Gorytes laticinctus – This was another one of those odd encounters in the garden. I spotted this bright striped wasp, which is the rarest of its genus in the UK, walking in circles, going under and over and between leaves of a plant, almost like it was looking for something. Even when I shoved my… Read More Looking For Something
Cerceris rybyensis – That is a bit of a mouthful, I know. I spotted this feeding off the rich nectar of spindle flowers growing in my back garden. Double-click for a closer peek. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 15th June 2019Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire
I found this magnificent wasp on my patio window looking in. It is a medium to large species at around 15mm (5/8in) long. As can be seen they have very distinct black and yellow abdominal bands. They are predatory on moth and butterfly larvae. The images portray the male. It is usually seen feeding on… Read More Ichneumon xanthorius
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,… Read More Yellow Ophion Ophion luteus
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… Read More The Hunter And The Hunted
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… Read More Ichneumon stramentor
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… Read More Hornet
Cynips quercusfolii These marble like galls measuring up to 25mm in diameter are found beneath the leaves of Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) and Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea). Cynips quercusfolii is a tiny black gall wasp, and within the plant gall its larva stage grows. On Pedunculate Oak the gall is smooth where on Sessile Oak it… Read More Cherry Gall Wasp
Diplolepis rosae This strange yet beautiful growth is the result of a tiny gall wasp called Diplolepis rosae laying its eggs in a wild rose bud in springtime. Also called the ‘Bedeguar Gall Wasp’, the females appear in the spring just in time to lay their eggs in the fresh young buds. Males are a… Read More Robin’s Pincushion
Photographs of Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) taken August 2016, rear garden pond, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. I have had a fascinating few months watching my garden pond develop, but one thing I wasn’t really expecting was the regular visitation of wasps. They drop by to… Read More Down At The Watering Hole
Photograph of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Hornet, taken August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.
I was photographing my sweet peas after a night’s heavy rain when I spotted this tiny wasp resting on one of them. It only grows up to 10mm long, and it is identified by the white, black and orange banded hind tibia. The overall ground colour is black and reddish, with a distinctive white spot… Read More Diplazon laetatorius
I am lucky enough to live right on the edge of green belt land, and this morning I ventured out amongst the trees and the grass before the rains came again. These are some of the wonderful and beautiful insects I came across in the English jungle. I have yet to identify them all. Photographs… Read More A Walk of Discovery
Vespula vulgaris Similar to the German Wasp (Vespula germanica) which has has three black spots on its face and forms a triangle, where as the Common Wasp has an anchor-shaped mark on its face. It has bright yellow and black bands running down its body, and four large yellow spots at the rear of its… Read More Common Wasp