fallen

This morning, planting some basil seed in a tub under eaves, I found this tiny wasp nest on the top of the soil. There are several active nests under the eaves and we leave them — this one, partly constructed, must have fallen; sometimes I see two wasps jostling as one defends a nest so perhaps that’s what happened. These aren’t the aggressive vespula wasps, the yellow jackets, that can be kind of annoying, especially during outdoor meals, when they land on the salmon or chicken or whatever else we’re eating, and don’t mind stinging if we try to wave them away. These are polistes wasps of some sort and every year they build their beautiful umbrellas of brood cells, attached by a petiole, all this created with wood scrapings, plant fiber, and saliva. Kind of miraculous. If you watch them long enough, you’ll see them scouring nearby rose bushes for tiny caterpillars and beetle larvae, even the scale insects off the branches of the lemon tree, to feed their own larvae. They themselves feed on nectar. Stay still and watch. The world is an extraordinary place.

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