Interview with a Queen wasp…
So, it looks like it’s time for a Royal arrival and our customers should be looking out for larger than normal Wasps appearing in and around their properties. Today we are speaking with a real-life Queen wasp so she can give us an insight into the importance of this period of the wasp season.
LANDGUARD: First of all, your Majesty, can we thank you for taking the time to allow us to interview you. At the risk of sounding impertinent how on earth can we distinguish you from common worker wasp?
Queen Wasp: How rude! Aside from the blue blood and pedigree breeding lines, the main way to tell is the size. One is up to twice as big as the common worker wasp who measure 1.2-1.7cm in length, whereas we can reach a stately 2-2.5cm.
LANDGUARD: Apologies your Majesty. Please may you remind everyone of your role in the wasp Kingdom and why this is such a key time for spotting a Queen wasp?
Queen Wasp: Well, it’s quite simple really. It is in fact absolutely fundamental. We Queens are currently emerging from hibernation triggered by the warm weather to look for nice dry and safe areas such as sheds roofs and holes in trees to begin the founding phase of the nest. We will lay an egg into each cell of the nest creating the first workers of our Kingdom – sterile females who will take over the building of a much larger nest and also begin foraging food to feed our newest royal subjects, the larvae.
LANDGUARD: So, what do these nest beginnings look like and what are they made out of?
Queen Wasp: The nest beginnings aren’t much to write home about, usually up to the size of a tennis ball. I am but one Queen after all! Not long after my girls will take it over whilst I continue the much more important job of continuing to lay eggs to build the colony. One isn’t a simple builder, thank you. My workers continue to fabricate the structure using wood chewed-up with saliva, which makes a paper-like substance, hence our other common name ‘Paper Wasps’. We form cells inside the nest to contain eggs and larvae built within great walls protecting the precious contents. Our nests can be big, very big indeed, up to 6 feet wide and enveloping any structure that they come in contact with.
LANDGUARD: Wow! How many eggs do you actually lay?
Queen Wasp: Don’t get in a flap but I can lay over 100 per day creating up to about 20,000 workers in one single nest.
LANDGUARD: Yoiks, sounds like it’s probably best to pay you a visit sooner rather than later then!
Queen Wasp: Admittedly our kingdoms do grow rather fast! After about one month the eggs hatch into sterile female subjects who take over the running of the nest. More larvae hatch which will develop into fertile male drones for breeding and also some into new fertile Queens whom go orf looking for hibernation areas prior to starting their own nests next year.
LANDGUARD: Wow, princesses with a sting in their tail, eh? So, if you have a wasp nest at the end of the year and decide not to have it treated you are liable to have multiple nests the year after from all and new Queens?
Queen Wasp: Yes, you are perfectly correct. The nest can produce up to 2000 Queens each with the ability to start a new kingdom. What was a good nest site this year will probably remain so for the next. Now, you’ve really taken up enough of my time and One must go orf looking for a piece of quality real estate. Goodbye.
LANDGUARD: Thank you for your time your, Majesty. We will meet again, I’m sure.