Probably the least favourite of our buzzing insects is the wasp. Their distinctive yellow and black banded body and the buzz that accompanies them provoke fear in most people.
An often overlooked aspect of the wasp is their ability to create nests of intricate design. Unlike honey bees, wasps can’t produce wax, so make their nests from wood fibre. I have sometimes been sat near a fence and heard a small grating noise. Once located, the source of the noise is often a wasp chewing away on the wood. They chew bits of wood and mix it with saliva to soften it and use this to build the cells that make their nest.
There are many different types of wasp and each has their own favourite place to nest. Some like to nest in the ground, like this one, in trees, or wall cavities and lofts.
People often ask what the point of wasps is. Well they serve a purpose in food chains, with many creatures feeding on them. Other insects such as dragonflies and hoverflies enjoy a stripy snack. Lots of animals will also have a go, from birds and bats to badgers and mice.
This nest looks like it has been raided by badgers. They like to feed on the wasp larvae that are growing in the individual cells. Badgers are protected by the stings of the adult wasps by their thick fur.
Bye for now,
Rhian (Seasonal Ranger)