09 August 2010

Chair/pantry for wasp babies

I was sitting on my front porch when I noticed a little wasp hoving about in an annoyed manner. I got up, and she quickly landed on my chair and started poking around in the little decorative holes drilled in the wood.
 What is she up to?
 Oh, just shoving a live, but paralyzed, catepillar into one of the holes.
 All finished now -- she flies off. Probably to get another catepillar. When the hole if full, she cap it with mud, as you can see she's already done with several of the other holes in the chair.

Before she caps them, though, she'll lay some eggs. They'll hatch into little baby wasps, which will munch happily on the still living, but paralyzed caterpillars -- they carefully eat the vital organs last, so the catepillars don't die and start rotting.

Kind of gruesome, but mostly cool... besides, I think those caterpillars had been munching on my roses, so they deserve to be eaten alive by wasp larvae.

10 comments:

Diana said...

Looks like you need to find another place to sit! How fun!

Liz said...

Do you leave the chair for the wasps, or get rid of them? I'd leave it...but some people hate wasps.

danger garden said...

Oh my. Ain't nature grand!?

Greensparrow said...

Liz, (and Diana) of course I leave the chair for the wasps! They're too adorable. Lately I've been sitting on the floor, next to the chairs, so I can see the arrival of the latest paralyzed caterpillar.

Bluestem said...

I am still waiting for bees to use my mason bee house. I should get a chair.

Commonweeder said...

Obviously claws are not necessary for nature to red in tooth and claw. Won't people have to watch where they sit when the wasps start hatching? Happy happy blogoversary!

Greensparrow said...

Bluestem,
I know, right? I'm thinking of just drilling holes in some boards next year. Now I know what size holes they like!
Commonweeder,
Of course they'll have to watch where they sit. But I only invite people to my garden who are willing to sacrifice their personal comfort for that of baby wasps.

Mary C. said...

So what size are the holes then? That is amazing and great! I think I'll add a horizontal board of wood w/holes to the garden for them!

Greensparrow said...

Mary, I think they are ~1/4 of an inch in diameter, and the board is about half an inch thick. I'm going to drill a bunch of boards next year -- so I can enjoy my wasps, and my chair too!

Dan said...

Urban bees/wasps/yellowjackets never cease to amaze me. So adaptable!