Wow, this is really steep. I’m very high up. Good thing I don’t mind heights. Who’m I kidding, I’m terrified.
I think I will sit a for spell and wait for my hands to stop shaking. Photo op!
Ok, that’s better. Oh look, cliff swallow nests!
Cool! At least the swallows aren’t freaking out at me the way those rough-legged hawks are. Those hawks are MAD. I hope they don’t switch from screaming at me to dive-bombing me. That would be bad.
Hey, what’s that?
Yay! A wasp nest! Exactly why I’m risking my life climbing around on this stupid cliff! They had to be nesting SOMEwhere.
Ok, this is probably close enough. It’s not very big. It’s shaped like an apple, and about the same size as one. I wonder how many wasps could live in there?
It’s been almost 20 minutes. No one’s gone in and no one’s come out. It’s probably empty, right? Like, pretty much definitely for sure no wasps are living in there, right?
I think I’ll poke it with my net handle.
Ha. I knew it. No one home. I’d sure like to take that nest back with me. I wonder if I can dislodge it?
*JABPOKERAM* Boy, it’s really glued on there good.
*swats at emerging wasps with net before hurtling downhill*
Is one in my net? Yep, it’s in there.
Oh crap, there’s more. RUN! DON’T FALL!
I think they’re gone. Well that was not too bright, now was it? Phew.
*inspects net* Well, at least I got a voucher specimen.
Mostly stupid, but a little epic, yes.
I agree with Warren. LMAO!
It’s funny NOW. Not so funny when I was going downhill WAY TOO FAST. 😛
LOL! Somehow your blog name seems very appropriate here. Thanks for sharing your adventures. So, what species is this?
I beleive it’s Dolichovespula norwegica , but what I’ve read makes me wonder if I’ve got an unusual nest here…they’re often subterranian, or on low shrubs; I don’t think they regularly occur 80 feets off the ground…
Where did you read this information? From a book or an internet site? I’d track down the local specimens for D. Norwegica and compare yours with theirs. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see some differences.
There won’t be any “local” specimens here…there are no academic or research institutions anywhere close by. I’ll have to wait until I’m back in the south and to do any formal comparisons. Here’s a link to an article from the Canadian Journal of Arthropod ID: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/bmc_05/86d_norwegica.html
Do you think it’s a different species?
I contacted someone for you with hopes to track down R.D Akre. Who knows? It sounds like you should make this nesting information official in the form of a publication.
I have contact info for you if you really want to track this down and will send you a message to your hotmail.
That’s really a cute little nest. It’s a shame you couldn’t get it as a souvenir.
Steve, I don’t think I learned my lesson because I’m already trying to figure out a way I could go back and get it. Maybe wait for a really cold evening? Bring a plastic bag, cover it and tie it off at the top? Dislodge and put it in my freezer? Whaddaya think?
That might work. I bet if you squished one of those foam ear plugs and let it expand in the entrance hole, you’d have the whole bunch contained. Whatever method you choose, I can tell you from experience with other types of wasp nests that you don’t want to slip in the middle of the procedure.
While I DO have foam earplugs here, the exit/entry hole is just a little too big for that (otherwise nifty) trick to be effective.
When removing (per request of museum maintenance) and deciding to display this find for the public, I found these steps to work for me:
1) wait until the evening
2) use a wad of tissue to plug the entrance
3) have scissors and display case at the ready
4) cut and promptly get case into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Of course, if you want to kill the hive right away, then simply keep them in the freezer and you’ll have more voucher specimens than you know what to do with.
That’s basically my plan now …except “evening” doesn’t count for too much because we have sun all day…I’m going to wait for a cool, dry day (a rarity here it seems…cool = grey skies = rain) and give it a go.
What latitude are you? I’ve been pretty far north during the middle of summer, too. You actually don’t want it to be pitch black, because then you can’t see without use of flashlight (not a good idea for several reasons). I believe most animals have a daily rhythm, so just try to catch them when they’re at their quietest.
I’m at about 67.82N…the darkest it gets this time of year is about the the equivalent of early dusk in the south. Most of the hyms here are at their peak between 11am and 6pm, but as long as the temperatures permit it, they are foraging 24 hours a day.
If you have access to a “bug baffler” shirt, they are actually very effective as protection against stinging insects – I use mine for working beehives. With one of those, you can just put on a pair of leather gloves, and then go right up to the nest and pick it like a fruit, no sweat.
And when you aren’t going after wasp nests, they work great for keeping off the mosquitos and black flies.
Tim, thanks for the idea (and the comment!) I do have a “Bug Shirt” (http://www.bugshirt.com/)here, and I just spent few minutes googling to see if it is effective for use against bees/wasps; the manufacturers haven’t tested it. Not sure that I’m quite willing to take the risk, but as an extra precaution, a great idea!
Ha! Made me laugh. Glad you didn’t hurt yourself.
I’ve run from wasps before after dislodging paper wasp nests from bluebird boxes. Your wasp nest is slightly larger. 😉
Only my dignity was hurt, Amber 🙂 It’s amazing how something so tiny can inspire such incredible bursts of speed. 😛
Most of us wait for winter before going anywhere near those suckers.
Unfortunately, I’ll be 3500 km away during winter, sooo…it’s on my list of things to do this weekend 🙂
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