Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mumday translated: busy summer ladies & species ID adventures...

Ladies, 1-4

Ladies, part 1

So, yesterday morning I walked around the house, 1st to take photos of
the wasps I saw from inside the house.

These are, according to my Buguide.net research,

  I looked them up, and I believe these are all females,
based on the antennae.

They let me approach (as they were immobile),
and I didn't get nervous (as they remained immobile). =)

Yay, 60 dF.

Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures are non-native.

Bugguide says "First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts. There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas (Bob Hammon, Colorado State U.)"

Rats. I'll have to cogitate on that.
Do I do something about it on our property, or no?

However, yesterday I took this photo of what I now know
is a Crambidae moth, Chalcoela iphitalis.

 Chalcoela iphitalis on my window

According to skepticalmoth, the smarty who told me what these moths are in this post (there's shots of a pair of these guys in that post), their larvae are parasites of paper wasps, Polistes species.

Here is where the moth was, extreme upper left,
and see that blob in the extreme lower right hand
corner of the shot, under the eave?

 If you click on this, you can zoom in and see
the (focused) European paper wasp (Polistes dominica) nest.

So, in the same photographic frame,
a species of moth that parasitizes paper wasps,
and the very wasps they parasitize.

I think I smell intrigue...

Ladies, part 2

Then I cruised to the garden, and snapped a few shots of bumblebees.
Herein, I bumble my way toward a tentative species ID.

Nice side shot. What a handsome creature.

This shot shows the black tummy, important, apparently...

I used this page, "North American Bumblebees" (bumblebee.org) to try and figure it out. I really found that guide useful for a non-expert like me.

However, if you use it, you might want to double check against bugguide.net, for example, 'cause the pictures don't always match, as I learned.

I also used this photo (decent dorsal shot) to compare against bumblebee.org:

So, here's my guess (drumroll...)

Bombus vosnesenskii, the yellow-faced bumble bee. Their distribution includes British Columbia, south to California, Nevada, and Mexico. The bugguide.net page for this species matches pretty well.

The drawing on bumblebee.org for B. vandykei, Vandyke's bumble bee, also looks like my photos, but the species photos on bugguide.net are WAY too yellow.

And then I found this is from San Francisco State University, San Francisco Bombus: a good overview of 3 types that this bee might be.

B. vosnesenskii, B. caliginosus and B. californicus all have yellow hairs at the front and back of their bodies and a large black patch in the center. B. vosnesenskii is the most common and has short hairs that looked cropped and yellow hairs on the face. B. californicus is the only one of the three with black hairs on the face. B. caliginosus is shaggier than B. vosnesenskii and has yellowhairs on the underside of the abdomen where B. vosnesenskii has only black hairs on the underside of the abdomen."

This all points toward B. vosnesenskii.
That's my guess, and I'm stickin' to it. =)

Ladies, part 3

Finally, the shots of TINY tiny eggs on our house.

These two shots are on the screen of our window,
so that large grid is actually quite fine.

Therefore, the eggs are VERY small.

Now I will retake one with a dime next to it, for scale:

So, now you can see why the shots are fuzzy. =)
Tiny things, cropped and blown up.

To be honest, I really have no idea what these are.
Except, I assume, eggs.
From, you know, females. =)

Ladies, part 4

Also, I found these things:

There's lots of these itty, bitty red things on our south wall,
with fewer on the west wall. About 1.3 mm long.

Super zoom:

I'm also assuming these are eggs laid by something (another lady).

They COULD, however,
be nymphs in some stage of metamorphosis.
The groups are denser lower to the ground.

I am happy to hear your ideas on what these may be.

And thus we end the tour of very local, busy ladies, gettin' it done.




  1. I'm thinking the ones on the screen are stinkbug eggs. I saw that on someones blog the other day, but can't remember where. I'm trying to reference it in my bug book, but because the book is SO HUGE, it may take a bit.
    I don't know what the red thing is, but gotta say----YOU"VE GOT GOOD EYES!

  2. @Sue, thanks for the suggestion! I looked it up (YouTube had a video) and it sure does look like stink bug eggs. And I've photographed stink bugs within 3 feet of the same wall, so I think your odds are good! =) Thanks a bunch. I look forward to any additional tome-sourced info. =)

    Re: the red things, well, there are so MANY, that if you look at the wall for more than a second, you wonder what all those dots are. I'd never noticed the texture until today, in bright sunlight.


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