Photo 4: Great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) and golden digger wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) on Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
The garden has been continually patrolled by a great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). This wasp is perceived as a black streak that weaves its way around the different plants in the garden searching for prey (photos 2 & 3). It only rarely lands to fuel up on nectar at a Culver's Root plant (Veronicastrum virginicum) seen here with a golden digger wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) (photo 4). It sometimes hassles other residents. I have seen it touch the back of bumblebees who fly in response but are not harmed. It had an encounter with a hummingbird but both went their separate ways.
Editor's note: The primary reference for this article was Jeff Hahn's book Insects of the North Woods. The spider was identified through Larry Weber's book Spiders of the North Woods. Thanks to both of these authors.