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Friday, June 06, 2008

Hymenoptera in Our Garden

...Specifically, of the suborder Apocrita. I am very grateful that these visit our garden, since they are pollinators. It would be quite tedious to have to hand pollinate everything in our garden.

At the time of its death, I didn't know what this was. All I knew is that it was cutting holes in our leaves. So I killed it and brought it inside for a better look. This is a leaf-cutting bee. At first, I thought they might be destructive pests, which is also part of the reason I killed one. But according to Wikipedia, they are extremely good pollinators. Let's hope the benefit outweighs the fact that they are going to destroy leaves. Yesterday, I was glad to see a good number of these visiting our butter bean blossoms and not cutting leaves.
Dead leaf-cutting bee(If you look carefully, you can see its stinger)

Bumblebee pollinating tomato blossoms (Homestead variety tomato, I think?).
Bumblebee pollinating tomato

I think this was some sort of yellow jacket (Go Jackets!). It had what looked like a red-banded leafhopper in its hind legs (not visible here), which would be a good thing, since those are pests. It was quite occupied while digging its hole, as it let me put the camera so close to take a picture.
Yellow jacket(?) digging hole

I also see a big maroon colored wasp flying around in the garden sometimes. It's pretty intimidating looking. Looks a bit like the wasp in the right half of this picture, except maybe a bit brighter.

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  • Ginny

    Nifty picture of the bumblebee. I am a pollinator cheerleader. Whenever I see a pollinator at work, I say, "Good job! Keep up the good work! Go! Go! Go!" LOL! But, yellowjackets I do NOT like. Maybe they pollinate, but I have never seen one actually doing that essential task.