Black and White Spider Wasp
with Neoscona Orb Weaver Prey   (five photos)


Getting a burrow ready for the egg:

Spider Wasp and burrow on Antelope Island
If you are a female black and white Spider Wasp who has dug a burrow just wide enough
for a Neoscona orb weaver, you start your hunt for food. © Carol Davis 6-28-2017

spider wasp and neoscona spider
  You fly off to find a Neoscona spider that has one only thing on its mind - mating. Male orb
weavers seem to be the sex of choice because they are clueless and the females are already sitting in
 the middle of their webs waiting for prey of their own (maybe a spider wasp). © Carol Davis 6-28-2017

wasp next to burrow
 After the capture, you can't drag the spider down into the burrow until you inspect it again. Who knows
 what may be lurking below. Thus, you have to abandon the spider for a moment or two while you go back
and double check the nest. [It all appears to be good - at least for the wasp].  © Carol Davis 6-28-2017

spider waiting to be taken into wasp den
[Meanwhile, the spider is just sitting in the open for anyone to steal, but no one does -
surprisingly! I guess they're all to busy to take someone else's prey. There are a lot of other
wasps and burrows in the same area so it would be easy to take it].  © Carol Davis 6-28-2017

wasp taking spider into burrow
Lastly, you drag the spider down the hole - body, first, and gangly legs, second. [I've seen other
species of wasps  snip off the  legs of spiders before they ever transport them, but this species
of wasp carries the whole shebang back to the burrow and lays one egg on it - then seals up the burrow.
 It was fun to watch these wasps in action in an area that was protected from interlopers (the
presence of biting midges might have helped keep humans away). I just stood around the outside,
periodically slapping midges, and shot these pictures with my telephoto feature on my camera.
 It was quite the experience and I feel I learned a lot from just watching.]
By the way, I get spider wasps inside my house occasionally and if this happens to you, open
 the front or back door (hopefully you then have a screen door, as well) and they will eventually
 be attracted to the light (provided that area is brighter than the rest of the room) and land
on the screen.  You can then quietly open the screen door and let them out. They are not going
 to sting, so give them a break and don't spray and kill them. They are beneficial insects and want
to get out of the house as much as you want them out (well, almost as much!)
Happy wasp watching! © Carol Davis 6-28-2017

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