Two-lined Petrophila Moth Rerun (Family Crambidae)

Two-banded Petrophilias are found near the rivers and streams in eastern North America that their larvae inhabit. The hind wings of adult Petrophila moths have a row of black/metallic spots that make one spider enthusiast theorize that they’re Jumping Spider mimics.

Bald-faced Hornet (Family Vespidae)

The Bald-faced Hornet is famous for the football-shaped paper nest that it suspends, between two and forty feet off the ground, from a man-made or natural support. The nest is initiated by the queen, a fertile female that mated last fall and holed up over the winter while the workers, drones, and old queen died. She starts the new nest in spring by fashioning a spherical structure that’s open at the bottom. After she raises her first brood, her daughters take over, enlarging and guarding the nest, foraging for food for the larvae and their queen.

American Pelecinid Wasp (Family Pelecinidae)

American Pelecinid Wasps are relatively common from Argentina through Canada, in woodlands, grasslands and gardens, from mid-summer to early fall. Two other species occur exclusively south of the border. Pelecinids have short wings for their length and are slow flyers.

Cup Plant Cosmos

The BugLady spent some very warm days among the Cup plants, those jumbo prairie plants whose opposite leaves join around the stem resulting in a small reservoir that often holds rain water or dew. The undersurface of the tender top leaves of many Cup plants were wall-to-wall with (insert creepy adjective here) red aphids—a cast of thousands—and there were some very cool supporting actors.

A Tale of Two Paper Wasps (Family Vespidae)

The Northern Paper Wasp and the European Paper Wasp are in the widespread genus Polistes in the family Vespidae. They’re called paper wasps because they chew on bits of paper, wood, bark, etc, mix it with saliva, and form the resulting pulp into a nest typical of their species. Paper wasps target many caterpillars that gardeners consider pests, and in a nod to their pest-control value, people put up nest boxes for them.

Thread-wasted Wasps (Family Sphecidae)

Thread-waisted wasps mostly nest in the ground or build free-standing nests from mud. Although the female is primarily a vegetarian that sips nectar from flowers as she hunts, she provides protein for her young. Most target the caterpillars of moths and a few skipper butterflies and the larvae of their distant sawfly relatives.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

In lieu of the usual bug biography, the BugLady presents The Twelve Bugs of Christmas—a tribute to a dozen insects (a Baker’s Dozen, really) that were photographed this year but not featured in a BOTW. Let the singing commence.

Carrot Wasp (Family Gasteruptiidae)

The Carrot Wasp adults are usually found eating nectar and pollen on flowers in the carrot family (including Wild Parsnip). The long, arched abdomen is similar to that of an Ichneumon wasp, but CWs have a noticeable neck, and the tibias on its back legs are enlarged. There are 15 species in the genus in North America, five of those in the east, and they look pretty much alike—mostly black with varying orange bands on the gaster.

Organ Pipe Mud Dauber (Family Crabronidae)

The Organ Pipe/Pipe Organ Mud Dauber are smallish wasps with a patent-leather black, purplish wings, and white “ankles” on their back legs. They are not aggressive—males have no stingers, and you really have to man-handle a female to get her to sting. There are about 30 species in the genus across North America (more elsewhere), but the OPMD is found mostly in the eastern U.S.

Pussy Willow Pollinators

People get excited when pussy willows whisper the spring. The BugLady thinks it’s more fun to skulk among the pussy willows when they are actually blooming (the gray, fuzzy “bud” is the future female catkin), ogling the diversity of insects that come to visit. Willows are dioecious (separate house), bearing their male and female flowers on different plants