Sunday, 13 April 2008

Common Wasps

While sitting watching the television, quite late last night, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a movement on my arm. There had bee a huge house spider patrolling arouh dthe previous evening and so thinking it to be a spider, I flicked my arm as a reflex.

I was quite surprised to see the movement had been a rather sluggish queen wasp. The wasp landed on the arm of the chair and proceded to climb my coffee cup. The cup probably smelt quite sweet and the wasp climbed up the side and into the cup. I carefully carried the cup and left it in the garden. This morning the wasp was on the wall warming itself up in the sunlight.

Like the starling, wasps also get bad press. Most people are unaware that the wasp spend a lot of time feeding its young on invertebrates including many that we consider to be garden pests. The worker wasps are rewarded with a sugary liquid and an incentive to bring more food (the adults cannot eat this food). Its only in the Autumn when there are no larvae left to feed that the wasps turn up in our kitchens, baker shops etc. The workers can of course feed on nectar and also windfall fruit in the Autumn.

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