Cannibalism and the Giant Black Wasp

 

Like clockwork, these Giant Black Wasps with iridescent blue wings arrive in July every year.  They are solitary and don’t colonize like other bees.  They come to build their nests – and unfortunately, they like to build them under and around our pool decking.  They do aggressive fly-bys, but only seem to be interested in attacking other Giant Black Wasps – they are protecting their nests.  I have killed a couple of them, left the dead bodies on the patio and watched as other Black Wasps “come in for the kill.”  The wasp will grab hold of its prey, tumble a few times, sting a few times [according to wiki – prey are stung three times, once in the neck and twice in the thorax], in one photo a wasp rips off the prey’s head, and then they carry the carcass back to their nest.  They attach a single egg to the underside of a carcass, and then the larva will each consume 2–6 carcasses (usually grasshoppers, or grubs… but I am a witness and cannibalism is apparently ok with these guys too).  And then one day soon… they will just disappear.

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