Surrey365; Day 43. What is this wasp doing in my bee house??

In summer 2015, we built a wildlife stack out of pallets, with a double hedgehog house at the bottom and lots of spaces for various insects. I have spent many happy hours since then watching the many insects that it attracts, from mason and leafcutter bees to the tiny, jewel-like wasps which parasitise their nests. This spring, though, I’ve noticed a number of new visitors, and I’m a little trepidatious, to be honest. There have been a number of large wasps, which I’m pretty sure are queens of our common wasp, Vespula vulgaris, going into the largest diameter bamboo canes. They stay in there for ages (upwards of twenty minutes, sometimes), eventually emerging to fly off. What on earth are they doing in there? The only thing I can think of is that they’re stripping the plant material from the inside of the bamboo cane, to use for building their nests. I hope the nests aren’t too nearby, I must admit. I am very slowly overcoming my lifelong phobia of wasps, and can now share the garden with them quite happily as long as they don’t land on me. There are LOADS around this year so far; during the warm spell a few weeks ago, the garden was full of them, and as long as they’re just going about their business, I don’t mind them at all. A nest in the garden/house would be a step too far for me, though, I think, so I really hope that’s not what’s happening. 😦

Anyway, here is a video of the queen doing her thang. And a picture of the wildlife stack and a couple of the less scary visitors to it. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Surrey365; Day 43. What is this wasp doing in my bee house??

  1. Terrific stack! We had a wasp in our rather more modest wall-hung box in Dorset a couple of weeks ago. In headfirst, still, & apparently doing nothing at all. I thought it was stuck, but 1/2 an hour later it had gone. I like your nesting material theory.

    • It’s odd, isn’t it! She could be using it for shelter, I guess, but on a coupe of occasions she was definitely up to something in there, as I could hear her buzzing. She’s quite a magnificent beastie, in a scary sort of way. I hope she finds what she’s looking for, and carries it very far away from my garden! 😄

  2. It is always very difficult to know what the insects are up to. I get little flies attracted around my bee houses. Do you think the wasp might be finding mites/flies/other goodies in the canes? Like that she would be doing “cleaning” duties. Amelia

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