A Wasp in Winter

Saw this last week and was really fascinated by the combo of snow and what I suspect is a hornet’s nest.

Where are they now? If it’s a bald-faced hornet nest, nearly all of them are dead. The nests are abandoned in winter, and all the non-reproductive hornets die. A fertilized queen will overwinter in the ground or in a tree cavity, and begin again in the spring in a new location.

(The males all die in the winter, so she has to get knocked up in the late summer/fall before they croak.)

I am coping with copious amounts of snow, so will return tomorrow.

One thought on “A Wasp in Winter

  1. I love looking for these in fall/early winter. You have to get to the early before they disintegrate (or get destroyed by rock-hurling kids). There is an element of danger in finding one in pristine condition – there are probably still live workers inside to get them in that condition. I jostle the branch a bit to see if any come out – if the coast is clear I’ll cut the branch and lower it into a plastic bag that then gets closed and frozen (I’m philosophically opposed to spraying the opening with wasp/hornet spray – I don’t want to get the stuff on me, and it seems a little like cheating).

    Ah, fun stuff!

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