Strange insect party; multiple species

Loohan

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Jan 5, 2015
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North-Central Arkansas
Any entomologists aboard?
This is the base of a white oak with some poison ivy, etc. For days i have been noticing all these bugs swarming noisily around this spot: yellow hornets plus bald-faced hornets, houseflies, horseflies, butterflies, and some smaller flies or something.

I have no idea what's going on there and i'm not about to go poking around. Hornets nest in hollow trees, and there could be a hollow spot in this healthy white oak that has about a 1' diameter trunk. White oaks are very rot-resistant, though, so it seems unlikely. And i have not seen insects actually entering or exiting the tree.
I never thought they had tasty sap. I don't know what the insects are after.

Hornets are also supposed to eat horseflies, but these seem more interested in something else. You can see a horsefly near the top at 0:05. I have seen several more there the last couple days.

Bald-faced hornets (those black-and-white guys) are actually a type of wasp that supposedly preys on houseflies, yet they co-exist with them here.
 

Yvonne G

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Clovis, CA
It looks like the tree is weeping sap in that spot and has attracted many uninvited guests.
 
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