While doing a large poison oak job, Alex Hartung and I found a pack rat nest on a steep brush and tree-covered hillside on Oman Drive, Soulsbyville. An interior live oak had fallen over, still green, with roots intact. There were bits of bark and small branches strewn thickly over the top of the nest, which stood about three feet high. There was no way such material could have accumulated naturally like this on that tree. It was a pack rat nest. June 19, 2021. Photos by Alex Hartung.
Columbia Ca 6-22-21
Winged female thief ant. 3/8 inches long.
Dr. Philip Ward confirmed the ID. He pointed out that the taxonomy of thief ants (Solenopsis species in the erstwhile subgenus Diplorhoptrum) is in a rather unsatisfactory state. This queen could be called Solenopsis molesta, the most common North American species, but the boundaries of that species remain unclear.
This is a cynipid gall wasp.
June 1, 2021, Valley Springs, CA. Collected by FSPC technician Andrew springer. ID by Dr. Lynn Kimsey.