Now, here’s something a little unusual…

While walking the dog yesterday and trying to follow a family of Green Woodpeckers I crossed an area of recently cut meadow.  It’s pretty uneven but among the cut grass I saw a small hole about 6” across.  Freshly dug holes are always worth a look.  This is what was in there. 

Obviously a bunch of (I think) common wasps.  But there was a bit more too this hole than that.  First, wasps don’t usually congregate in any old hole.  I’ve seen this once before in my garden.  We have badgers in our area.  Badgers will dig up wasp nests and devour the grubs, adults, nest and all.  Overnight a badger did for a rather large nest under a hedge.  I’m pretty sure that’s what happened here in the field.  There were signs of the paper nest but the badger seemed to have mad a pretty good job of clearing everything out.  When this happened at home there were few adults left; here there were quite a few and they seemed to be rather purposeful clearing dead bodies out.  It made me think there was something else going on.  Sure enough after a few minutes, I spotted the queen emerging.  She is obviously so much larger the the workers.  I wonder if it was the queens survival that had kept the workers around.  

I checked again this morning.  Today, there were still quite a lot of wasps still around.  Unfortunately, they were looking rather less purposeful and were almost just milling about.  This may have had more to do with the weather in that it rained heavily all morning and the nest remnants were wet through.  I didn’t see the queen but I suspect this nest is doomed.   

My diligent investigation did have one side-effect.  I managed to get myself lightly stung on the stomach.