Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beautiful Paper Wasp Nests

Every year we find a paper wasp nest somewhere on our property.  Not the wasps I wrote about in August.

These paper wasps like to build a nest under something.  Sometimes they are called umbrella wasps.  One of the first years we were here, they built a nest under a metal squirrel guard  It was a beautiful sight to watch it develop, as long as we kept our distance.

This is in the middle of the summer.

A few weeks later they had covered the whole top and were working down the pole.

Sometime they try to build under the deck or the house overhang.  We take them down before they get too big.  We don't want something like this forming any place close to where we sit outside.

Then a couple years ago in the fall, we needed to cut firewood and trim branches.  Our son in law spotted a large paper wasp nest up in a pine tree.  We had frost by that time so it was safe to take down the nest.  Paper wasp males and unmated females die when weather gets cold.  The queen hibernates somewhere until spring and then starts a new nest.  It is so interesting to see how they secure the nest around the tree branches.

Thinking about these past nests brings me to today.  I was walking out to the edge of our property where we have our compost pile.  My grandson told me there was a bee nest out there, but I really didn't pay much attention.  I just told him to stay away.  I should have listened to my own advice.  I had to check it out.  It was so amazing and perfect.  We had removed the birdfeeder from this spot but left the squirrel guard.  It was a great spot for the paper wasps to build a nest.

I was admiring how this nest was constructed and how beautiful it was.  I guess I got too close.  These wasps aren't aggressive unless they are bothered.  They defend each other and their nest with a vengeance.  Boom!  They got me on my camera trigger finger.  I dropped the camera but got a shot.  It's out of focus but you can see how many wasps came out of the hole in seconds.

I'm just lucky I didn't get stung more.  I will be leaving them alone, that's for sure.

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