Summer of Wasps 1

Wasps Love Sweet Treats!

 

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Wasps in the adult stage can’t digest solid food. They feast on sugary liquids. This lovely European Paper Wasp female worker has just arrived at one of my wasp feeders, and is enjoying a mix of fermented apple soaking in flat (non-bubbly) ginger ale. She’ll take much of the liquid back to the nest to feed other workers and drones. She may give some of the solid food to the larvae, if there are any left, who convert it into sweet liquid and feed it back to the wasp(s). I took this photo series in August so most of the larvae have already cocooned and hatched. Some met a dastardly end — but that’s another story.

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She moves in a bit, her black jaws or mandibles clearly visible as she scrapes and nibbles the apple. If annoyed she can nip ferociously at intruding insects but makes no attempt to sting. Similarly I’ve seen the ladies take out their temper on the wasp drones, who crouch down submissively even though they’re larger than the females. I have never seen the drones nip or act aggressively toward the females.

This little beauty is from another nest, not the one I’m usually photographing / filming … she’s well aware of me but shows no alarm as I adjust camera position. I move slowly and speak to her quietly. Paper wasps have strong face recognition skills which helps them distinguish the harmful from the harmless.

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Now a yellowjacket wasp joins the feast. No problem – there’s enough for all. The yellow jacket, in foreground, is easily distinguished from the European paper wasp – most obviously she has black antennae while the European has orange antennae. The antennae are multi-purpose tools which can be used to identify other wasps, explore environmental elements and read the information they impart by feel. I’ve also seen the wasps use their antennae as “hands” to shape and pat individual cells while building the nest.

Yellowjackets tend to fly like little buzzing bullets, zipping around with legs tucked in. They love teasing the Europeans by dive-bombing the nest. The European paper wasps have an elegant manner of flight, rising more slowly and flying with hind legs dangling. These insects most commonly resemble “faeries” because in flight they look exactly like little people with wings, as sunshine creates a golden glow around them.

 

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Author: M Sylvia Chaume

Hi! I'm Canadian artist Sylvia, coming to you from the wintery northern climes of Gatineau (Hull) Canada! I'm still populating my blog in bits and pieces, not to mention figuring out things that should be easy, but aren't and take that much extra time ... so hang out and enjoy! Please also visit my visual arts home decor store for gifts, original art, novelties and dynamic nature themes at www.zazzle.com/m_sylvia_chaume* . Thank you and many happy blessings! https://www.zazzle.com/m_sylvia_chaume . As a person with a multitude of interests and a great love of art, I work in photography, video, and other visual arts; music and songwriting, theater, mixed media, content writing, text art, rock art and sculpture. I'm a big fan of black and white art. My hobbies include geology and wildlife biology. I have two cats: Rajah, an old deaf fellow with arthritis, and Traveler, a young tom whose mom was my rescue cat! He was one of a litter of four. We found homes for everyone else but Traveler, despite his name, decided to stay with me. Ok, then. Last summer I documented a nest of European Paper Wasps right outside my back door and look forward to showing you some amazing video clips of these elegant intelligent insects. I also created several "swamps-in-a-jar" and have some footage of the mystic and fascinating creepy critters that may be found in your drains, pipes and standing water. I love the artwork of Nature as well as art that pushes limits and challenges the senses; Pop Art, photo art, any kind of collage, classic and contemporary kitsch; black and white, monochrome. My environment is my favorite subject matter - local scenes, urban streets, small town quirks, seasonal happenings, natural textures, gardens, flowers, animals, the nice and not so nice - what is real - souvenir photos and other original art gifts and products you can get at my spiffy online store: https://www.zazzle.com/m_sylvia_chaume. Subject matter covers a broad range including micro and macro, gardens and flowers, nature, natural beauty and the power of the elements; critters of many kinds; coffee; comedy, entertainment; social observations; documentation; tourist hot spots in this area, practical info, funny stuff and irreverent rantings; to whit - fun and good cheer! I'm a hockey fan and love a good game, but would rather watch it than play it. Favorite music includes blues, swing, punk, classic rock, classical music. I play some guitar and A professional writer, I've written original articles and website content, plays, poetry, fiction and non, musical theatre, songs, haiku, and some very non-Zen personal expressions about whatever nags my obsessive little mind. I adore and appreciate my readers, and welcome all feedback. Here you will find tips, details and lots of information about artistic expression, photo techniques, writing, social commentary, historical and modern architecture, music, cats, other animals great and small; the magic of serendipity; dreams, happiness, love and relationships; medicinal and wild edible plants; philosophy, motivational quotes and amusing anecdotes. Having spent the summer documenting a nest of European paper wasps through photo and video you can be sure I'll be sharing what I've learned, as well as advice about not getting stung! So, topics tend to be eclectic. I sincerely hope you'll join me here. Happy blessings one and all!

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