Antigonon leptopus) and considering how relaxed it felt, as a gardener, to have made it through summer, all the way to October. Our state motto, for gardeners at least, could be "October: Give It Another Go!".
It became a daily routine, my going out on the front porch to enjoy the weather and watch the bees only to have the otherwise mellow ambience yanked over to High Alert! level when the black wasp showed up. I checked several times each day. The large black figure darting in and out of the blooms was there pretty much all the time. That wasp had essentially moved in and set up shop.
Finally, doing what I should have done on Day One? I investigated. The nemesis of my mellow afternoons on the front porch was a Sphex pensylvanicus, a species of digger wasp. The common name for this beast? Great Black Wasp. Unimaginative, but accurate.
those" wasps, the ones that have a somewhat grisly "catch and no-release" policy when it comes to feeding their young. However. The type of insect these particular wasps target to support their wasplets are the very ones I hunt myself in an attempt to keep them from devouring everything in sight (grasshoppers and katydids). Beyond that, these wasps are important pollinators for the various milkweed plants that support monarchs in migration. It turns out these wasps are a great partner for a gardener working to attract pollinators.
So. Big they most certainly are, menacing because of their size, perhaps, but definitely beneficial overall for a Central Texan Garden (and gardener). Great Black Wasps? I welcome you to these spaces! It is true - in the past I might have foolishly ducked inside when you showed up on my front porch. Allow me to apologize. That was simply a case of a mistaken first impression.