My Digital Photography of
The following insects were photographed in the Metro-Detroit area, unless otherwise noted. I have identified them by their scientific names, if known. Photographs are sorted so that most recent photos are at the top of the page.
Special thanks to John Maxwell for helping me identify a few of the insects on this page.
Click here for info about purchasing prints of these photographs.
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Unknown Wasp preying on paralyzed spider
North side of yard, May 23, 2016
Common Yellow Jacket, Vespula
On June 18, 2008, it was a comparatively chilly day, only around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit, so this yellow jacket that had made its nest inside one of the trash barrels was very slow and unable to fly. Otherwise, believe me, I would not have gotten this close. It should be obvious that I love bugs, but if I could eradicate just one insect from the face of the planet, it would be the yellow jacket. I have had many problems with these things. They seem to just land on anything around and start stinging it. They are especially attracted to my scent for some reason and seem to just flock to me the second I walk outside. They never used to be this bad in Michigan, but the last 8 years or so, I have not really been able to enjoy the summertime like I used to. I have to stay indoors on sunny days when they are out. They prevent me from enjoying my garden and going out to pick flowers. I can't weed the flower beds around the house. I can't wash my car without constant fear of attack (they come for the water every time unless it's a dismal day, and then why would anyone be washing their car?). I am terrified of mowing the lawn (been stung three times in the ankle from doing it). I am highly allergic and I swell up for several days and can barely walk (if it's in my ankle). I can't express enough how much I hate these things.
Now here's something I didn't expect to happen. After photographing the adult wasp and knocking it out of the trashcan into the lawn, I retrieved the nest the next day (the queen had flown off). I use these nests for art projects a lot, but when I picked it up, it felt unusually heavy. I could see that there were some living larvae inside, but I couldn't see them too well. So of course I grabbed the camera. It seems that the wasp started from the center when she layed her eggs. The middle ones are capped off, which means that they are pupating (turning into adult wasps). The other ones are in different stages, including eggs! The more developed ones are closer to the center and the eggs are in the farthest chambers. I have never seen anything like this before. I found myself thinking about these little babies throughout the day, actually feeling sorry for them, that their mom wouldn't be back to feed them the nourishing protein they need to develop. I just don't have the heart to squash them like I would do to an adult, but I feel bad about them starving to death. Something about them is cute. Their little puffy faces I guess. Oh well, I guess I don't want any more adults around. There are too many as it is.
Very young larvae...
Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus
and Eumenes fraternus
I don't remember seeing Sphex ichneumoneus before in my area until 8-24-06, when I took these photographs. In the first picture, I also caught another wasp (Eumenes fraternus), most likely a male, in mid-air!
Blue Mud Dauber Wasps (Chalybion californicum) on Oregano Flowers
These wasps are extremely active on my oregano flowers. There are usually at least 5 wasps on the plants at any given time. Here are a few wasps I photographed on August 9, 2006.
Blue Mud Dauber Wasp (Chalybion californicum) on Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro) and sunflower
I photographed this mud dauber wasps on 8-5-04. Contrary to popular belief, this type of wasp is not aggressive and will not usually sting, even when provoked. In fact, it doesn't even defend its nest. For more information on mud dauber wasps, click here. If you would like to learn more about the differences between wasps and bees, click here.
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