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Peppermint Buffet

September 23, 2013

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.)

Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee) surprises  Scolia dubia (Blue-Winged Digger Wasp)

Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee) surprises Scolia dubia (Blue-Winged Digger Wasp)

Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee)

Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee)

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:

Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee)

Bombus Griseocollis (Brown Belted Bumblebee)

 Scolia dubia (Blue-Winged Digger Wasp)

Scolia dubia (Blue-Winged Digger Wasp)

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2013 9:57 pm

    Nice flash of blue wing in that first shot.

    We have a dragonfly who visits my fourth-floor fire balcony, and drives the cats to bleat with frustration. Where it hangs out, I do not know.

    • September 24, 2013 7:33 am

      Bet you a nickel it is a “wandering glider”, Pantala flavescens http://www.migratorydragonflypartnership.org/index/iDGuide?taxon=flavescens

  2. September 23, 2013 11:06 pm

    Your photos are very nice. I suggest that you visit http://www.ecva.org click on Advent 2013 and consider entering some of your photography work. All guidelines are available. More information will be in the St. Peter’s Newsletter coming out soon.

    • September 24, 2013 6:51 am

      hmmm. Will consider

  3. September 24, 2013 3:41 am

    Fantastic photos and well done you for providing such nice fodder for bees – they are struggling and people like you make their short lives a lot richer.

    • September 24, 2013 6:48 am

      🙂

  4. September 24, 2013 8:46 am

    Wow — your photos are wonderful!

    • September 24, 2013 3:01 pm

      Thanks!

  5. September 24, 2013 9:59 am

    It’s good to know somebody else shares my fascination with insects.

    • September 24, 2013 3:05 pm

      Bugs rock! ( As long as they aren’t in my lovely wife’s home……)

  6. September 24, 2013 9:55 pm

    You’re very kind to think of your wife. I LOVE the photo. I started beekeeping 3 years ago & the more I learn the more I realize I know nothing about beekeeping…. except we really need the, they’re having a hard time in the world & I do what I can. Plus the honey is exceptional!

    • September 25, 2013 7:22 am

      Beehives will be here one day.

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