Monday, October 11, 2010

Of Hornets and Hail

Dolichovespula maculata (Bald-faced hornet)

The Bald-faced hornet isn't really a hornet but tonight it did hail in Brooklyn. Dolichovespula maculata is actually a type of wasp, a yellowjacket. So much for common names. It's doubly beneficial in that it eats the larvae of other insects including caterpillars and even other wasps, and as seen above acts as a pollinator late in the season when it feeds on nectar. The Polistes sp. wasp pictured below is a similar beneficial. I'm not sure of the species but they can be identified when in flight because their legs dangle beneath their body. I'm pretty sure both wasps are natives and doing their thing in the right place. Here's hoping that tonight's wild hail storm hasn't blown down their paper nests and all the ripening produce down at Floyd Bennett.

Polistes sp. (Paper wasp)

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