The Elegant Wasp

It’s an annoying sound.
The zzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzzzzz of Ms. Wasp as she hovers above the beer that is being enjoyed on the patio, or the deck.
The last remnants of the summer heat, trying to be enjoyed by humans, yet intruded upon by Ms. Wasp.
Not to mention the fact that if she doesn’t get her way, or worse, feels threatened in any way, she may inflict a painful reprisal.
She is not one to be trifled with.
And yet this elegant creature is often misunderstood.
We only see the annoying, the intrusion, the threat of being stung.
When in reality, this creature is just like many of us – searching for a bit of sugar.
For most of the spring and summer, wasps are busy performing a righteous task: killing flies and other pests in and around our gardens and elsewhere.
Who knew?
That incredible feat of engineering, also known as the wasps nest, is home to hundreds if not thousands of baby wasps.
The job of the female wasps that are out and about during the spring and summer is to bring home some morsels of protein for those babies.
In return, those babies regurgitate a little bit of sweet syrup from their mouths, which the busy worker wasps lap up as a reward – and as fuel for their next foraging journey.
A disturbing image perhaps – but nonetheless.
When the babies mature, in late summer and early fall, they no longer provide that syrupy sweet treat to their working kin.
Instead, they themselves ready to be the next generation of protein providers.
And so, Ms. Wasp must find another way to get her sugar fix.
And so, our beer on the patio it is.
Our soft drink on the back deck is a Plan B. To be sure.
They would much rather have the home grown variety of sweetness.
But no.
There is none to be found.
And so, like many with a sweet tooth can relate to, myself included, they search and search and Eureka! They settle for a sip of our sugar – supplied in the form of sucrose or glucose or fructose or whatever the heck is in our drinks these days.
And that buzzes us humans off. In a big way.
And so we plot and we plan to bring their house down.
To smite that wasps nest that is so beautifully attached to our eaves.
To poison it and everything within it to infinity and beyond.
To furiously hose it into oblivion.
Alas, for the wasps.
For they meant us no harm.
Indeed, quite the opposite.
They served to help us, to save us, from biting flies, mosquitoes even, and our gardens too from aphids, caterpillars and other insects that destroy our lovingly tended flowers and vegetables.
In fact, nearly every pest insect on the planet is deemed food enough for a wasp. And they are so good at what they do that they are being used by farmers to help them protect their crops.
Who knew!
Ah, the misunderstood Ms. Wasp.
In her elegance, her tight waisted yellow and black jacket/shirt-dress, her tender antennae, her surely arms and legs, her gossamer wings.
She is not one who will make a BFF with humans.
And yet perhaps we can remember her purpose, her service, and forgive her attempts at salvaging a sip of our soda.


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