Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning Another Beneficial

I rather like this photo for a couple reasons.

First, it's a great example of mimicry. The insect on the left is a goldenrod soldier beetle. Note the banding on its abdomen? That sort of banding is mimicking the banding on bees and wasps - this species of beetle is essentially trying to puff itself off as bigger and badder than it really is!

Secondly, the insect to the right in this photo is a fivebanded tiphiid wasp. Kind of a funny looking thing, isn't it? I've seen them many times, but hadn't looked them up to hang a name on them until tonight. When I did, I learned that tiphiid wasps are nectar feeders as adults, but they parasitize the small white grubs of scarabaeid beetles (aka June bugs) as larvae.

So, the more tiphiid wasps I see, the fewer white grubs I should have in my lawn! I love learning this stuff! Best of all, I love learning this stuff right in my own backyard!


Patrick's Garden said...

Yes, I'm duly impressed by your entomology work. Would not have the patience to do my own id work but I admire your lust for learning.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Thanks, Patrick. I love it all - finding an unknown insect and photographing it, the id work, and sharing what I've learned. Especially when I can share about "new" beneficials!

Tricia said...

I just discovered your blog through Patrick's Garden and love it! I, too, have discovered the joys of our gardens' fauna -- much to friends' and family's astonishment! I look forward to reading your past posts. I'm very interested in the prairie garden concept, as well as organic gardening techniques. Glad to find you!

Gaia Gardener: said...

Thanks, Tricia! I just jumped over to your blog and am looking forward to reading back through it as well! I've already noted that we share many of the same books that we've used as resources!

Glad you stopped by!