High today in Pittsburgh, predicted to be 16F. Shoveled that 1″ of snow that fell overnight. Truth be told, I need a Winter Antidote, pronto! Opened my 2014 images, and this one is spot on.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa) was in bloom that 3rd week in July at Doak field (Raccoon Creek State Park, Southwestern Pennsylvania). There were a limited number of these milkweeds, and they were the rich, deep orange that I love. In the morning, they are nectar pumps, and butterflies, bees, wasps, diurnal moths all pay visits to sip sweet nectar, their version of jet fuel.
On July 14th I stationed myself alternately at 2 or 3 of the plants, and waited. The time spent was good. I was not alone much.
Then, “Huh?” This wasp alighted on the blooms. A newbie for me, even after 18 years in the field. Then I saw it. That ½ orange/ ½ black abdomen. Orange delight! The perfect complement to the orange blooms. Beauty in the raw.
Without a field guide at Raccoon Creek, I arrived home to find that this was a Great Golden Digger Wasp. “I beg your pardon?” This type of wasp is found throughout much of the United States and Canada, but solitary and surely uncommon. The adults nectar on flowers. They capture food for their larvae by paralyzing crickets and katydids and then dropping them into their burrows in the ground.
July’s eye candy was painted in a natural orange tone that I love. I long to get back out there.