Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wasps Will Build Nests

A neighbour lived in a three story home that was over one hundred years old.  One summer he began to complain about the wasps buzzing around his upstairs windows.  He watched for a few days and thought he could see large numbers traveling to and from his attic area and became a little alarmed.  Being elderly, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that he attempted to climb his attic steps and open the ceiling hole; he could not remember ever having done so before.  But anyway, he didn't get very far; with only a corner of the board lifted he could hear a great roar of insects buzzing.

 What to do?  He finally decided to call the fire department and sure enough, the fire fighters did not mind at all coming round to his house to check out his attic for him.  The first fellow climbed the steps with great surety, lifted the latch with confidence, shone his big lantern light into the darkness and then almost fell off the ladder.  He quickly pulled down the latch and after regaining his breath exclaimed there was the biggest blinkety blink wasp's nest he'd ever seen in his life up there.

 They all went away and quickly returned wearing the kind of combat gear seen in movies.  I imagine the most junior of the lot had to enter the attic first and was made to brave the wasps' anger when he blasted the nest with the chemical insecticide that would be sure to deaden them.
 After they all took a turn taking pictures, the men left for the day and returned the next morning.  The nest had to be sliced into sections to remove it from the attic which was a bit of a shame because if it could have been kept whole, would surely have been an artifact worthy of public display.  The fire fighter told our poor neighbour the nest had been about six feet across and and took up the height of the attic which was about four feet high all attached to the wall next to a window and he couldn't even imagine how many wasps had been housed in it. Perhaps they had been building it for years.  Who knew. 

This is a long way round to showing you our wasps' nest just spotted on the far wall of the house.  There has always been a nest there and remnants of two or three can be seen along the eave.  Why they choose that area, we don't know.  It is the side with the least dog or people activity and closest to the woods.  Maybe it is a simple as that.

Admittedly not the excitement-causing size of the nest in my story but a fairly big one just the same.

I tried to get a closer shot, but there were a lot of buzzing wasps around and this is the best I could do.  I was intrigued by the waves of colour varying from white to dark gray in  the nest material. 
Now we are unsure what to do.  With the previous nests, all tiny in comparison, we have just left them alone and knocked them down when the owners departed for the winter.  This one, however, is so large it is hard to ignore.  I find myself drawn to it and have to go take a look and just watch all the busy wasps, a steady stream, coming and going. Imagine the effort it took to turn the minute bits of wood into enough of the papery substance to build this thing.  I'm in awe of that. 
I'll let you know what we decide to do.