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Identification of Wasp Larvae from Mason Bee tubes

Wings held partly erect.
Wings held partly erect.

In the previous post I indicated I was trying to identify wasps that had taken up residence in mason bee tubes, without actually parasitizing the mason bees



largewasplarvaeI found the larvae in tubes while removing the mason bee cocoons in the winter, and transferred them to a separate jar where I  let them hatch. By May 1 they were hatching so after taking a few pictures, I sent the images off to BugGuide.

The result after several months was an identification by an expert in entomology : Our thanks to  Matthias Buck of  The Invertebrate Zoology Section, Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

So he thinks there are actually three species represented in these pictures.

Eumenines prey mainly upon moth larvae, although some take larvae of leaf-feeding beetles.
Adults take nectar.

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata – Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps and allies)
Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
Subfamily Eumeninae (Potter and Mason Wasps)
Genus Ancistrocerus

There were three species identified from my photographs( labelled above) although it is very difficult to confirm identity without being able to examine a specimen. Next year I will be sure to send him samples to confirm, and I will certainly not destroy these larvae when cleaning out mason bee tubes.

Pileated Woodpecker at feeder

Other woodpeckers have been using the suet feeder outside my window this winter  but this was the first time I had seen the Pileated woodpecker here. The photo was taken hastily through the salt-sprayed window while at my desk, thus the blur! We often see and hear these woodpeckers in the summer as they like the large old fir and alder trees along the property.

Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Dryocopus
Species: D. pileatus
Binomial name
Dryocopus pileatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Azolla the floating fern – a Nitrogen fixer through a symbiotic relationship.

In August the bloom of Azolla has started to increase. I added Azolla to the pond several years ago and have in the past had to skim it off as it covers the complete surface in late summer. It does provide good compost material  with high Carbon and Nitrogen content.  It normally cannot live in Northern climates but somehow has survived well here in the pond.2015-08-06azolla2s

There is a theory called the “Azolla event ” where it is believed that Azolla in the tropical Arctic 39 million years ago fixed so much Carbon that it reversed global warming. Reference .

A good reference can be found at the Azolla Foundation

“Azolla is a unique plant that can help reduce man-made climate change and provide biofertilizer, livestock feed, food and renewable energy anywhere in the world.

The Azolla Foundation was set  up by Azolla Biosystems Ltd founders Alexandra and Jonathan Bujak to provide a platform for sharing information about Azolla and its contribution to new technologies such as space exploration and planetary colonization.”

Also, the Nitrogen Fixation is the result of a sysmbiotic relationship between azolla and a cyanobacteria. This reference shows the formula for the process:

Azolla ssp and the large green leaves are Lemna, Duckweed

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Pteridopsida (disputed)
Order: Salviniales
Family: Salviniaceae
Genus: Azolla
Type species
A. filiculoides

Anax junius – Common Green Darner -Dragonfly

I have only seen this one female specimen in the pond, and it was clinging to a pondweed leaf, almost submerged in the water, and didn’t object to being placed on the lilypad.

greendragfly2 copy
Anax junius – Common Green Darner -Dragonfly

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Aeshnidae
Genus: Anax
Species: A. junius
Binomial name
Anax junius
(Drury, 1773)

Yellow Snowflake: Nymphoides geminata- pond plant

Last fall I got this small plant with floating leaves  and small yellow flowers. It spreads asexually with stolons near the water surface. It also was winter hardy Zone 8-10 as it overwintered in the pond.  This one was supplied to a plant store by a local company here in Victoria, Applied Aquatics.

Yellow snowflake Nymphoides geminata

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Menyanthaceae
Genus: Nymphoides
Species: geminata