Bergson, quoting Fabre, has made play with the supposed extraordinary accuracy of the solitary wasp
Ammophila, which lays its eggs in a caterpillar.
So the next time you get harassed by those angry solitary wasps
remember that they are, in fact, jobless, homeless and about to die.
The wasps that sneaked in my photos were part of a large group called the solitary wasps
. They diverted my attention enough to inspire my August column.
Female bees provision their nests with a nectar-pollen mixture, whereas solitary wasps
may collect a variety of prey to provision their nests, including spiders (Araneae) or caterpillars (Lepidoptera) (Krombein, 1967).
However, this article is concerned not with solitary wasps
, but colonial wasps, particularly members of two genera: Polistes (paper wasps) and Dolichovespula (hornets).
The family Mutillidae comprises a diverse group of solitary wasps
, with over 4000 described species (Lelej, 2005).
"The next most important are solitary wasps
,'' he said.
Rightly or wrongly, we often view loners as more of a threat, so it may come as a surprise to learn that of the two types of wasps - solitary wasps
and sociable wasps - the latter are the ones causing all the aggro.
Their entry holes in bare ground are difficult to spot and closely resemble those made by ants and solitary wasps
O'Neill KM (2001) Solitary Wasps
: Behaviour and Natural History.
Key Words: Solitary wasps
, Sphecidae, Crabronidae, Tamaulipas.
This is in agreement with studies on other species of invertebrate predators responding to olfactory cues associated with their prey, including muricid snails (Carriker & Zandt 1972), tiger beetles (Wilson 1978), ants, (Holldobler & Wilson 1994), and other species of solitary wasps
(Evans & Eberhard 1970; Turlings et al.
In fact, the Peckhams publications on the behavior and classification of jumping spiders and behavior of solitary wasps
were crucial in supporting the theory of sexual selection and pioneered many of the techniques and concepts associated with ethologists of the mid twentieth century!
Also active later in the summer are solitary wasps
. Even though they're not pollinators, wasps are handy to have around because they prey on garden pests such as aphids and caterpillars.