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There are some things I just can’t pass up, I’ll list a few.  I love birds nests (after abandoned), big papery bees or hornets  nests, can’t beat them for the top of your Christmas tree, I also like seed pods, dried (like lemons), they shrink into interesting shapes and I can use them in any number of ‘arrangements’.  One thing I become quite intense in acquiring are wasps nests.  Like many of the other things I like to collect and tend to pop up around my house, wasps nests are front and center, the larger the better.

I had great luck this week.  My granddaughter Riley Ann noticed one of the empty (shame on me) bird feeders had large red wasps busy inside, thankfully she was inside the house looking out!  I generally don’t randomly kill ‘things’ that live in our yard, unless they do pose a threat to people our my pets.  Wasps are number one on that list!  Wasps have bitten me (ouch)  it hurts and they tend to swarm once disturbed. 


Of course what other product would one use to ‘off’ wasps other thanBlack Flag Off wasp spray? I didn’t have a full container, sprayed what was left  and brought the feeder to a place away from people until I could spray it again the next day.   My intention was to buy another container the next day and finish the job right. 

The next morning all the wasps had died!  My small amount of spray had worked (calling to my attention how toxic these products are).  I could now easily see the nest it’s self!  It is one of the biggest ones I’ve found.  I had a few problems to overcome before I could acquire my prize nest. The nest was beautifully constructed around the center post of the bird feeder and there wasn’t a way I could reach it even with the feeder opened.  A hammer comes in handy right about now.  I was on a mission!  This nest would have a perfectly round hole in the center, if, I could get it out without damaging it.  I took all my aggressions of the past months, maybe years out on smashing the bird feeder to bits!  It worked,  now all I had to do was find a way to slip it off the post!  Hooray!

Once I had  the nest in hand I brought it in to show my prize to Hal, he isn’t impressed by these things but does humor me and did notice it was rather a large one and that the wasps (now dead) were very large, red and fierce-looking.  I don’t know the variety, it doesn’t matter to me as long as they aren’t any longer a threat.  Always be wary!

The next part of wasp nest collecting isn’t something everyone may enjoy doing. The cell of the nest where each larva is growing  is covered by a tissue like substance that needs removing, really a work of art considering a wasp made it.  I use a tooth pick or a thin skewer to remove the remains.  Is anyone grossed out yet?  I knew while I was doing this that photographing what I was doing would be helpful and I could write a blog,  but was to engrossed in what I was doing.  I usually do this in the house, relax, prod away until I get them fully cleaned out.  This day I decided sitting in the sun room would be just the spot! 

As I started to open each cell, to my GREAT surprise out came a fully formed angry and very much alive wasp!  OH NO!  I then noticed there were several wasps that were not dead (lack of spray) and ready to come out and greet me.  First up was to get the living wasps out of the house and I had interested cats a dog and a husband telling me that what I was doing was disgusting anyway:-)  The wasps and I got outside and I managed to go to work on the nest after ridding myself of all living red, large wasps! 

This cleaning process does make a mess. On my paper towels was a mounting supply of larva, some wiggling, some mashed by my toothpick.  All were in varying forms of turning into big red wasps.  It did occur to me while I was performing my wasp nest surgery I might  be a bit bizarre, that not many people would enjoy this obviously anal and rather gross process.  That however did not stop me, (never has)  my enjoyment of cleaning these nests is greater than my shame of making a big gooey mess of what were going to grow up living….but nasty creatures.

Red Paper Wasp (Polistes carolina) at St. Mary...

Red Paper Wasp (Polistes carolina) at St. Mary’s Colony, Texas (Picture A Day February 27, 2010) (Photo credit: mlhradio)

Well, sometimes breaks just happen!  Just this minute I’ve acquired a NEW nest!  It’s pretty big, doesn’t have a hole in the center, most of its larva have flown the nest!  Our pest removal guy, was looking for and found more wasps (I had no idea he was doing that) so I captured him and he saved one for me!  Bigger then the one I just found but no interesting hole in the middle.  I’ve got a little cleaning to do today, looking forward to that.  I must take a photo so ‘you’ my readers can see what a nest looks like before I clean it, although the new one won’t need much ‘work’ 🙂

I did get a little lesson on wasps, we rarely have ‘yellow jackets’ here, we have the red wasps and the paper wasps, the nest today is a paper wasp‘s.  Bless her/his sweet little heart!  And now I have someone who will get the nests for me that are high up!  Life is so entertaining 🙂  Always take time to enjoy the small things which often have no cost, pretty inexpensive entertainment today, and I learned a few things.  All and all a good day!