For several days now, I've checked on a stand of Common Grass-leaved-goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia) that grows on the edge of a small pond. As the plants have begun to flower, I've noticed a variety of insects (bees, beetles, wasps, flies, etc.) drawn to the area. A species who grabs my attention most days is Eremnophila aureonotata, a type of Thread-waisted Wasp, who flies from plant to plant with abdomen held high. There are several kinds of Thread-waisted Wasps (in the family Sphecidae) -- all of whom have narrow mid-sections -- but the pattern of this species (black body with silver thorax spots) is distinctive. Dick Walton put together an amazing video of one such Eremnophila aureonotata, which you may enjoy viewing.
A diagnostic feature of the Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) is the anchor-shaped black mark on the first abdominal band (the segment without a black spot). Queens (above) of this species can be distinguished from males and sterile females by the small black spots on their other abdominal segments.
For many, the word "wasp" triggers thoughts of stinging pain, but being up close with this Thread-waisted Wasp (perhaps Ammophila procera) only triggered amazement in me. Prior to taking this photograph, I watched this wasp nectaring -- alongside butterflies and bumblebees -- on Lance-leaved American-aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum). See Tuesday's post for another look at the flower.