The female Ichneumon Wasp has this very long ovipositor which she uses to insert her eggs into old wood. She lays her eggs in tunnels where the horntail wasp larvae are, and Mrs. Ichneumon's babies will feed on them when they hatch out. Sounds like a nasty little way to feed your babies, but everybody's got to eat somebody, right?
What's amazing to me is how in the world does that little wasp drill a hole into the wood? Incredible! No power tools, no torque wrench, no chainsaw! Just a little poker on the end of her abdomen. I do think that sometimes they find a hole that has already been "predrilled" and go in that way too. No matter what, it's amazing!
Yesterday I saw her fly by me. Today I went on a hunt for one and had my phone in my pocket. I was about to give up the search when here she came. In my excitement, I couldn't get the phone camera up and running fast enough to snap a photo. She even landed on my leg! Kinda creepy, but kinda cool too. I was glad that my leg didn't look like a tree trunk after all! They say Ichneumon wasps won't try to harm humans so I didn't feel threatened.
Here's a link to very cool video showing the actual depositing of eggs if you're interested. It's a few minutes long and quite cool to witness. I'm determined to find another Ichneumon wasp out there one of these days. By the way, as I was waiting for Mrs. Ichneumon to come back out (which she did not) I did notice something else laying on the bark of the tree. It pays to wait and look and observe.
Here's a photo of milkweed. I think our milkweed is called "Showy Milkweed." And it is! I think it's so pretty and intricate. Monarch butterflies love milkweed and lay their eggs on them. I'm hoping to come back to this little patch and check for Monarch eggs and/or butterflies laying eggs. One time we found a chrysalis on a milkweed plant and brought it inside and watched it emerge. It was one of those awesome times when the kids were little and curious about all things nature.
Did you see the full moon two nights ago? Oh, so pretty and orange when it just came up. We've had lots of smokey skies from the Washington fires, and it makes the moon and sun look orange-y when they set or rise. This moon is up high and peeking through the clouds.
I hope you're enjoying nature this summer. So much to see! So much to learn!