After the frost we’ve had a warm spell, and the bees are going so hard. It’s their last charge to get their stores in. I feel bad now taking their honey, but they have more than enough, at least the big hives Pansy and Violet do.The other pollinators in the giant wasp nest have made their home bigger than ever. I’m terrified of them, although they’ve only stung me once, for banging on the wall, and I am looking forward to a long wasp-free future.
I really wish I’d been taking a picture every day of this wasp nest. It would be an amazing timelapse. They build at least a layer on it every day. Their increasing wasp-power makes an accelerating build speed possible.
This is the right corner of my wood shed. And I think this is great, because after this year, I’m not going to have to worry about any wasps in the vicinity (they’ll probably build on the soffit of the house next year). Last year’s multiple small nests IN the utility room have blessedly deterred any wasps from living in there this year, and will as long as the paper nests last.
I wonder where they’re getting all the paper. I see them flying out in one direction- constant traffic like the regular flight lines of honey bees shooting out of the hive – to the woods. I imagine they’re chewing apart a dead tree.
They build their nest by adding layers to the outside. It all starts with one queen who dangles 3+ egg cells on a stem, and then they wrap that starter home in the familiar little paper cone, and build on top of that layer by layer, with a quarter inch gap. I’d like to know how they design the architecture inside that, if there are long spiral corridors, or they chew through the old walls to make access passages. There remains one entrance.
They don’t bother me (yet). I’m simultaneously totally afraid of them and not afraid of them, as they don’t hurt me (have rarely stung me, ever, over the years – they target my husband without hesitation or provocation though). We co-exist. There’s no eradicating paper wasps from the woods here, so there’s no option but to coexist, although there’s enough wasps in that nest to bring down a horse. They will be gone by winter, and the house they leave behind will give me a few years of wasp-free woodshed.
I unload one wheelbarrow of wood into the shed at a time, hastily!, and I can monitor them boiling out their door and blackening the outside of their house, agitated by me shaking the shed throwing wood in. Then one or two thump me on the head in warning, just like my bees do. I wear a hood, and I limit myself to one wheelbarrow load at a time, and everyone’s happy.