We keep a patch of giant goldenrod growing at the front of the house to provide a way station for visiting monarch butterflies, but other insects make themselves at home there, including all manner of bees, wasps and wheelbugs. Wheelbugs, named for the cogged half wheel atop their armor, lay in wait in the yellow flowers, stalking their prey. The wheelbug in the top shot had caught a bumble bee and dragged it at least 5-6 feet before I stopped following it. The one in the second photo snagged a wasp.

The insects insert their beak into the prey, injecting a fluid that paralyzes and dissolves the victim’s insides, which accounts for why there seemed to be no fight left in either the bee or wasp.

Unrelated note — this is our 700th post!

Wheelbug dragging off prey.
Wheelbug, dusted with yellow pollen from the goldenrods, drags its prey.
Wheelbug eating wasp.
Inverted wheelbug eating wasp. Its cogged wheel can be seen running along its back.
In profile, you can see the wheel.
In profile, you can see the wheel.

2 thoughts on “Life and death in the goldenrod, part I

  1. Beautiful pictures. I find it interesting as I have planted Goldenrod bush in my garden but it is not favoured by the insects. It is, of course, not a native European plant so that is probably the answer but I get lots of insects on some other non-native plants. I’ll just have to enjoy ith through your great pictures.

    1. Thanks for stopping by our little corner of Arkansas! I’m surprised the local honey bees don’t visit your goldenrods. Though not native to N America, the bees have certainly developed a taste for the goldenrods here. I look forward to exploring your blog more and following your adventures in France.

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