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Photo#152849
Roosting cluster of Vespid wasps ?? Idaho, July, 5000ft, - male

Roosting cluster of Vespid wasps ?? Idaho, July, 5000ft, - Male
Nr. Arco, Idaho, Moore , Lost River Range County, Idaho, USA
July 13, 2007
Size: c.1"
I know they are "yellowjacket" type wasps of the Vespid.family, but I cannot identify the species at all. They seemed to be unusually black and white with yellow legs, and a decided violet blue tone to their wings.
They simply clustered at sundown in this clump on a single exposed dried weed stalk perhaps 30" high, in an open field c.20 feet away from a moist irrigation ditch with scraggly cottonwoods (spp). This was near Arco in Idaho, at an elevation of perhaps 5500ft, in early July. They remained in this clump of perhaps 50 - 100 individuals through the night until the sun warmed things up, then they all left to do waspish things during the day. I saw no sign of a queen or any mating or nest building behaviour. Every night they returned, for the week we were there, though towards the end they were definately fewer, though we tried not to disturb them.

Moved
Moved from Bembicina.

Moved
Moved from Sand Wasps.

Moved
Moved from Bembicinae.

What county?
Will you please fix that. There is no county named Lost River Range. Is it Butte?

Roosting cluster of Bembecine Crabronid wasps (males)
Communal roosting behavior is widespread among males of many "solitary" wasps and bees. But this is far less common at such a scale; these ones are so many that they can indeed be mistaken for a kind of colony. The fact they were distinctly fewer after a week means the season slowly ended, more of them dying each day.
Getting even to the genus level is difficult at this level of magnification; they are simply not close enough, at least for me.. But maybe Dr Ascher will know more. What can be said with confidence is that these wasps are no Vespids - although at first I considered some Masarinae as possible.

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