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Endangered guests on my balcony (Symmorphus murarius)


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 4 2023 - 10:19 AM

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Since I have seen all you guys with their successful bee hotels and bee photography, I decided to also have a bee hotel on my balcony.

But I admit I left it a little late, since solitary bee season lasts till the end of May, and I left it till Mid-May to actually hang the hotel.

I also added a glass test tube to one of the wooden tubes, in the vain hope someone would build a nest in there and I could do some peeking like another one of our members showed in the bee photography thread.

 

Well, I did not get any bees.

 

But all weekend I was lucky to observe some other guests moving in.

Potter wasps!

Several of them, busy carrying insect prey and clay to close the tubes.

According to my field guide, these guys are also endangered, so I do not only house some really cool insects on my balcony, but endangered ones to boot!

The field guide says these are Symmorphus murarius.

 

Somehow, I see this as a metaphor for my whole life.

I wanted bees, but what I got was wasps.

Of course these are much cooler, but also not as "nice" and cute and fuzzy to talk about. Another thing much harder to share the coolness of to my fellow humans.

I however find it exciting and rewarding to watch the proud mothers dragging in their paralysed victims, knowing that a hungry baby larva will slowly devour their living flesh, while the victims cannot even scream.

A strangely poetic horror movie.

Unfolding right here, on my balcony.

 

Anyways, here they are.

 

Wasps01.jpg

 

Wasps02.jpg

 

Wasps03.jpg

 

Wasps04.jpg

 

Wasps1.jpg

 

Wasps2.jpg

 

Wasps3.jpg


Edited by Ernteameise, June 4 2023 - 10:53 AM.

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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 4 2023 - 11:56 AM

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So cool! I hope they provide many weeks of enjoyable observing.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#3 Offline futurebird - Posted June 4 2023 - 1:00 PM

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Wasps and solitary bees often have interesting little lives full of drama. I think as long as they aren't yellow jackets, people can get into that if you help them to understand what they are trying to do. :)

 


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Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#4 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 5 2023 - 11:51 AM

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Well, we have further developments!

The wasps were busy and have closed up a few more of the wooden tubes!

 

wasps-0506-1.jpg

 

wasps-0506-2.jpg


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#5 Offline Flu1d - Posted June 5 2023 - 1:28 PM

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Wasps and solitary bees often have interesting little lives full of drama. I think as long as they aren't yellow jackets, people can get into that if you help them to understand what they are trying to do. :)


I'm sure I'm reading too far into this, but I may ask why you called out yellow jackets specifically? I was tempted to start a Vespula squamosa colony next year just to try it out.

Well, we have further developments!
The wasps were busy and have closed up a few more of the wooden tubes!

wasps-0506-1.jpg

wasps-0506-2.jpg


These are so cool!
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#6 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 6 2023 - 11:29 AM

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And more work has been done.

 

These wasps are keeping busy!

 

Wasp-706-1.jpg

 

Wasps-706-4.jpg

 

I also used some cardboard to build a bit of a ramp to maybe entice some of them to built into the glass test tube. But so far, no luck.

 

Wasp-706-2.jpg


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#7 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 9 2023 - 11:39 AM

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The girls are very busy!

They have now filled and closed 20 tubes and two more are under construction.

 

0906-Wasps.jpg



#8 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 10 2023 - 10:52 AM

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Some more things happening on my balcony-

 

A dragonfly resting

 

1006-libelle.jpg7

 

And then I got some real gruesome David Attenborough style drama happening right here, on the balcony!

My potter wasps are still very busy and without rest build their nests.

 

1006-wespen1.jpg

 

1006-Wespen2.jpg

 

So far, so harmless.

But then I noticed something!!!!!

Of course, where there is industry and larders built up, some free-loaders take note and in this case, a parasitoid wasp was watching every move of the potter wasps and actually went into the tubes when the mothers left to get more insects / clay.

The potter wasps were on several occasions aware of the parasitoids, and did attempt to chase them away, but the parasitoids (who are also expectant mothers!) were relentless.

 

1006-Schlupfwespe2.jpg

 

Look how sneaky the parasitoid is!!!!!

 

1006-Sneaky-Parasitoid.jpg

 

 

 

1006-Schlupfwespe1.jpg

 

Just imagine the type of horror movie material happening right there, under my nose!

So the mother potter wasps harvest insects, paralyse them with venom, and their larvae will eat the paralysed insects alive while they grow. All the while there are parasitoids who might actually eat the growing wasp larvae in turn.


Edited by Ernteameise, June 10 2023 - 10:53 AM.


#9 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 13 2023 - 11:08 AM

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Whoa!

Slow down!

The wasps have nearly taken over the whole bee hotel.

For a species that is supposedly "rare", they really put an effort into the preservation of the species.

 

1306-Wasps.jpg


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