Sunday, July 1, 2018

An Image and Its Story - June 2018

One day when I was working in my garden in front of the house I noticed some funny little "bumps" on some of the lavender stalks. Upon looking closer I realized that the "bumps" were tiny nests. I took a couple pictures and then consulted Google to find out which insect builds this kind of nests.

I had never heard of the Potter wasp (Eumenes fraternus) - that's the wasp that builds these nests or brood cells. They are harmless wasps that are actually beneficial to the garden. They are solitary, rarely aggressive and you don't have to get rid of them. On the contrary, they provide excellent insect control. Adult potter wasps feed on flower nectar whereas the food source of the developing young are caterpillars. The brood cells are provisioned with 1 to 12 caterpillars each.

Their tiny nests are masterpieces. They are as "big" as a small marble, made from mud and resemble a miniature pot or jug - it looks like it was thrown on a potter's wheel.

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