Rachel The Good 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 quadrimaculata, a 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 known as “white grubs.” 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 Scoliid wasp friends. Good hunting.