I have a reputation for diving into projects.
I like to jump in feet first (not head first because that would be silly – you never know if there are rocks) without checking the depth or looking for alligators or figuring out just exactly how much time I will need before I can drag myself back out of the water.
When I couldn’t stand our strange, uneven, brick and 4×4 back steps any longer – I ripped them apart. I had a plan (I always have a plan.) and it even included new steps. It also included removing old wood chips, sand and boards around the landing area, making a new brick landing and reseeding with grass. John wasn’t super happy when he came home one day to discover the two foot drop out the back door. Not even my elation at finding a nice concrete pad underneath it all (or my plan) seemed to bring him any joy. Probably he knew what was coming next – a lot of months without back steps.
He was totally right.
But we have steps now! And a nice brick landing. And… a really big disaster of gravel and dirt and half ripped up weed barrier. But that’s okay, because this month I was doing the final step of the project. I would haul away the sand and gravel and replace it with dirt, throw some grass seed on it and it would be done.
And then I saw them.
Great Black Wasps.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen them. And while I was unwilling to put my finger in the picture for size reference I can tell you that they are well over an inch long. Huge wasps. Scary looking wasps.
And totally fascinating.
Because, of course, I put my shovel down and looked them up. I found out they are non-aggressive and not even the Orkin man removes them as a matter of cause. They are solitary nesters, excellent pollinators and feed a ridiculous amount of grasshoppers and katydids to their young.
So I watched the wasps, and discovered that there were a number of holes, right in the sand I wanted to remove. I watched longer and saw one dig her hole deeper. I watched them come and go and not bother the dogs that walked over the top of them or me sitting a few feet away. I watched one fly back to it’s nest carrying a katydid. (I did mention that they were quite large right?!?) I got my camera and watched a bit more…
Then I sighed and put away my shovel.
I ripped apart the steps a year ago… at this point a few more weeks isn’t going to make a difference.
Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.
Now there’s an excuse I wouldn’t argue with!
Reblogged this on June Kearns.
Fascinating! (Are they American wasps?!)
Yes they are looks like they have a range across most of North America. And (according to Wikipedia…) They were the subject of the first article on an insect written by a native of the New World and presented to the Royal Society. Hows that for a random Wikipedia fact! 😀
As long as they can’t cross the Atlantic.
That is definitely a valid excuse to stop working 😂 At least you guys have back steps now 👍🏻
Wasps are the assholes of the bee community…sighs….yeah…a few more weeks won’t matter at all. 🙂
Is it possible to just leave the pile there and make it into a berm-ish planting area? That way you’d never have to move it and the wasps would have a forever home. 🙂
Sadly it is partly over the access to our septic tank so the pile has to leave, but I am moving the sand just off the yard and they are welcome to nest there next year! 🙂
So what did you do??
Worked on my project up to about a foot away from their holes and stopped. Today was the first nice sunny day that weren’t going in and out so I’m hoping they have hatched and moved on and I can finish my plan.
Ahh I see- so they are transient? They don’t stay for long?
Seem to be, today the dogs kicked sand in the holes and they were never cleared back out so they seem to be gone… now I just have to quick finish before winter…