the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yum, Wasps!

A few weeks ago a large hole appeared near my garden one morning.  I checked it out, wondering if the groundhogs were expanding their territory, but found this instead:
That's what's left of a yellow jacket nest.  The combs were empty of larvae, and a couple confused wasps crawled and buzzed around the nest.  Whatever snacked on the larvae must have done it hours before, because the rest of the hive had evacuated.  For all the years I've seen yellow jackets crawling into the ground, I've never seen a nest dug up.  I had to check this out.

To the Google!  (This is where I get all tingly!  I love research!)

It turns out the larvae are a favorite snack of raccoons and skunks, both of which are plentiful around here.  So maybe someone had a nice meal.  Or maybe they got there too late, after the larvae had hatched.  Either way, the nest was doomed.  At the end of summer the old queen dies and the new queens fly off to mate and ride out the winter until they can begin a new nest in spring.  There were probably thousands of wasps in there.  Fascinating!  But I'm glad I didn't know that this summer when I was picking rhubarb a foot away from that hole.

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