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.
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!
Mary Jo Kuenzer said:
Hi Trudy…this brought back a childhood memory of sorts. Remember when we use to catch bumble-bees on the beautiful flowers from Miss Diggin’s garden along side the wire fence?? Then if I remember correctly, we would “hurt” them and in the process usually got stung!!!! And then we would bury them under the front porch!! Oh my, talk about “strange pastimes”! Take care 🙂
MaryJo, I love hearing from you. You must look at my older posts, I have one on our bumblebee catching and our grand burials 🙂 It is The Art of Catching Bumblebees…it was a day in our life as little girls 🙂 Just look on the way bottom of my blog page! Hugs!
As usual, I loved your photos and your beautiful arrangements–fine art. Gathering wasp nests? Not so much. I am not a brave gatherer of objects that belong to stinging creatures. I admire your enthusiasm.
You are making me laugh:-) I won’t invite you on one of my strange searches! Always love hearing from you and reading your Friday Texas story…again I learn something new. Hugs for you!
Robbin Kesterson said:
Well Trudy, I think you may have gone “round the bend” as we say…Writing about the squirming larvae that you squished with a toothpick gave me the heebee-geebees! That being said, your arrangement with the nest is gorgeous! I think I shall never look at wasp nest the same again. Wondering what strange things we all do that would make people sqirm???
I’m well aware while I’m ‘cleaning’ my nests that I’d be grossing out many people. Hopefully you will continue to love the sweet little old lady I am 🙂 I have a robin for you Robbin! I didn’t kill and stuff it! See you soon.
TL! Leave it to you to come up with a fascinating pass time creating a lovely outcome that many of us would have missed (or avoided) entirely! They really are cool, once safely displayed:) You have such an eye for natural art!
I think most people would avoid the nests….I just love them, birds nests too. Although Rosco ate one last week and up it came…..all over my wonderful quilt! I spotted several nests today while outside and….one is filled with spotted blue eggs! It will need to be moved after the babies hatch, a score for me! Birds and a nest!
I cut the poppy stems that have now dried, which I think are natural and lovely, but I’ll let you keep all the wasp nests. ;o)
Good to see you back on your blog!
Poppy pods are great to save! You’ve just got that natural eye 🙂 Darn, and I was going to send you a grand nest! Your loss Carol! Thank you for reading, it’s good to be writing again.
Dennis Kennedy said:
Very cool. The first blog for me.