Monday, May 17, 2010

Wasp and Garden Bench Mystery

I'm happy to say that I did finally manage to pack, and enjoyed a wonderful 7 night Alaska cruise with my husband.  Since we arrived back yesterday, I have pretty much caught up on laundry, planted in some more tomato and sunflower plants which my Mom brought for me (which she graciously has tended from seed for me on her windowsill), caught up on a good amount of weeding (wow, I had a lot of horsetails, many of them over 1 foot long!), watering the fruit trees, and made it through my 700+ emails.  So I think I'm in pretty good shape heading into a new week.

Before I left, I just had to solve the mystery of the wasps and their fascination with our wooden bench on the back patio.  I had noticed them for several days, visiting the bench.  I had looked underneath, and couldn't see any sign of a nest forming, so last Saturday, I spent some time watching them flying back and forth, and then on closer examination I realized what they were up to: they were stripping wood from the bench as building materials for their papery nest. I don't know if it shows up in the closeup, but there are tiny lines of brighter wood where the wasps had done their stripping.

We have 2 wooden benches on our patio, and as you see in the photo, the one which was under the protection of the balcony overhead, is still in good shape.  But the one which has survived the year in the sun and rain and even some snow, is quite bleached and weathered.  So the wasps decided that this was a good source of neglected wood for them.

I watched them, and at least they seemed to be flying off to a distant location, but I decided to whack a couple just in case, and left the dead ones there as a warning to the remainder of the hive.  I wouldn't mind to spare some wood, but as the weather gets better, we plan to do more sitting on those benches, and having wasps buzzing back and forth is not conducive to relaxation.

Today, which was a beautiful sunny day, I didn't see any sign of more wasps.  I will ask my son if he whacked any more during the week while I was away.  Or perhaps the couple which I left there served as a strong enough warning that they had better find a more neglected source of wood.


Sharlene said...

if they come back try hanging up a paper bag. Wasps confuse it with an established nest and avoid the area.

Garden Lily said...

Sharlene - Yes, I've heard that, but haven't needed to try yet. The wasps seemed to heed my earlier warning, and perhaps have found building materials in a friendlier location.

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