Saturday, 20 February 2010

Sleeping Snails

A sunny day like a jewel in a dull, cold winter. For the first time in months I venture out to do some gardening. There are little signs of bug activity. A few 7-spot ladybirds sunbathing; a cloud of winter gnats; a bluebottle which rapidly gets into the house through the back door...I moved an old tile left leaning against a south-facing wall and found a gathering of overwintering snails stuck to the tile and the wall. A few small ones, but mostly of them grown up snails, shell against shell. In this spot they keep relatively warm and dry during the winter. The snail secretes a specially tough mucus to seal its shell opening which can glue it to walls, or other snails.
A dormant snail operculum.
More on Garden Snails at BugBlog:
Darts for love on the strange mating tactics of your garden Snails.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Wasp nest

Wasps nests have been described as 'human head' shape and size and it's not far from the truth. I photographed this old abandoned nest in November, under the eaves of an Edwardian house. I bet that the owners couldn't open the windows in the summer without getting a stream of wasps in! All the wasps from this nest, except the new queens, are now dead. The queens will hibernate and come out in March, where there are often seen sunbathing, to start new nests. Most of the wasps we see in the summer are worker wasps.