Dave Cheetham (April)
I took this snap of a queen wasp beginning the construction of her nest in our canoe store recently.
Wasps construct their nests by chewing up wood to create these delicate, complex and quite beautiful paper structures.
The queen is the only wasp in the colony (often of up to 10,000 wasps) who can lay eggs. You can clearly see in the photograph she has laid the first three eggs in the nest. These will develop into sterile worker wasps (all females) who will help build the nest. The queen can then concentrate on laying more eggs while the Ã¢Â.Â.working girlsÃ¢Â.Â. bring in food and expand the nest.
Towards the end of the summer some eggs develop into fertile males (drones) and fertile females (next yearÃ¢Â.Â.s queens). These leave the colony to mate. Shortly after the males die and the females hibernate. As the weather becomes colder the worker wasps and the queen wasp also die.
The following spring the females emerge and begin building their individual nestsÃ¢Â.Â¦Ã¢Â.Â¦Ã¢Â.Â¦..which is where we came in.