While researching last week’s Anti-Caturday post I found that wasps as a group are far more diverse than I thought. For starters I’ve always thought that even adult wasps are carnivorous but that turns out not to be the case. While by far the most species of wasp are parasitoid the ones that are best known throughout Europe and North America have a modified stinger so that instead of eggs it delivers a small amount of poison. This is also why only female wasps have a stinger.
Not all wasps live in colonies and only the ones that do build nests. Social wasp colonies are very similar to those bees have with a breeding queen and lots of sterile female workers. Unlike bees though wasp nests do not produce anything other than more wasps. This also means wasps do not winter well. When the wheather starts getting nippy wasps start going a little loopy and try to desperately find someplace safe and warm to settle in for the winter. Usually only a young queen winters while the workers and the old queen just die off. When warmer weather returns the young queen will go off and form a new nest from scratch. Maybe the old nest has too many ghosts in it or something.
Of course none of this means that I feel any more warmly toward any of them. Now if you’ll excuse me I really must take a shower to stop myself from shuddering.