Not quite a woodshed but a garden shed. Early this morning I heard the deep buzzing first of Britain's largest wasp, the European Hornet (Vespa crabro), then I saw it scrambling up the shed window trying to get out. September 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.
This extraordinary creature is an ichneumon wasp. I found two of them in my moth trap the other morning. They are nocturnal wasps, and are readily attracted to light. This is a fairly large wasp at 20mm (3/4 inch), long, with a red or orange body, antennae and legs. It has a strongly arched abdomen,... Continue Reading →
Sitting on my small square of decking near my garden pond, just relaxing after being busy in the garden, a small drama began to play out. There are always many Spotted Wolf Spider (Pardosa amentata) gathered around my pond, resting on the rocks and stones, and hiding in-between them, and what appears amongst them is... Continue Reading →
Out of all the insects to attempt to photograph I find wasps can be one of the trickiest of challenges as they hardly ever keep still. This is an ichneumon wasp, quite a large species and colourful with its bright yellow markings. There are many similar species and identifying them can be a challenge in... Continue Reading →
Here are three early spring risers which I found warming themselves on shrubbery at the bottom of my garden. Please click on images for better definition.
Vespa crabro Britain’s largest wasp, it is most distinctive with its brown and yellow colouration. The eyes are large and C-shaped, and they also have three simple eyes (ocelli) in the centre of their forehead between the main eyes. Length 20 to 30mm. The nest is made from chewed wood and is paper-like, and are... Continue Reading →
Chrysis ignita These tiny wasps are sometimes known as ‘jewel wasps’ or ‘cuckoo wasps’, these are brightly coloured, the head and thorax being greenish-blue, and the abdomen is golden red. Length 5 to 15mm. The female lays its eggs in the nests of mason bees, where the larvae hatch and eat the host larvae. It... Continue Reading →
I have always been fascinated by these strange yet sometimes most beautiful growths. Plant galls are something of an oddity when some folk first encounter them, others don’t even know they exist. Plant galls come in all shapes and sizes, and are formed by another organism using the plant as a host, using it for... Continue Reading →
Dolichovespula saxonica This wasp is very much like the Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German Wasp (Vespula germanica), except it has a clear yellow face with usually a single black dot. It only has two yellow spots on the rear of the thorax. It grows up to 18mm long. Seen May to August in... Continue Reading →