Saturday, 11 September 2010

Goodbye Unwelcome Visitors

In a previous post earlier this year I mentioned that we had spotted wasps building a nest on our little blue garden house...well that was early June. Sometime around the end of July I noticed less activity around the nest and on closer (and careful) inspection I saw a number of dead wasps under the entrance to the nest. 

We watched the nest throughout August and came to the conclusion that the nest was no longer in use.  But just in case we left it in place and continued to give it a wide berth, until last week when we noticed that the nest was beginning to fall apart.

Beginning to decay

So today was the day to dislodge the nest and inspect the inside.  A wasps' nest is not an attractive structure from the outside, but quite fascinating inside.
2 parts to the nest
Subtle colours on the nest shell

Wasp honeycomb and eggs
The nest was amazingly light in weight, the nest formed in two parts: the shell of the nest resembling thin, paper like bandages in soft grey, white and lilac, added in layers and the honeycomb centre filled with eggs, some of which were cracked open, others with a baby wasp partly formed and more complete eggs - amazing!

The question outstanding is: what happened to the wasps that they died or abandoned the nest?  If there are any entomologists out there it would be great to hear an explanation of what might have happened to the colony.


mangocheeks said...

How amazing.

Joanna said...

Wasps eat wood don't they which they use to form these enormous nests. You were so lucky that you didn't have to deal with live ones. For some reason I have had them twice in wall mounted boilers in homes I have lived in and in loft spaces too. Great photos!