I saw this insect on Hemp-agrimony on August 4th, 2010
No interactions present.
My best guess is that this is one of the Diplazon wasp/ichneumons â€“ of which Diplazon laetatorius (parasitic on hoverflies) is best known. However, this particular individual lacks white markings and I am wondering if anyone can provide a more definitive ID.
The shape of the antennae and the number of antennal segments are an easy way of telling whether you are looking at a parasitic type of Hymenoptera. The parasitic species (Hymenoptera Parasitica) have many antennal segments (16-19 commonly). The segments tend to be small and of uniform size so the antennae look thread like. The Hyemnoptera Aculeata (the ants, bees and wasps) have 12 (Females) or 13 segments (males) (this difference in the sexes is easy to see in the field once familiar with the species). The first two are different sizes to the rest. The antennae of this specimen are of the second type so this is an aculeate. It looks like Astata boops to me but I will defer opinion to someone more familiar with this species
Thank you. A kleptoparasitic (cuckoo?) bee had not occurred to me. We do have on site a particularly visible population of what I have provisionally classed as mining bees though they tend to occur, or I tend to photograph them, earlier in the year. Not many patches of overtly sandy material are visible but perhaps more exist hidden. We have froghoppers â€“(leaf hoppers: not sure).
There are lots of solitary bees and wasps that have this colour scheme, in a variety of families and genera. If you have a 'bee-bank' you will almost certainly have a large range of species on it over the year, hosts and parasites. The Mimesa mentioned above as the froghopper specialist is a possibility on the bank, but that has a very extended thin waist unlike this beast, and the other wasps will go for other prey (and bees of course only take pollen).
To clarify, when I said 'steal' above in the ID comments, they don't fly off with the pollen store, but take over the provisioned nest of the host.
recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.
Thank you. I have added a further observation today
Lat/Lng: 51.43372, -2.76236
OS grid ref: ST471707
Stockway North Nature Reserve, Nailsea