By September 10, 2008

“Natural insect predators are great,” or WTF is living in my yard

Every once in awhile some big mutant bug decides to colonize my property. Hardwood stump boring beetles, Japanese beetles, drunken hornets, you name it. Now I seem to have some sort of alien parasite near the base of my steps.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=4770
There are three mounds roughly a yard apart from each other. This is the largest one.

Here is one of the two “satellite” colonies.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=4773

We had a nice bit of rain from Tropical Storm Hannah, and that seemed to flood these up pretty good. Except now there is some kind of reddish-colored goo seeping out of the hives. I don’t know if that’s a decomposing extraterrestrial corpse or some sort of self-preservation technique. Either way, I posted a request to Ars Technica for help in identifying what the fuck lived in these things and what to do about them.

Here are some of the more “helpful” quotes:

what happens if you poke your finger around in there?
MetricInch

Poke it with a stick! Look, there’s one RIGHT THERE!

Alternately, pour flammable liquid down the holes, follow with flame, take pics.
Masterminded

Dump some of that crystal/powder Drano down it and add water. Listen for tiny little screams.
travathian

and then a voice of logic, crying out in the wilderness:

Looks like a hole for a Great Golden Digger wasp. They’re non-aggressive, hunt pests (grasshoppers and katydids) which they paralyze and lay their eggs on. The adults are nectar feeders and good to have around the garden.

If you poke your finger in the hole, you’ll probably find:

1. A paralyzed bug covered in eggs
2. A drowned digger wasp.
3. A whole bunch of larval digger wasps eating a bug corpus.

In any case you shouldn’t destroy it, non-aggressive, natural insect predators are great.
Hound of Cullen

Well … that isn’t much fucking fun, is it? Natural insect predators are great, after all. I was content (mostly) to leave them alone at this point, until Hound of Cullen off-handly said later,

We had them all over our yard in MD when I was growing up. 2-1/2 to 3″ orange-and black wasps. BLAH BLAH BLAH LOGIC MAKES SENSE DID YOU JUST FUCKING SAY 3″ WASP?

In the meantime, I am still trying to ID what’s in these dens. After looking at the pictures, I am not sure if it’s a Great Golden Digger wasp or perhaps an Eastern Cicada killer. Don’t worry, I’m sure either way it’s fine and I won’t be stung in the neck and dragged into a hole to be devoured by mutant insect babies.

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6 Comments on "“Natural insect predators are great,” or WTF is living in my yard"

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  1. Ed says:

    I will repeat what I said before.

    3 inch killer wasp monsters! They are one mutation away from devouring the dogs and enslaving you in their mines! Kill them! KILL THEM ALLL!!!

    EXTERMINATEEEEEEEEE!

    (yes, wasps send Ed into a Dalek sympathizing stage)

  2. This reminds me of “Operation Kick Some Tiny Brown Ass”… *shudder* I say you burn it; burn it all and damn if the house goes with it. Exterminieren, exterminieren, exterminieren…

  3. BushPutin says:

    Damn I am glad that I don’t live back East. All we have here are lethargic honey bees.

    -BushPutin

  4. John says:

    Is that a skull of some sort in the first picture?

    If they are at the base of your steps, you need to get rid of them before they start to take over the entire area. Out in the yard is one thing, at the base of the steps is another. Next thing you know you’ll have 3″ wasps ringing the doorbell looking for something/body to eat.

  5. drfaulken says:

    Hey John, thanks for the comment. I think that the heavy rain killed whatever hellbeast was living in there. I curbstomped one of the structures last week and nothing came out and stung me in the face.

  6. sbl says:

    Hehe you might not like such critters in your yard, but I wish there was more in mind. The back yard is cemented and all i get are argentine ants. But then i enjoy seeing random critters…lol

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