Gasteruption jaculator - full body view, Netherlands
Presumed species. A few days ago, I granted myself a 15 minute sunbath in the garden. But of course, even in such a rare moment of relaxation, the natural world called for my attention. The red on this insect caught my eye.
It's sitting on our shed in which we store garden tools. The shed is poorly maintained and the wood has several holes in it which are thankfully used by several bee species and hover flies as a nest. Good, because I'm employing several tactics in our garden to promote insect populations.
Before grabbing the camera I first watched it (there were three of them) for a good 15 minutes. It generally crawled around the open holes as if to somehow detect a target or to decide on its next move. Every few minutes, it would make a move and reverse itself (ovipositor first) into the hole. I suppose it then deposited her eggs. The parasitic behavior of species in this genus is diverse; eggs can be deposited on the larvae of a host, but also near it. Other behavior is to deposit them near or on the food supply of the host.
The adult feeds on nectar, and you can see how its body is covered in it. In dutch, we call these insects "hunger wasps". I first assumed this is related to the appetite of its larvae, which parasite both a host and its food supply. No, the name comes from the extremely thin waist (metasoma), which even for a parasitoid wasp is unusually thin.
I'm happy to see and learn about this species, as I appreciate its beauty. I'm not terrible happy in it targeting bee populations, but I will let nature have its way.