Archivos de diario de junio 2018

06 de junio de 2018

Mason bees and wasps

I've recently become obsessed with hole-nesting bees and wasps so decided to build myself a hotel and document the comings and goings. After approximately two weeks I've observed two bee species and two wasp species (linked observations). Part of my obsession arose because I think it would be great if local folks knew about all the amazing insects that would be killed by those mosquito-spraying services that are increasingly in vogue. So I'd love to get neighbors interested in setting up their own hotels, though that goal might take a few years. Mainly I just think hotel-nesting ("trap house") insects are cool. And I need some pollinators.

Making hotels is fun, too. It's a great way to get rid of scrap lumber around the shop. If you have a question about construction please don't hesitate to message me.

mason bee house

Publicado el junio 6, 2018 02:19 TARDE por colinpurrington colinpurrington | 4 observaciones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de junio de 2018

Goals for the Bee and Wasp Hotels project

In setting up this project I am hoping to foster some communication among iNaturalist users who have insect hotels. Observations might primarily document the most popular target guests, mason bees and their kin, but will also bring some deserved attention to solitary wasps that love holes just as much. More broadly, carefully observing insect houses for all guests (inquilines, parasitoids, etc.) can demonstrate hidden diversity in even highly urbanized settings. Thanks in advance for joining or for submitting observations. And please make yourself a hotel if you don't already have one. They make great gifts, too!

Publicado el junio 8, 2018 11:45 MAÑANA por colinpurrington colinpurrington | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de junio de 2018

Residents at the bee and wasp hotel

The hotel opened its doors on May 14th and it's been extremely popular with Chelostoma philadelphia. I'd estimate I have 10 of those at the moment. They often hassle each other, which I was surprised to see. I wish I had an ability to see which hole belonged to which bee so I could assess whether they are trying to usurp each other's hole. Or maybe they are just mildly territorial and would be agonistic against anything that came close. Several of them seem to working diligently to uncover the end caps of finished nests. Again, would be nice to know whether this is being done by hole owner or some other female that wants access to the chamber. Curious.

Had one or two Osmia earlier but none recently. I entirely missed the early-season mason bees that I hoped would help pollinate my kiwi vines (that was a fail). Just my fault for taking so long to build the darn hotel but I'll be ready with fresh, clean wood and reeds by Feb 1st, 2019.

Potter wasps have been regular visitors but I'm not positive they are happy with accommodations. Lots of room changes. ID's on them are pending so I'm not sure how many species I've had.

Most recent check-ins have been Trypoxylon collinum, kindly ID'd by @susanna_h. I have two pairs, and they are super fun to watch. But a super pain to photograph because they don't linger for more than a second on exterior of hole. One of these days I'd love to capture the female returning with a spider, or perhaps the moment she passes it off to male. They also do not get along with the potter wasps. Maybe they'll work it out.

So those are the paying guests. Freeloaders maybe in the next entry. There are a lot.

Publicado el junio 17, 2018 04:16 TARDE por colinpurrington colinpurrington | 6 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de junio de 2018

Myakka River State Park

Went with my father to Myakka River State Park in SW Florida yesterday, and here are the photographs to prove it. Most interesting (to me) were two flies that I'd never heard of before: one in the genus Octhera and a Grallipeza nebulosa. At least that's what I think they were. Took me forever to figure out IDs. We spent a lot of time along the river's edge trying to capture tiger beetles (no luck) but thankfully escaped interest of nearby alligators. There's supposed to be one that is 16 1/2 feet long. Only dangerous situation was self-induced when I got in close to a nest of paper wasps.

By the way: it's the namesake of the Myakka bug (Ischnodemus variegatus).

Publicado el junio 23, 2018 02:29 TARDE por colinpurrington colinpurrington | 14 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de junio de 2018

Does Anomalon parasitize oak leaf rolling weevils?

In the part of Florida I'm visiting, oaks are covered with the nidi of oak leaf rolling weevils (Homoeolabus analis). They are easy to miss if you're not looking for them but once you see one you can see the hundreds or thousands in almost every tree. And in some places they fall to the ground in such numbers that they crunch as you walk on them. It's no surprise to anyone that they get parasitized, of course, and I've been reading up on them. There's enough going on inside that a book could be written. If you teach biology, they would be super fun to use for an ecology laboratory exercise, a la goldenrod galls.

Anyway, I've noticed that a small, absolutely adorable ichneumonid, Anomalon sp., is surprisingly common on oak trees in the area. I haven't exhaustively scanned for the wasp at other trees, but my sense is that something is attracting them to oaks, especially live oaks. Males are common and they seem to be searching leaves carefully, though I'm not sure for what. I've only found one female so far and she was doing the same, at one point pausing and eating something off of a damaged leaf part. So they could just be foraging for something to eat. But I'm suspicious, and am wondering whether the beetle is a host for the wasp. It's not in the literature as far as I know so I thought I'd make a journal post that might be of interest to somebody who actually knows stuff about this wasp or beetle. If that's you and you've stumbled on this post, I'd love to know more.

Publicado el junio 27, 2018 03:07 TARDE por colinpurrington colinpurrington | 2 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario