14 March 2013

more on Saxon Wasp

Just to add to IFT's blog on this wasp on 8th, here are some pix of it in Shropshire. The marks on the face are more variable than any other wasp. Here are four different workers leaving the nest:

The nest is made originally by the queen who makes a flask-shaped structure on a roof beam, or similar. This is one nearly complete, in which she lays the first batch of eggs to create workers to make the main nest:

The new paper added is wet and she is working backwards leaving an inch of new paper. Below is a worker doing the same thing later on the main nest:

The dark line of paper can be seen on the edge she is working on. This leads to the formation of the football-sized nest with help from many workers:

They are not an aggressive species and this nest tolerated my passage everyday into the shed without one attack. In this they are similar to hornets, but not to common wasps and tree wasps which attack without provocation.
The paper constructed is brought in from various sources locally and so has a very attractive appearance:
This large nest has many tiers of honey-comb cells stacked within it. No honey, just eggs and then larvae.
This species is a good one to study, while others can be dangerous.


Caroline Gill said...

Fascinating pictures and commentary.

i.f.tew said...

Cheers Gareth, a brilliant addition to the discussion.