Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wasp

Not just Lucifer Falls

with 44 comments

At Robert H. Treman State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region on August 1st I didn’t only photograph Lucifer Falls and other waterfalls. Here are some non-watery scenes from the western (upper) end of the park.

I can’t not see a bell.

A hornet nest.

Living, dead, and inanimate together.

Oh, the lichens….

This reminded me of those old ruined homesteads out in the country where the only thing that’s left standing is a chimney.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2019 at 4:39 AM


with 31 comments

A few weeks ago you got a close look at the inflorescence of snow-on-the-prairie. Now you’re getting a look at its sister species, snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata). On September 2nd I’d been driving home after photographing at two other locations in northwest Austin when I spotted a few of these familiar plants and decided to stop. Once I got close, I saw that a wasp was busy working the flowers. Like some other insects I’ve seen on flowers, this one kept moving pretty quickly, so I used a high shutter speed, 1/800 of a second, to keep from ending up with a blurred image of the wasp.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Wasp on prairie parsley

with 33 comments

I photographed this wasp on prairie parsley (Polytaenia texana) at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 6th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2018 at 4:41 AM

A wasp dragging a spider

with 29 comments

Along the Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park on July 3rd I noticed a colorful and energetic wasp dragging a spider that it had immobilized. When I stepped closer to try to take a photograph the wasp went away, but I took a stance at a medium distance from the spider and waited for the wasp to return. It came and went several times, continuing with its task each time, and I managed to get some sharply focused pictures in spite of the frequent movement.

UPDATE: Thanks to John S. Ascher at BugGuide.net, I can now say this predator appears to be Tachypompilus ferrugineus, known as the rusty spider wasp, red-tailed spider hunter, or red-tailed spider wasp.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 AM

Paper wasps

with 35 comments


When I was out on August 30th at a property along US 183 in Cedar Park photographing sumpweed and snow-on-the-mountain, I also found some paper wasps busy working on their nest. Notice the egg in one cell.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 4, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Goers in the snow

with 24 comments

Orange-Black Insect on Snow-on-the-Mountain 7191

While taking pictures of snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata) in Cedar Park on August 30th I couldn’t help noticing lots of insects coming to the flowers. Some tiny ones were on a par with the plants’ small flowers. In contrast, this female tarantula hawk* (Pepsis spp.), at perhaps two inches in length (5cm), was by far the largest visitor I saw, and its quick movements made picture-taking difficult. Also apparently difficult to bear is the pain felt if one of these wasps stings you. An article I read says that the best reaction is to “lie down and start screaming, because few if any people could maintain verbal and physical coordination after getting stung by one of these things.” Fortunately I have no personal experience with that. The wasp went about its business feeding on the flowers’ nectar, I went about my business taking pictures of the wasp, and although in close company, never we twain did meet.

* Thanks to a volunteer at BugGuide.net for identifying this wasp as a female in the genus Pepsis.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2016 at 4:56 AM


with 37 comments

This is likely Rosa carolina but the fruit are distorted because of the Spiny rose gall wasp (Diplolepis bicolor).

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 9th I came across the unusual red things shown in today’s photograph. After I submitted the picture to the Illinois Native Plant Society, Rachel, who is the organization’s secretary, e-mailed me back to say that the plant is likely Rosa carolina and that the spiky red things are galls created by the spiny rose gall wasp, Diplolepis bicolor. Pretty strange, huh?

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 27, 2016 at 4:33 AM

Wasp on goldenrod flowers

with 8 comments

Wasp on Goldenrod Flowers 6460

By the latter part of September the goldenrod (Solidago spp.) was hitting its stride, and various insects were attracted to the bright flowers. Here you see a wasp on a goldenrod inflorescence on September 22 at an undeveloped piece of prairie between Josh Ridge Blvd. and Harris Ridge Blvd. in northeast Austin. For a closeup of the wasp and the open flowers near it, click the excerpt below, after which you’ll have a better view of the pollen on the insect’s antenna, among other things.

Wasp on Goldenrod Flowers 6460A


I’m attending a Native Plant Society of Texas field trip today. You’re welcome to leave comments, but I may be late in replying.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2015 at 4:55 AM

Paper wasps at their nest on a dry giant ragweed plant

with 30 comments

Paper Wasps at Nest on Dry Giant Ragweed 3196A

Click for greater size and clarity.

While walking the trail around the Riata Trace Pond in north Austin on July 30th, I came across some paper wasps at their nest on a dried-out giant ragweed plant, Ambrosia trifida. I took a couple of dozen pictures, and for the last group of them I zoomed in as close as my lens would let me. That closeness prompted one of the wasps to zoom out at me, which I took as a signal that it was time for me to leave. I left.

And now I leave it to you to see if you can say the phrase wasps’ nests quickly a dozen times without messing up. If you make it, try wasps’ nests’ wisps. Slow’s easy, but fast’s a stinger.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2013 at 6:08 AM

%d bloggers like this: