The little peppermint bed was in full bloom a couple weeks ago and was covered up with several types of bees and wasps. Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee) and Scolia dubia (Blue-Winged Digger Wasp) were the stars of the day.
The Blue Winged Digger is an interesting critter; the females can detect beetle grubs under the surface. They burrow down and invade the tunnel bored out by the grub; once they find the resident they give it a paralyzing sting and lay an egg in or on it. You can guess the rest of the cycle, much like Cicada Killers it becomes invasion of the body snatchers. Yuck (but cool and appreciated by this gardener, who isn’t fond of Japanese beetles.)
Enough about the gruesome little secrets of nature; instead let’s just look at some pretty insects enjoying their peppermint pollen buffet.
(All pictures click to full resolution if you feel the need to see the expressions on some bug faces.)
I think most have heard that bumblebees should not be able to fly based on an engineering assessment of their aeronautics. Look closely at this guy; he has a clipped wing that didn’t seem to hamper him much at all: