We are able at last to have on our central heating on. Though to be fair it has only really been cold enough in County Mayo to warrant having it on this last week or so. The reason we were unable to have heating was because we had a wasp nest in our boiler house. While it was inconvenient and at times quite frightening especially when the wasps were at such numbers flying busily in and out I was very reluctant to destroy the nest. Wasps are important controllers of pest insects of forestry, agriculture and gardens.
The Queen wasp first started to build the nest just above the doorway which we did not notice until it was the size of a large football. so we just closed the door, walked away and hoped for the best.
The Queen rears the first brood of worker wasps herself and upon hatching these workers will carry on building the nest. The queen will remain in the nest laying more broods and the more workers there are the quicker the nest will grow. Wasp nests vary in size from hundreds to thousands of workers.
At some stage the nest got to heavy and it came down, luckily for the colony it fell on too and old blanket which saved it from breaking apart. At that stage we didn’t know that it had fell down as we did not dare go near the boiler house at any stage to look in, we just thought that now that two nests were developing as the wasps were going in and out, at the sides and bottom as well as the top of the door as before.
During the late summer the eggs laid by the queen will produce fertile females these will mate and will be the only wasps that hibernate over the winter and will be next year’s Queens.
This is the boiler house door where you can see where the wasps have stripped the wood which the pulp for nest construction.
The nest is paper-like with beautiful swirling shapes and colours.
With the onset of cold weather this year’s Queen and all the workers will die. The nest will disintegrate itself overtime, as it is not used again.
Deep within the nest just a few stranglers who were quite dead by this afternoon.
Clean up time and central heating this evening.
Bonnie checking the remains. The wasp nest is dead and winter is here.