Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sphex and Gooseneck Loosestrife

Good Morning,

I grow Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) to fill in hilly areas that I have no desire to weed or mow. It is an invasive plant but a great filler and it is a magnet for bees, butterflies and members of the digger wasp genus (Sphex).

These frightening looking wasps sting their prey to paralyze them and bury them alive in a nest after laying eggs in their bodies. The developing larvae feed on the paralyzed prey and eventually burst out. It is a life style that was immortalized in the film Alien.

As frightening as they look they were not aggressive and were much more interested in the flowers than the person photographing them.

Sphex pensylvanicus - Great Black Wasp
The flowers also attract a number of butterflies
Plenty of room for a bee and wasp

Butterfly

Sphex

Unknown fly variety

A Great Golden Digger peeks out over a blossom
Sphex ichneumoneus