Friday, July 20, 2012

Green Lynx Spider Stalking Yellow Jackets

What killed this yellow jacket wasp?
Yellow jackets are a kind of wasp and many people fear them. Their black and yellow coloration is mistaken for honey bees and people are afraid of being stung. 

We have a low number of yellow jackets in the yard, but when you see them at a protein food source, like a hawk cast, it appears they are numerous. Video. When we first moved to this house 18 years ago, we couldn't eat on our patio without being harassed by 10-20 yellow jackets. We put out traps for them.

The problem was that we didn't have a balanced ecosystem. The previous owners sprayed for insects, baited for snails and planted mostly non-native plants. Gradually we have restored a more natural flora, which in turn attracts native animals–from insects to raccoons.

The Cooper's hawks are feeding their youngsters in the backyard. The young hawks are dropping bits of meat, this feeds the yellow jackets. But the yellow jackets are also eating the caterpillars that show up on my tomatoes. And the yellow jackets have a predator too.
Green lynx spider feeding on a beetle

This lovely green lynx spider prowls the vegetable garden leaving behind the dried exoskeletons of yellow jackets and other insects. Egg sac. We do less and the natural balance of biodiversity does more.

More on California spiders:
red jumping spider
trashweb spider
trapdoor spider 
cobweb spider 

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