I was out yesterday evening and I was visiting the mint patch to see what was buzzing about. This patch is driving me crazy and the only way I can keep myself from whacking the blooms off and mowing the whole thing down is by visiting it in the evenings when all the insects are visiting. It's gotten rather weedy but the flower heads are attracting flyers by the dozens. Well apparently it's attracting other things, too.
I found this little bugger in the patch last night. It dawned on me afterwards that I probably should have at least collected him if not squished first and asked later. I mean, it is the shape of a sub-adult stink bug and so very few of those are beneficial after all. But, this particular one? I've never seen anything like it before. Beautiful. It is what saved the thing.
This particular night it was time for the thread waisted wasps to visit. I'm going to have to get my good camera out this weekend and see what I can get some photos of. Because these things are fascinating. If you don't know what these wasps are they are a predatory wasp. (WAHOO!!!) I've only seen them once or twice in the 5 years I've been gardening here. But right now they are coming in droves. Why, Oh WHY do I not have tomatoes on my plants right now? I know they'd be safe from worms for a change! This wasp happens to prey on caterpillars in particular it likes great big juicy HORN WORMS and other large cats like army worms and things of that nature. Check it...
See those great big mandibles? Those jaws are meant for grabbing onto and snatching up the cat while she holds onto it with her legs. She actually carries it off to her den where she lays her egg(s) into the creature where it gestates for her. *shudder*
OK enough of the visuals on that part. It's enough to say that the worm that was eating in my garden gets what it deserves and the wasp population carries on.
They are pollen and nectar eaters and are attracted to flowers. Apparently mint is one that they love. *ahem* So while I really want to mow and let the mint regenerate I'll wait a while longer. Perhaps the weeds aren't too bad. Maybe I'll even fight the mosquitoes to go out at night and pull some of the weeds up by hand so I don't disturb the flyers.
Oh, the smell. I can't wait to smell it! I think I'll go make some mint tea now. I can't get the thought of the mint out of my head. Maybe I'm part Thread waisted wasp myself. Although the thought of biting a hornworm makes me gag....nope definitely not related.
See you soon!