This photo was a happy accident… I think I was taking pictures of a butterfly that flew away and in the midst of clicking captured this image without even realizing it and I love it!
A bee/wasp ID group helped me identify this as a potter/mason wasp, possibly Parancistrocerus fulvipes. This is a small wasp – not as big as the typical paper wasp we’re most familiar with but larger than a sweat bee… at least from my initial observation. It’s one of the ones I often see on the mountain mint so non-aggressive from what I can tell. These wasps are predators of various beetle larvae, spiders and caterpillars. So – a good balance of insects helps keep all our insect populations in check – which is good because if we didn’t have wasps we might have an overabundance of beetles and that might affect crops that we need. I don’t know the specifics for this particular wasp’s food web but in general it’s good to encourage native species in the garden. Anyway – really I just love the purples and greens in this shot and how the wasp body ended up in focus. It’s fun for a photographer when there’s a happy accident such as this!