Saturday, 11 April 2009

Queen of the Stings

Jack and Josh enthusiastically helped me go through the two moth traps I ran last night. Jack already has a good knowledge of the commoner moths and Josh, at only five and a bit, is learning all he can about the natural world.

Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)

Most of the moth were what I'd been catching in the last few weeks, with Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Early Greys leading the way. This dotted border was the first of the year, and when I checked it is only the second year and the fourth time I've caught it. The other three were all in March 2005. We also caught a beautiful Herald, (a picture of one on 14/5/2008).

Common Waps (Vespula vulgaris)

There have been quite a few wasps around in the last couple of weeks., and they are often attracted to the moth trap, by the light. As far as I can see these are Queen wasps, looking for somewhere to start building their beautiful yellowish-brown "paper" nests. The Queens appear in spring, after hibernation, and once the nest is made start to lay their eggs. Thousands of carnivorous larvae are reared, at fist by the queen and then by her workers. Because of their nasty stings wasps have a pretty bad image, but they do in fact do much to control many of the garden pests.

Birds A Willow Warbler was singing near the garden as we checked the moth and later there was a scolding Whitethroat as Hope Point.

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