Thursday, March 29, 2007
Golden Paper Wasp Nest
This paper wasp made its nest right inside the alcove by my front door. It was fascinating to watch as the wasp would go around to each cell, in turn, and check on the egg inside. The wasp would form a drop of water on its mouth and apply it to the egg to keep it moist, and would then stand over the whole nest and beat its wings rapidly to cool the eggs down in the unseasonably warm weather. After retreating to the top of the nest for a couple of minutes it would go through the cycle again, making sure that each egg was safe and healthy.
Using a step stool I was able to watch the wasp dote on its eggs for quite a while, and I got quite a few good pictures with my 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I keep the aperture wide open most of the time at ISO 400, but bumped it up to f/8 whenever I wanted to have more than about 1/4 inch depth of field.
Unfortunately the nest met its demise recently. I am not sure whether it was the strong winds of the last couple of days, or a UPS delivery driver that thought he was doing me a favor that did the deed, but I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for another nest this season to see how everything progresses.