In my woodland garden, I line the paths with logs - it defines the route, uses up spare logs, and of course my hope is that it provides another micro-habitat for wildlife too.
As bits of bark have flaked off, it has been clear that at the very least I've been providing a home for lots of woodlice. And in autumn I tend to get fungi popping up around them. Oh, and the local cat population sharpen their claws on them.
But for several weeks, I've been wondering what it is that is boring into the logs, creating a mini avalanche of wood shavings that fan out beneath holes about the diameter of a pencil.
Well, today I peered into the hole more in hope than expectation, and was surprised to see a little face looking back at me.
And quite calmly, out popped a little wasp, with the most perfectly painted striped posterior and long yellow socks.
Now she looks pretty fierce, but that's exactly what that colouration is designed to do - scare us. However, she was only about half an inch long so I felt pretty safe!
Although identification of solitary wasps is notoriously difficult, I'm pretty sure this is an Ectemnius wasp (experts out there, feel free to express horror at my identification). If so, she is one of the'digger wasps' - the Sphecids - which are actually closely related to bees.
What she will have done is build a tunnel system in the log leading to a dozen or so chambers, in each of which a larvae will grow. And the mother wasp will provision the youngsters with hoverfly suppers that she will catch out in the garden. Well, I've got enough Marmalade Hoverflies at the moment to feed a legion of Ectemniuses.
I never cease to be amazed by what is going on in a garden. And maybe if I watch even harder I'll even get to see her nest chamber being visited by one of the flies that parasitises her larvae.
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