Opening the hive yesterday I found an intruder. Another type of social insect – a wasp.
I actually like wasps, they’re as fascinating as bees, early in the year they do a great job hunting and consuming insect pests. Like bees they also build huge communal nests but rather than using wax, they collect and chew plant fibres to build their homes out paper.
I do wonder if I could find a market amongst hipsters for genuine organic wasp paper, maybe I could print my honey labels on it and charge an extra fiver.
I needn’t worry about one or two – the ladies dealt with the situation admirably diving in stingers drawn and eventually hauling off the body ( I just stood there camera in hand like the worst of the paparazzi)
The problem comes when one of these little buggers gets back to the nest and tells its mates.
I can’t stop wasps arriving ( short of finding the nest and killing them all which would be against my principles ) using a trap might get some of my gentle harmless bees ( sting count 38, tip of thumb ) but if I put a block in the entrance I can make the place a little easier for them to defend.
Incidentally did you know it’s not just bees that can make honey? At least one species of wasp does too. If anyone’s reading this in Mexico, I’d love to try some, can you send me a jar? Wrapped in organic paper of course.