The sandy soil around Minsmere and the adjoining heath above Dunwich is home to the Ant-lion and the Bee-wolf. Adult Ant-lions are not exactly spectacular: they look a bit like dull grey damselflies and are not often seen during the best hours of daylight, preferring the evening for their excursions on the wing. The larvae are the ones responsible for the name since they have soft bodies covered in bristles: they also have huge appetites for ants. They live in sandy pits, which they create and in which they sometimes play host to parasitic insects.
The Bee-wolf, on the other hand, is actually a solitary digger wasp. This insect preys on the worker Honey bee, but since the Bee-wolf needs a very particular habitat, I wonder how much of a threat it poses to the Honey bee population. It looks like a large wasp, but with rather short thick antennae.
My first photo (immediately below) was taken at Sutton Hoo in sandy soil. I do not have an exact ID for the insect to date, but I am pretty certain that it is a species of Digger Wasp ...
... for here it is doing what Digger Wasps do best.
The photo below shows ... a head in a hole. No prizes for guessing that!
The next photo was taken on the reserve at RSPB Minsmere along the sandy edge of the path that leads towards the sea from the Visitors' Centre.
Here we are back at NT Sutton Hoo again, where the brown insect - a weevil perhaps, possibly a larva of some sort - is climbing up the sandy wall of a large Digger Wasp/Sand Wasp hole. I am wondering if there is another insect slightly above it to the right in the hole within the hole. There was a lot of insect activity in the area.
The hole below was about a couple of metres away from the large one above. This time you can see a different kind of insect, looking more like an ant; and yet it is in fact a solitary Red-banded Sand Wasp of the Ammophila family.
... and here it is ...
... digging away.
The photos that I took at Sutton Hoo were taken during a walk around the mounds. The photo below shows just how brown the long grass has become, despite the heavy rains in June. I find it sad to think that we are already about a month on from the longest day.