Hello folks who wonder if one good thing that came out of this covid pandemic is preventing people in the future from distributing useless flyers at public places,

Everyone has their favorites and they will stick to their choices till death. Take the case of the person who will stand on the left side of an escalator during peak hours or someone who has the habit of looking at the menu right when their time comes to order in a busy line at Chipotle or even people who have the audacity to order fruits on their pizzas. Similarly, insects have favorites when it comes to choosing the places they will visit to get their nectar fix or places they lay their eggs. Hence you will see a wide variety of flowers to cater to the wide spectrum of clients.

As an example, a common butterfly that one sees in California is the Cabbage White, which came over without a valid visa and never went back. Their young ones prefer to snack on plants from the cabbage family, think your mustard, kale, cauliflower, cabbage(duh)... Alarm bells rang when hipsters started seeing their kale leaves being devoured by these caterpillars instead of making its way to their salad bowls.
One way to identify it is by its plain white color with 2 dots that is supposed to mimic an unfinished emoticon. Males have one spot on each wing, females have deux (that's two in French just so you know, I had to boast how I know more than 1 language even though it's just a couple of words).
Below is one resting on Perennial Pepperweed flowers, wondering if this location has a good school district for its kids to grow up.


Another example is the Anise Swallowtail who is seen leveraging its long proboscis to feed on the wild radish flowers.


So what is the point I am trying to make here? You see, butterflies will flock to different sizes of flowers based on their equivalent size. This is partly due to the landing area of the flowers as well as their size of the proboscis used to suck up the nectar. The issue arises when you have more than just butterflies who want their piece of the pie pick-me-up. Wasps haven't evolved to have a long proboscis like these butterflies and moths, so how do they solve that issue?


Parasitoid wasps will frequent plants that belong to the Carrot family which includes plants like Queen Anne's lace, Dill, Fennel and Poison Hemlock. Why? Because plants that are part of the Carrot family have flowers that resemble your umbrella on a windy day.


And these flower clusters have nectar that is easily accessible and hence the wasp does not need to dig deep to lap it up. Below is an example of a parasitoid wasp called the Yellow and Black mud dauber on a Sweet Fennel plant. At first you might be no thanks, not for me and would want to excuse yourself from the mere presence of a wasp. But this wasp is fascinating since it gets rid of one of the biggest fears of humans: Not clowns, you dum-dum, it is spiders.


Here is how it works:
When these wasps have decided they have sufficient financial stability and want to raise a family, they will start making a nest by carrying lumps of mud in their mandibles one at a time.
This is how a nest looks in its finished state.


Then once the base structure is built, they will go hunting for spiders, using their thin waist to effectively deliver the venom to the unsuspecting spider.
This venom is just potent enough to paralyze the spider, so it can't move but it can still watch the world around it. At this point it is similar to someone in a Walmart on a mobility scooter but then the batteries suddenly give out. Then, the wasps will transport the paralyzed spider to the mud nest. Once it feels the numbers of paralyzed spiders will suffice the appetite of its babies, it will deposit the egg and seal the chamber. It will make separate chambers for each of its babies with their own food provisions, so siblings don't fight with each other. I know one question that is swirling in your mind, why doesn't it kill the spider instead. You see, if it kills the spider then it will decompose and judging by the size of those chambers it is hard to fit a refrigerator in it, hence paralyzing the spider will keep it fresh for the larvae to consume. Yum! Yum!



Here is another parasitoid wasp called Great Golden Digger Wasp which gets rid of pests like grasshoppers and crickets. They get their name by the golden hair on its head and thorax, digger because they make underground burrows and anything that protects our plants get the term great as an honorary title. Over here it can be seen using its proboscis to take in the nectar on the Sweet Fennel plant.



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