Solitary bee targeted by solitary wasp and survives
We know most wasps are not social, not because they won’t leave you alone as you drink your pint!, but because they are known as solitary wasps. They live a solitary life as opposed to living with other wasps (their sisters and brothers) in a communal nest. All wasps are predators and some are even scavengers as well…..like this one chewing upon a dead blackbird, not for itself, but for the larvae back at its nest. It prefers other foods , which later in its life may include your beer or cream cake!
They prey upon smaller invertebrates including honey bees even if the bees are outside their busy bee hives. The wasps either chew up and feed the prey to their young or as in the case of solitary wasps, prey items are captured, taken away and left as provisions for their developing larvae.
In this case, the solitary bee (possibly Andrena similis) was busy feeding upon lasts years parsnips that I had left to flower as an insect attractant on an allotment site in Garston, Liverpool a few hundred yards from the River Mersey. The wasp, (Ectemnius continuus/cavifrons?) attempted to carry it off, but the bee was too large, eventually flicking the wasps from its back! It is all over in a flash, so watch the video and you will see the attack, the take away meal that did n’t want to go! Filmed 25/6/13
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For more information about solitary bees and wasps visit BWARS