Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Close-ups (
-   -   Beewolves and other wasps (

penolta Jul 21, 2009 4:20 PM

Beewolves and other wasps
5 Attachment(s)
I was out trying my new Tamron 18-250 (on my Pentax K100 - I have posted close-ups with the same lens in Sony mount) with no intent of taking macros, but a rare opportunity presented itself and so . . . .

Beewolves (Philanthus sp) are predatory wasps which capture bees and other wasps. These are on the small side for the Genus, but, then, so are the other wasps that have been harvesting our caterpillars, so I hope this little encounter will create more of them. I saw what appeared to be a single strange looking elongate insect flying about, and I followed "it" until "it" landed, and it wasn't what I expected. I got only a quick shot before they got scared off and flew away together, still in copula to parts unknown. The smaller male is on the left.

Attachment 139673

An equally small European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominulus, was introduced into Massachusetts in 1986 and has spread across the country, only recently reaching all the way to California. It is a successful species, displacing native wasps. It is more efficient than the wasps that were taking caterpillars last year (we had the house painted and destroyed their nests under the eaves), which hunted on the wing. These land on each and every leaf and inspect it closely so as not to miss a thing, so unless the beewolves get busy we won't have any this year (we have found none so far, despite feverish egg laying by Monarchs, Fritillaries, and a Queen)!

Attachment 139674

Attachment 139675

Attachment 139676

And, finally, last years paper wasp (not seen this year at all)

Attachment 139677

smac Jul 21, 2009 4:26 PM

Great series and as always,:cool2: very instructive.

conor Jul 21, 2009 4:32 PM

Excellent shots... real enough to have me looking for a can of raid.... ;)

[email protected] Jul 21, 2009 10:27 PM


penolta Jul 22, 2009 6:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Steve, Conor, and Bob.

I didn't know how these wasps were hunting until I examined these pictures, wondering why they were squatting so low on the leaves It is particularly noticeable in No 4 above and No 6 below that their antennae are touching the leaf surface, probably searching for some scent of a butterfly or caterpillar or vibrations from caterpillars chewing on the leaves. Interesting.

Attachment 139727

kethineni Nov 17, 2009 2:06 PM

great pics !

e. s. pershing Nov 18, 2009 1:01 AM

very nice

neilcrichton Nov 19, 2009 10:18 PM

Got stung on the thumb by a wasp while raking leaves. Since then, pictures like these give me the heebie-geebies.

penolta Nov 25, 2009 12:58 PM

Thanks for looking and commenting, Keith, e.s., and Neil - It has been a while since I have been stung by one, but I remember how they do hurt. These smaller ones don't seem to be aggressive, but I was at the long fl end of the lens (375mm equivalent) as I followed them around.

pj1974 Nov 25, 2009 6:24 PM

Penolta... lovely series. And I congratulate you on being brave to get that close.

Great exposure, colours and sharpness in these photos. As I'm now allergic to wasps (I was stung in Europe about 6 years ago by one) - I need to carry an epi-pen with me everywhere (back in Australia now)... so that's annoying.

I still photograph bees (and have some shots I'm happy with) - but won't do wasps.

Keep sharing - good skill.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:42 AM.