Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bald-Faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)

It's neat when you stumble across an ID of a creature which you were not specifically looking for, but had buzzing (in this case) around in the back of your mind. Like this so-called "bald-faced hornet" or "white-faced hornet" (Dolichovespula maculata) which is not a true hornet but a wasp in the yellowjacket family:

(Photo borrowed from this Animal Photo Album page, without explicit permission, since the author is unknown.)

This is the unknown "large black wasp" which seemed to be the main pollinator for my late crop of golden raspberries. Sure enough, I now read that the Dolichovespula maculata is a "minor pollinator", especially in late summer, when it drinks nectar to provide quick energy for hunting, and where it finds potential victims who were also attracted to the flowers.

Thanks to WiseAcre Gardens for ID'ing this interesting wasp for me in this post.


Rose said...

That's an amazing picture! Somehow the thought of a "hornet" sends me in the other direction:) Thanks for visiting and leaving the comment about my crabapple tree--I think that my crabs are suffering from some sort of fungal disease, which causes them to bloom again.

I read through some of your earlier posts; looks like you have quite a harvest of fruit! Glad to see you are feeling better; hope the therapy is helping you to continue to recover.

Laura Gardens in Desert said...

That looked like an opportunity to donn protective gear!

wiseacre said...

Great face shot. It got me out to take some :)

Joyful said...

That's a great picture of the hornet and an interesting bit of information about this pollinator :-) Joyful (PennY)

Ruralrose said...

i love bugs too - your green to yellow grapes could be Himrod, i grow these too - love, love this blog I am going to follow you ok - peace for all

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