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Common Wasp Andy

Common Wasp Nest.

Location: Eastleigh, Hampshire.

This paper wasp nest was created in the middle of a hedge in a back garden and was left alone through the summer, as the nest was going to be saved for a school during the winter. I hope a queen did not hibernate inside the nest as only the mated queens hibernate after the wasps die. The nests are usually created in a shed, garage, outbuilding, or even an animal burrow. I have filmed a queen wasp building a nest in my shed, but this was the first time I have seen a nest out in the open and was an opportunity for some interesting pictures. The nest is created from chewing wood from trees and garden fences, mixed with wasp saliva to produce a pulp, which is then added in thin swirly strips around the nest.

Children chased by angry wasps.
I can remember a story about wasps from my early childhood it was well known by children that along the side of a wooded path leading into a local woods, that wasps build their nests in the clay banks. Gangs of naughty children would often chuck stones and rocks at and around the nest entrances just to see the wasp come out. Well on one occasion I was with a few friends and we decided to annoy the wasps I would like to think I was only watching. There were always plenty of stone and rocks around the nest entrances from kids chucking stones. The wasp entrance was already larger than it should have been from older youths sticking large sticks and long branches into the hole. I think the wasps had enough as after a few throws a large swarm of very angry wasps flew out and were attacking us. We had never seen so many before, this was payback time. We ran along the wooded path waving our arms and screaming as we were all being stung. We stopped at the pavement outside the woods thinking we were safe when we realised we still being attacked we ran up the road. It was not till we got home that we realised the smallest lad at the back who could not run as fast, my friends younger brother had been stung quite bad especially around the face, lips and neck. At first, we thought it was very amusing commenting over his swollen face as his features had changed so much. But later he became quite ill and spent the rest of the day in bed. It was the wasps that had the last laugh and we learnt our lesson, my gang of friends never ever bothered the wasps again..

Wasp NestCNS2 450w

Inside a Common Wasp Nest.

Wasp NestCNS1 450w

Plustek 7300 35mm Colour Negative Film scan.

Pictures above show the inside of a wasp nest, found from inside my fathers-in-law shed and later destroyed. If he could have tolerated the nest they would have helped him as a wasp is a natural pest control eating caterpillars and other insects in his garden that eat his precious Chrysanthemum flowers, although a finished nest can contain as many as 5,000-10,00 individuals, so I did not blame him. You can clearly see the left picture the unfortunate worker larvae waiting to be fed, the chewed bodies of captured insects. The white sealed cells are cocoons spun by a full grown grub which will pupate and metamorphose into an adult wasp.