A Four-toothed Mason Wasp

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This lovely can be found drinking nectar at flowers throughout the eastern United States right now. It is a good to have around the garden because the females round up leaf-rolling — the kinds that eat your plants — to provision their nests.

When it is time to reproduce, the female wasp builds a small nest, often in a wood bore made previously be a carpenter . She paralyzes caterpillars with a sting and flies them to the nest, stuffs one or a few into the deep end of the hole, and lays an egg there.

Then she seals up that cell with mud and repeats the process, but famously leaves empty cells between occupied ones, possibly to fool invaders into thinking the nest is empty.

The eggs hatch into wasp larvae that feed on the caterpillars.

The solitary wasp, Monobia quadridens, commonly called the four-toothed mason wasp, it’s black and white and about an inch long. Click to enlarge.

August is a great month to look for interesting wasps and bees. All you need is a sunny day, flowers, patience, and luck. If you take a camera you might capture a great moment.

 

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Julie Feinstein

Julie Feinstein

I am a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, an author, and a photographer. I live in New York City. I recently published my first popular science book, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, an illustrated collection of natural history essays about common animals. I update my blog, Urban Wildlife Guide, every Sunday.

Julie Feinstein

Julie Feinstein

I am a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, an author, and a photographer. I live in New York City. I recently published my first popular science book, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, an illustrated collection of natural history essays about common animals. I update my blog, Urban Wildlife Guide, every Sunday.

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