Hot, no appreciable rain for months, a huge fire in the hills, and a high fuel load to feed it if it comes our way into the grassland. And, there’s no mud close handy for the wasps to use for their breeding cells in the joints of our brickwork. This was a new one on me, it was checking out the building works but couldn’t add anything to it. Edit. Or take anything away it seems because it’s not a wasp but a masked bee in the Hylaeus genus, species nubilosus. I was corrected by my bee guru Mitch. These bees construct a cell in a hollow reed or suchlike from something that looks like cellophane, then seal it with mud. Whether this bee was looking to steal some mud for that purpose, or was looking for a small cavity for a brood chamber remains unclear, but could be the latter. Mud stealing is not uncommon apparently, I believe wasps can do it if there’s a shortage. It’s a valuable resource, some time ago I had a leak in a water supply pipe, I was down in the hole doing the repair and wasps were there with me collecting mud from the wet sides of the hole.

mud wasp

mud wasp

mud wasp

This potter wasp was probably in much the same predicament with the nearest damp clay a couple of hundred metres away in a dam.

potter wasp

Even the butterflies come into the verandah to escape the heat. Check out the superb camouflage, makes it virtually invisible when it lands among dry gum leaves.

common brown

Click to enlarge.

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