Subject: Update on Grass Carrying Wasp from France
Location: southwest France
August 29, 2017 8:05 AM
Further to recent contacts, I have, at last, managed to get some half decent shots of the grass carrying wasps nesting in our patio table.
They have been pretty active these past few days – maybe the 35+ degree heat has turned them on – but they catch me out every time I have no camera ready. It really is a struggle to film them as they arrive and disappear to their nest(s) in no time at all.
However, the attached pics show one with a small cricket or grasshopper of some description and another close-up or the wasp just landing on the table.
I hope they are of sufficient quality to be of interest. I am still waiting for the shot of the wasp actually ‘doing what it says on the tin’ and carrying a piece of grass to the nest. I have been close a few times and will get it one day, although I figure nesting may well be approaching the end with the impending onset of autumn.
We have also noticed recent activity in the table by what I believe are some form of robber or parasitic wasp. The first one looked VERY like a large horsefly, the subsequent visitors more like a regular small brown wasp. Again, I have not been able to capture them on camera so I can’t ID them any better than that I’m afraid. The interesting thing is that they have been bringing in small crickets and the like, using the same holes as the grass carrying wasps. I don’t know whether they are nesting on their own behalf or feeding the larvae of the GCW’s for the benefit of their own offspring. The two species met on one visit to the nest entrance. The prey was jettisoned and there was an interesting ‘face-off’ with the larger, GCW probably winning on points I would say.
One final note on the GCW – it dropped its cricket on the table before landing at the nest hole and it was clearly evident that the prey was not dead, merely anaesthetised, as there were distinct signs of movement in both the legs and the ovipositor. I have no idea how long it is, following the bite, before they die but this one didn’t seem to last more than a few minutes before it (seemingly) expired.
Thanks as ever for all you do to enlighten us on these matters. My wife thinks I spend an “unreasonable” amount of time perusing the site but she’s quite getting into our little wasp friends and alerts me now when one is ‘incoming’. There’s hope yet!
All the best,
Your diligence has paid off. We love the image of the Grass Carrying Wasp with its Tree Cricket prey.