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Thursday, 12 August 2010

Tree Wasps

Wednesday last week was a warm, sunny morning, so I took my first cup of tea and went outside to enjoy. In the rough pasture, not far from the garden gate, is an old decaying log under an Oak tree. It's so soft inside that when you sit on it, it's like a big, comfortable cushion which I've used occasionally to watch the start of the day.

The midges weren't on the warpath so I sat down and relaxed for a moment; but it wasn't long before I was aware that there were rather a lot of wasps gathering and giving me a lot more attention than I would have preferred. They were being fairly nice but persistent, so taking the hint I stood up and moved away. These were Tree Wasps rather than the larger Common Wasp which is probably why they didn't sting me, because I'd unknowingly sat right on top of the entrance to their nest.

Tree Wasps generally hang their nests from the branches of trees and bushes, but also in holes in trees; and it obviously doesn't matter if the tree is standing upright or laying down. It's probably a good thing they weren't Hornets.

Not wishing to miss the opportunity, I returned later in the day to see if I could get some photographs of them moving in and out of the nest and the shot below is one that worked fairly well.

Taking photographs is great at focusing your attention and while I was working, I realised that the wasp on the left, was staying in the entrance and greeting other wasps as they returned. On another occasion, a returning wasp partially entered the crack above the nest and then hovered with it's abdomen curled under it's thorax. It then did ninety degree turns whilst bobbing gently up and down for several seconds before going inside the nest. There seemed to be plenty of communication going on but not being an expert, I can't offer any explanation.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can shed any light on this behaviour.

I'm going to take some more photographs of them when the weather brightens up a bit.
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.