Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Yellow Jacket vs. Caterpillar
I know it's been almost a week since I posted, but I spend most of my time watering and trying to keep cool. Well, today I was out watering when I noticed that wasps were swarming my Baptisia plant. It has long ago stopped blooming and now has only seed pods on it. So I couldn't figure out why they would be interested in a plant with no flowers. When I took a closer look I realized the plant was infested with some kind of tent caterpillar (or some kind of caterpillar that makes webs). So I grabbed my camera and watched, as I still wasn't 100% sure why the wasps were so interested. As I watched patiently and hoped not to get stung (I'm allergic to wasp stings) I realized the the wasps were trying to eat the caterpillars. I watched one sting a caterpillar, and then once it stopped moving all of the wasps came in and started to feast on the dead or paralyzed caterpillar. It was cool and gross all at the same time. I tried to get pictures of it, but they are not the best since I was desperately trying not to get stung. But here was another strange thing I observed (see bottom pic) the wasps were also digging in to the seed pods on my Baptisia, like the were putting holes in them for some reason. Any thoughts on this? For those extra curious people like me, I went out and captured a short video. The wasp flies off with the caterpillar, only to snack on him while sitting on one of my hostas.