Wasps nest
A much different summer to last years thankfully as it was far too hot and dry. 2019 has been about perfect for wasps, following a mild winter with a warm spring that was free from cold snaps this year has seen us being very busy with wasps all summer long.  
We have seen lots of species of wasp this year around Henley on Thames and one of the most commonest sightings have been that of the Saxon wasp. These are a new species that arrived in the UK around 10 years ago from the southern European area, adapted to living in a warm environment this is just another sign that our climate is changing and invasive insect species will be more commonplace and bring with in more challenges to those of us in the pest control industry. 
However at this moment in September we are dealing with our native wasp; the common wasp and these tend to most active later in the year around August and September, even into October should it stay warm. Their habitat is to nest in voids around roofs and behind cladding so we deal with these mainly around domestic homes in the region. 
This nest was in a derelict shed and the owner was happy for us to dismantle part of the building to get right into the heart of the nest. 
In the picture you can see how the wasps build a woodpulp shell with an entrance that leads to the honeycomb structure deep inside, this is where the egg's are laid which hatch into larvae. The white objects in the background are larvae that have now sealed themselves in so that they can pupate and turn into wasps. 
At this time of year the wasps force feed the larvae and the extra energy allows them to form into Queen wasps so that they can begin the cycle again. 
Wasps have a honeycomb cell that sits on a horizontal plane and the larvae cling on with little hook like appendages, honey bee's will build theirs in the vertical plane so that they can fill the cells with honey sealing it up as they fill the cell. 
At this time of year fewer larvae are left in the nest meaning that the hundreds or even thousands of wasps are becoming hungrier and hungrier. 
Wasp leaving its nest
Although insectivores the drone wasps are not equipped to eat the insects that they catch; they have a set of sharp mandibles for shearing the insects up and removing parts like wings that contain little in the way of food. Wasps are a bit like flies in that they have a sucker and can only eat sweet sticky substances - one of these if produced by the larvae, so with fewer wasp larvae and peak numbers of drones at this time of year they are starving. 
You will often see wasps sitting on fallen fruit as they will be sucking up the juices, soon they will run out of food completely or we will have a cold snap and they will die off - their job complete. The Queen wasps would have mated and now they will find somewhere warm and dry and settles down to hibernate emerging next year in the Spring to start the process of again. 
Tagged as: Bee's and wasps
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