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Wednesday
Feb222012

Garden friend – Black Flower Wasps

With iridescent blue wings and a black body, Black Flower wasps are native insects that are great to have about in the garden. The adults enjoy feasting on nectar and help pollinate native plants, while the larvae prey on curl grubs which live under the ground and eat the roots of plants.

You generally only spot one of these beautiful wasps at a time, as they’re solitary creatures and don’t build communal nests like paper wasps. But in the summer months a number can cluster together in an area that takes their fancy. This summer we’ve had an explosion of black flower wasps on our nature strip, which is planted with lots of native grasses and has a wood chip path. At times there has been about two dozen wasps zipping up and down the nature strip! We love watching them, but need to reassure family and friends that they’re really passive and not at all aggressive or likely to sting you! Sometimes you see the female wasps crawling into the mulch to lay their eggs.

Our native insects truly are fascinating, yet we often know so little about them. We find the CSIRO website has some interesting info about native insects, as does the website Brisbane insects which is run by a nature-loving family of insect enthusiasts!

Reader Comments (8)

We have seen quite a number of Huntsman Spider wasps this season (featured on the CSIRO website you linked, or google it). They are also strikingly beautiful - orange, yellow and black, and paralyse Huntsman spiders, drag them onto the roof/fence and try to glide toward their underground nest where the spider becomes food for a larvae. First came to our attention because my daughter saw " a brightly coloured wasp is killing huntsman spiders and dragging them onto the roof", which we initially thought was nonsensical...but in fact true. Amazing and bizarre!
February 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristen
Wow, that is amazing Kirsten! We haven't seen those wasps before, what a sight to see one dragging a Huntsman into a hole for it's young! The world of insects truly is amazing.
February 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterHappyEarth
We have quite a few of these beauties flying around our trumpet plant. This is the first year we have ever seen them and it would be great if they ate all the grubs in my lawn!!
July 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjan
We have some of these wasps in our garden in Bentleigh Vic. I have never seen them before
February 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCathy
We just found one in our Camberwell garden. Not sen one before either. Lovely looking creature
February 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian
Perhaps with European Honeybees declining in population, the native bees and wasps are getting their niches back?
August 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKirsty
It must be year for the Black Flower Wasps. I came across this article researching what this flying insect is. I have hundreds of them each morning, flying around a flowerbed next to my driveway. I haven't figured out yet what the attraction is. The orchid tree? Or orange jasmine? Or the Gardenias? Our garden is about 18 months old and this is the first time I've seen them...actually the first time in 5 years living in Sydney that I've seen one of these beauties.
December 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna
Glad I have been able to identify these amazing insects ,a calypso display of blue doing great work in my Tomato plot.First time I have seen these in Crows Nest ( Darling Downs )
December 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

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