This is the male wasp. He showed up first. The males wait for the females to find this log and lay eggs in the larvae of the horn-tail wasps. Thanks for letting us know what’s inside! Luckily, this post is not load-bearing and is temporary.
The males are big. About 2.5 inches. The female is huge: 3.5 or so. She has a long ovipositor that looks like a ferocious stinger. Intimidating but not aggressive. She showed up a few days later and started carefully exploring the post, tapping and moving along slowly. There were dozens of males to a handful of females.
When she found the spot where the larvae were snuggled, she started drilling into the wood with her ovipositor. Her rear end sort of flipped inside-out and the ovipositor forked on either side of her abdomen. (The pictures would be better had I not been completely freaked out by the sight of her!)
The drill took only 5-10 minutes.
Then she deposited her eggs in the horn-tail wasp’s larvae. And took off. The males buzzed around for days afterward, waiting for the young females to emerge. We missed the hatching, sadly.
So many little (and big) wonders to see and learn from surround us.
End of lesson.
Pixie watches out for us, protecting us from dangers the likes of douglas squirrels, red tree voles and chipmunks.
This is where the heated bench will go. Stovepipe comes from the rocket stove through “mass heat storage” in the form of benches and the bed. Cob will store heat and slowly release it into the house long after the fire is out. More on rocket stoves coming up!