The Yellow Jackets

July 11, 2014
Yellow jackets had taken up residence in one of our bird’s nests. Of course, they are not my type of “bees”. Although they are pollinators just the same, having them in our backyard was not a feasible option. Sadly, they built their nest too close to our living space and they had to go.

On Wednesday, we sprayed the nest inside the birdhouse. Today it was time to clean out the birdhouse. Inside was a perfectly beautiful gray papery orb. I used a stick to pry it out. I was fascinated.

Inside the papery coating, not surprisingly, but surprising to me at the time I was able to peek inside their world. Like my honeybees, their comb is incredibly constructed with paper instead of beeswax. In the comb I discovered capped brood (babies) and larvae-still squirming. Some baby wasps were in the process of hatching. They had no food- honey or nectar- as they are carnivores and prefer to dine on small insects even honeybees!

Although, wasps are often confused with honeybees, they have very different personalities. Honeybees are gentle and will not sting unless they or their hive is directly threatened. They only sting once. Wasps on the other hand are the complete opposite. As a very young child I was stung repeatedly and bitten by a few angry wasps. That memory has haunted me to this day. Yet, today, I sat and admired the beauty of their creation here on my table. Somehow, something so terrible suddenly seemed beautiful, at least for a fleeting moment. Mother Nature was speaking to me. I’m glad I listened.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.