Wednesday, August 1

Wednesday Garden Pic: Interesting Insect Visitor

 Hi! This was yet another Florida rain and thunder morning! Though, it cleared off and the sun came out by 10. Still, yard was too wet for mowing, but there is always plenty of garden up-keep task available!
Flowers needed snipping and cleaning up. The Sky Pencil trees and the Coral Bells in the pot needed mildew treatment. I dug up and moved some plugs of grass from one spot in back to some bare spots in front. The landscape ivy along the north wall needed hedging to keep the runners out of the house siding. And, finally, I have vinca's popping up everywhere and not necessarily where I want flowers, so I was pulling the young'uns up and transplanting them to more desirable spots.
They bloom till frost and make a good show of color
through out fall.

I mentioned before I have that beautiful purple, pineapple looking Enygro. Well, it is, indeed, a bee magnet. Lots of honey bees and a couple carpenter bees, which I'm familiar with---but yesterday I saw something that generally looked like a very HUGE sized black wasp. I like to know the names of insects that frequent my garden and I had no idea what this was!
It was big a like a Cicada Killer, which is also a very large sized wasp, but the coloring wasn't right.
Today I saw 2 enjoying the Enygro, took some photos and looked it up.
Turns out it's a Scoliid Wasp (campsomeris quadrimaculata), the same family as Velvet Ants. It is a solitary wasp, which means it does NOT live with other wasps in nests or hives.
 It hunts for June Bug grubs, which live in the ground under your grass, digs down to it, stings the grub to paralyze it, then lays it's egg in it's body. Grubs are lawn pests, so the Scoliid do us a favor.
I must say they LOVE Enygro!
You can also see her wings remain peacefully down against her back, despite my near presence with the camera, indicating her lack of concern about me.
They aren't an aggressive species.
Here's a couple pictures.

Scoliid Wasp, Female. (females have the double gold spots.)

Cool pic--accidentally caught her in flight, moving to another blossom!
And, because I mentioned a Cicada Killer, I located a pic of one to show you. They are larger then even a Scoliid Wasp.
Eastern Cicada Killers are 1.5 inches in length, big enough to carry a paralyzed cicada in flight, back to their underground den, where they'll lay an egg in the hapless victim and bury it.
They are also a solitary wasp.
I've never seen any here, but I'd see them back home in Indiana from time to time.
Cicada Killer Wasp and victim.

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