Nature's Place

Little Lady Wasp

These stalks of reedy grass are often home to some or other creature. These homes have the advantage of being well off the ground away from obvious dangers but the disadvantage of being relatively easily seen by the small birds and dragonfly’s that feed in these places. And a dragonfly is not to be taken lightly if you are a small flying insect.

First it was that turquoise and black fellow with the long nose, then the spider. Today I saw a small black and yellow striped wasp guarding its nest, less than an inch long. I could tell it was guarding its nest because when I tried to get close enough to take a photo it became restless, moving around in short jerky spurts of activity. But I persisted, gently, without getting too close so as to pose no immediate danger to the little lady or her nest. (RIMG0844 + 927.JPG)

I determined that by watching her closely, and reading her language, the way she moves or positions herself, any attitude or posture she might adopt, or noise she makes. It all communicates something, which doesn’t always lend itself to words. I never felt menaced by her, just warned.

The nest was attached low down on the underside of a seed cluster and it was a masterpiece of building. It was grey in colour, a little bigger than the seed cluster it was hanging from and with a similar, roughly diamond, shape. It looks like a cluster of chambers she probably built and laid her young in as she went. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has placed something at the centre of the nest cluster for its young to eat as they mature enough. That would make sense. That’s what nature does, it makes sense.

I have to admire the simple intelligence of this creature. Apparently alone, it found a spot to reproduce itself and built a protective structure to house its young while they come to life. Then standing guard, first with the warning of its – ‘I’m dangerous’ – yellow stripe, then if you get past this sense of danger and approach closer she moves around to show a fearlessness in spite of her tiny size. And the rest of nature knows she probably has a magnificent sting, so keep your distance or else!

I have noticed the seed clusters of the reed peel from the top down, one seed at a time, and the cluster she has attached her nest to hasn’t started peeling yet. I wonder if she has enough time for all her young to mature enough before the seed cluster peels down to where the nest is attached and it falls to the ground. I might get to see for myself, if I’m lucky.

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