Thursday, May 26, 2011

Busy as a Wasp

The other afternoon after finishing the transplanting of the last of the potted plants, I poured myself a glass of cold white wine, grabbed a novel I was reading, A Gate at the Stairs, and headed out to my little arbor where the red roses were beginning to open over my head.  I felt like the Queen on such an afternoon.  

Before I even opened the book I saw a little bug out of the corner of my eye at the base of the stone edging of the flower bed beneath where I sat.  It was a little black wasp who had just come out of a deep pea sized hole in the ground.   Without sounding too intellectual (clearly a problem I rarely have), I think it was a Sphex pennsylvanica (!).  If you surf the web for digger wasps, you will encounter sites with the words nuisance and control and pest in them.  Don't read those!  These digger wasps live individually, dig a hole to lay their eggs, and then proceed to add some bugs for food and then wall in the nest.  They are beneficial to your garden.  If I had the nature of my son-in-law I would have run screaming back into the house.  Instead Tabor sticks her nose even closer to watch this miracle of life taking place beneath where she sat.  These wasps are not aggressive stingers or defenders of their space and the wasp clearly had no interest in my interest.

It was fascinating to see the industrious dragging and throwing of various sizes of clumps of dirt that were dropped into the hole as the wasp scurried a few inches here and a few inches there busily sorting and accepting or discarding balls of gravel.  The wasp then crawled back into the hole to move the clumps to one side or the other until they were placed perfectly.

We were having the fallen trees removed that day and I got called away to direct traffic on the other side of the lawn.  When I returned, only minutes later, the hole and wasp had disappeared...I had to study the area very closely before I could see the little (very tiny) ridge of wall mud that had been carefully set against the brick on the one side.  The eggs were safely tucked away, and if I am lucky, I may be sitting there on the day they emerge.

There are no photos as I did not have my camera...and yes, I did just see you sigh with relief.

12 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i think it is fascinating to watch animals/bugs do there thing...cool catch on watching the wasp...

Penelopepiscopal said...

How neat! I wish more folks were so attuned to our garden friends. (Also, I liked The Gate at the Stairs very much!)

Leah J. Utas said...

I hope you can get a pic sometime. I'd love to see it.

Tabor said...

Penelopepiscopal...what a name to type...I liked it as well. She has a distinct writing style with lots of similes,puns and cultural references, which some readers found distracting...but not me.

Bossy Betty said...

Having been stung several times by wasps, I can live without a picture of them.

Beautiful pictures though!

Beverly said...

So???? Book not that interesting?????

Celia said...

I'm working on two of my grandgirls' bug phobias by watching the little critters. At least they've given up running off screaming. Never heard of this wasp before. I'm getting an education here.

Maggie said...

Smiling.

slommler said...

That is really fascinating! I had no idea!!
Cool!!
Hugs
SueAnn

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Thank you for some more information. Beautiful image.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What a gorgeous yard/garden--especially to drink a glass of wine and read a good book...

Love your Arbor.... Beautiful!!!!!

Interesting story about the little wasp....

Have a wonderful weekend.
Hugs,
Betsy

Pauline said...

I would have been watching you through the window along with your SIL, but I like reading of your fearless curiosity.