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Ground Nesting Wasp - Microbembex - female

Ground Nesting Wasp - Microbembex - Female
Western shore of Whidbey Island to the north of Useless Bay at the base of a bluff, Island County, Washington, USA
July 24, 2006
Size: 15-23 mm long
A ground nesting wasp found digging into sandy soil (thicker than sand, sandier than dirt). The creature uses its forelegs to dig little holes in the ground. It appears to not be an agressive species as I shot this in 95 deg. F temperatures with my person and camera right in the middle of the nesting area with them simply ignoring me.

I suspect at least one or more species of bee was also seen nesting in the same area from my observations.

My apologies, the above is wrong. This was found along the base of a bluff in several miles south of where I initially implied. Albeit, this is a very minor shift in locality (atop a bluff to the base of one a few miles south).

Ironically, this IS a Microbembex:-) Extraordinary image of a female. Keep up the great work on these solitary Hymenoptera, please (my personal bias showing here:-)

Thanks Eric. :o) I will keep
Thanks Eric. :o) I will keep at them, I find watching them to be a true joy. I will post some more as time permits. The hard part is the editorial work of selecting shots (I took 400+ Hymenoptera shots yesterday plus 40 or 50 of ladybugs and I caught a crab spider munching on a fly or sawfly of some sort (100+ shots of that)).

The only one I am still worrying over is the usage of a killing jar. I will not do it on public lands, but I have considered using one on private lands. Then I could get detailed shots on white or black backdrops plus on an engineering pad (ruled scale paper) and then preserve them in labelled jars of alcohol and make an appointment to get an expert to ID them at the University of Washington. But I am still undecided if I wish to kill them or not.

I very much appreciate the ID help.

I have to say I do take wasps. Though I prefer shooting them. Often I will find a colonial or semi-colonial like this species and shoot many photos and then take one specimen. Learning the species locations is important for many reasons.

I do balk at taking spider wasps carrying or working with prey. I refuse to disturb the whole cycle and they are very photographable when they are busy with their work. I take them when they are hunting or nectaring and all the specimens of any wasps I take are eventually turned over to the major state museum curator at the university. So others can learn from them.

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