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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,994

    Default No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    Last year I dug some vitex up at a beek's bee yard and planted it out at the edge of my yard. The larger plants in the beeks yard had honey bees working them. I planted four small clumps late last summer and they have done well and easily have 5-6 times as much vitex as I started with. What is kind of strange is that I haven't seen a honey bee on the plants, I know they may come by while I'm not around but it seems like by now I would have seen some honey bees on the flowers. Bumble bees and other flying critters visit but no honey bees. Of the other critters there is a wasp-looking insect that is the most frequent and numerous visitor to the vitex. They're quick and flighty, not holding still if you approach them with a camera. I'm thinking some type of paper wasp, but I'm not sure. I've seen some other images here and there that resembled these but have yet to see an ID attached to them. Does anybody know what these wasps(?) are?

    Also, anybody got a clue as to why the honey bees aren't working the vitex? It puzzles me.

    Thanks,
    Ed








  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    396

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    Also, anybody got a clue as to why the honey bees aren't working the vitex? It puzzles me.

    Thanks,
    Ed
    I have mature vitex that I planted about ten years ago and I see the same thing.The blooms are always covered by wasps and solitary bees but I seldom see honeybees on the blooms.Something else is blooming that they like better.In my case it's probably saw palmetto
    or some ti-ti in the swamps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    320

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    I have 2 vitex shrubs in my yard. When they first bloomed back in May I think, my honeybees were all over them. They finished blooming and I deadheaded them. They have come back into bloom but now I only see other bees and wasps on them. For a while they were all over my borage, then stopped. Don't know what they are bringing in, in the 105+ heat the last couple of weeks and drought conditions, I suspect they simply aren't producing much nectar.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,994

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    I'm thinking it's a local variant of the European paper wasp. The design on the abdomen is a bit off and these are more hairy/fuzzy that the pictures that I've seen of other European paper wasps, but...? Once I convince myself that these are European paper wasps there fate will be sealed.

    As for the vitex, I've got crape myrtle trees blooming right now and the honey bees are working these some. I'm going to deadhead the vitex this weekend it and see if they will put more blooms on. I know they're going to seed so it should do them good. The reason I planted these was to give the honey bees a little something to work during the summer dearth, ah well, best plans of mice and beeks, eh?

    Ed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,781

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    They look similar to some of our sandwasps here on the Westcoast, the type that dig burrows and find caterpillars to put in them. I've seen a few recently on my mint blooms.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,994

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    I've got digger wasps here but the ones that I have don't resemble these wasps. I'll stay on the lookout though and see if I can see them kicking dirt somewhere. The black bands with the little points pointing toward their rear ends make me lean toward European paper wasps...but then again they don't look "exactly" like the EPW pictures that I've seen. ??

    Ed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,781

    Default Re: No honey bees on vitex but have these wasps(?) Friend or foe?

    I looked up European paper wasps and its exactly what I have around my house and those in the pics aren't it. They don't really look like digger's either, as most digger wasp have a shorter antennae and big green eyes. I'll keep looking around and see if i can find what those are.

    Found it

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/134091

    Males in your picture, important in biocontrol of ground dwelling beetle larva (japanese beetles etc..)
    Last edited by JRG13; 07-13-2012 at 04:56 PM.

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