Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet Campsomeris quadrimaculata, a Grub-destroying Wasp

Rachel has been taking pictures for the blog with our new (used) Canon camera. She has a keen eye and she's better behind a lens than I am.

The other day she wandered around our front-yard food forest taking shots of whatever caught her eye.

In the case of this giant wasp, she swallowed her fear of giant scary stinging things and got some great shots - check them out:

That's Campsomeris quadrimaculataa type of Scoliid wasp.

Other than pollinating my kumquat tree, this wasp parasitizes beetle grubs.

If you've ever dug in the garden and overturned handfuls of creepy little see-through grubs up to an inch or more long... you've met a common Floridian pest. Scoliid wasps search these things out, flying above the ground until they find one (somehow), then they paralyze them with their stingers and lay an egg in the zombified grub.

Later, after consuming the grub from the inside out, the baby wasp pupates in the soil and emerges as a big, scary adult wasp. Which then poses for photos.

When I added mulch to my food forest last fall, I created a haven for white grubs. They're pretty common in the soil now... and the wasps have heard about the buffet and are regularly wandering my yard looking for babyfood.

Good hunting, my friends. Good hunting.

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At July 17, 2014 at 7:31 AM , Anonymous Sarah from CoffeetoCompost said...

I see Darth Vader in the top photo! Wasps are welcome in my garden; I once saw one carrying off what appeared to be a pickleworm.

At July 17, 2014 at 9:37 AM , Blogger David The Good said...



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