Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Side of Wasps



Ah yes, wasps can strike instant fear into our hearts. I can remember my first experience of being stung by a wasp and that was many, many moons ago.  So what's this other side???

Like Heidi Van Impe's story about the Bald-faced Hornet, there are many species in the Hymenoptera order that are non-aggressive, some even do not sting!  The long, intimidating "tails" of some wasps are not stingers but egg-laying organs called ovipositors.

Potter Wasps, also known as a Mason Wasps, are solitary and can sting we humans, but this rarely happens as they do not defend their nests.

The females do sting and paralyze caterpillars that they drop into the urns before they deposit a single egg into each container.  The wasp larvae will eat up to 12 caterpillars before it breaks out of it's chamber!

When sketching the pots, I wondered why one was open.  Was it waiting for the female to lay an egg?  Not!  My research tells me that the larvae has matured and left it's home!

By the by, the female Potter Wasp builds the urns all by herself!!  Go girl!