Pollinator pix

Earlier this summer, a colony of paper wasps took up residence in a corner of our porch between the front door and the bay window. We probably wouldn’t have noticed them if one of them hadn’t bumped into Ron as he was on his way into the house.

I’ve had less-than-pleasant encounters with wasps, but this one was so docile and so nonchalant about the inadvertent collision that we decided to relocate the nest rather than destroying it.

I did a little research and learned that you can’t relocate a wasps’ nest. If you take it down, the babies die.

I didn’t really want to kill pollinators — especially polite, docile pollinators — so I made a deal with them: If you don’t sting me, I won’t destroy your house and murder your children. Seemed fair enough.

The wasps have kept up their end of the bargain all summer. They’ve also done a fine job of discouraging door-to-door salesmen, which is especially nice in light of the fact that there have been some instances of “salesmen” casing houses and then coming back to burglarize them later.

We basically have a dozen small ninjas guarding our door. They just hang out and raise their babies and keep an eye on the front yard. We’ve grown rather fond of them.

Photos below the fold.

Based on their coloring, I think these are Polistes annularis. Some of them have dark faces, and some of them have yellow markings on their faces that make them look very inquisitive.

I discovered a second colony of Polistes — possibly P. fuscatus — hanging from the eave near my office window yesterday. So far, they’ve displayed the same docile temperament as their neighbors a few feet to the west.

We are, of course, suckers for pollinators around here. I rendered some beeswax yesterday and left the containers out so the girls could reclaim the honey. In the picture above, you can see one of the wasps working alongside the bees. I wanted a better photo, but a couple of the bees were pretty adamant that I should move along before I wore out my welcome.

Sometimes it blows my mind that the girl who shrieked in terror at the sight of a sweatbee as a child is now happily sharing her lawn with thousands of stinging insects. (And spiders. A fuzzy black spider lives on the dreamcatcher on my front door. Seems appropriate.)


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