Saturday 15 February 2014

First queen wasp

The first queen wasp of the year got herself trapped in the conservatory. She was cold and calm, so I decided to give her a session with the white bowl. I held her in a tissue and placed her onto the bowl and she posed nicely. After a few photos, with me breathing onto her, she warmed up, started grooming her antennae and flew onto the window, and I let her go.
 The only overwintering stage of social wasps are queens. Males died at the end of the autumn after mating, and the workers a bit earlier. Their large paper nests are now empty, as the life cycle of social wasps lasts for less than one year. Queens overwinter in buildings or other dry places, but the strong wind and mild temperatures have probably helped stir this one out of her hiding place.
 The 'anchor mark' on her face identifies her as a common wasp, Vespula vulgaris.
Side view showing how hairy she is.

And a little grooming of antennae before flying off.

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