late summer bugs: baldfaced hornet and ?wasp?
I am avoiding work by sorting late summer photos. I found a photo of a Bald Faced Hornet, sipping from a nectar river. Do you want a photo of it in one of its favorite “soups”? Also, a wasp that I can’t ID. I checked your wasp pages and bugguide – it seems to most closely resemble Blk& Yellow mud dauber or Ammophila, but the coloring is wrong. Its not a focused photo (sorry), but the abdomen was definitely striped. Both photos were taken mid-August 2005 near Chicago. Your site has been like a daily vitamin to me these past few months – the new photo additions remind me of summer!
Jill Anderson, Chicago
Thank you for the sweet compliment. We know exactly what it is like to avoid work, one of the reasons we started this website. Your Baldfaced Hornet photo is wonderful and we will see if Eric Eaton recognizes your Mystery Wasp. Minutes later, Eric Eaton responded: ” The mystery wasp is one of the Grass-Carrier Wasps in the genus Isodontia, closely related to mud daubers. This one is Isodontia elegans. Until rather recently, this species was thought to occur only west of the 100th meridian. I sent specimens I collected in Cincinnati to an expert, and he confirmed the ID. Isodontia are easily identified because they are the only common thread-waisted wasps that rest with their wings flared out to the sides like this. Most other, related wasps hold the wings flat over their back when at rest. There are at least four other species in the genus that are widespread in the eastern U.S. Eric “