy for them...]

That gold veined wasp is elegant. I used to love watching the mud daubers in Michigan. Those metallic blue ones are so beautiful.

swamp4me said...

You'll get no argument from me about the yellow jackets :) Little, but potent! And such attitude...