Sunday, August 28, 2016


Last week in Carleton College’s arboretum I took two wasp photos. I used Scott King’s new Minnesota wasp book to identify them. I based my identification of the first wasp on its black-tipped abdomen and orange legs—a Great Golden Digger Wasp. These wasps are not aggressive towards people. They dig tunnels to which they bring paralyzed prey. The females lay eggs in the prey and then cover the tunnels. The wasps do not actively defend their nests (www. insectidentification. org).

I had more trouble identifying the second, other-worldly looking wasp. Note the long ovipositor. I got additional help from Scott, who confirmed this species is an American Pelecinid Wasp. This pollen-consuming wasp is found from Canada to Argentina. They lay their eggs in June Beetle larvae The beetles are not necessarily eaten alive, as the wasp is not adverse to consuming dead tissue (University of Wisconsin).

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