[Tweeters] Hummer and Wasp

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Aug 23 13:24:41 PDT 2014

Well, a long dry spring and summer is good for wasps - this year sure has been. At least for some of them.
Back on a warm sunny April 8th here in Port Townsend, I was waxing enthusiastic in a post about watching numbers of the long-legged Solitary Paper Wasps, as they danced through the air, on their way to the many nests they had up in the south eaves of my parents house.
Lamenting my fathers penchant for spraying poison on things he don't like in his yard - bugs and weeds - I came across as a real "mister ecology" in my post, even bragging that I had achieved a "higher moral ground in the Respect for Nature Department" than dear ol' dad.
Alas, lacking the Western Tanagers like Rob Sandelin had to nip this problem in the bud, I had to commit insecticide on all those interesting bugs. Thats because I'm painting my parents house this summer, including under the eaves, and while the Solitary Paper Wasp is pretty benign (for a wasp), removing their many nests, with wasps in attendance, surely would be painful - for me that is. I guess that's sort of self-centered.
Anyhoo, wanting to avoid hosing the things with toxic chemicals, I used an organic method - hosing the nest down with water at night, and returning at early dawn the next morning to manually squish the bugs with a putty knife as they sat dejected on their soggy nests. It took a few days.
Of course being environmentally correct was no consolation to the wasps - being dead and all. I guess it's a cover-up of leaking morals to point out that death is perfectly natural - hey if nothing ever died billions of decomposers would be unemployed! Not having a 'frosty-freeze' guy like Barb Deihl hired for her wasp problem, I swept the carcasses off the deck onto the ground for somebody, anybody, to eat. Good organic food.
Well, the eaves got painted, and are largely un-recolonized, but there are many Solitary Paper Wasps around the yard anyway, nesting somewhere. I read that in late summer when the young wasps are all fed, the adults go on a big sugar binge for energy.
Here they binge at the hummingbird feeder, often at all available tubes. I find it sort of amusing that the Anna's Hummingbirds, not short on aggressive temperament even to much larger birds, are regularly buffaloed by the much smaller wasp's which often run the birds off. Of course if something relatively the size of a Mountain Beaver with wings and a stinger, and stoked on white sugar, flew up in your face, no doubt you'd run for your life. Just sayin'.
Jeff Gibsoncommited insecticide, inPort Townsend Wa

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