Questions about Wasps
by Helen Hagemann
Each morning, a wasp starts out as a lone traveller
heading into the garden, its hind legs dangling and
trailing in the wind. These moments are an eloquent
gesture of nature, the wasp on a journey into nectar,
jazzing up noisy wings, talkative as the bumble bee
already in the Fuchsia. There are many questions you
might want to ask, yet the only one you do know is
that wasps sting, especially late summer if you have
a fly swat or rolled newspaper in your hand.
Yet you’re curious about this eager garden traveller, like
a fly-in miner, flying out. Is he copying the tiger with
all those stripes on his back? Is he the bee’s rival, as he
hovers in mimicry? Is it to camouflage pincers in wax flowers
or to fool the bumble bee into thinking he is one of him?
And why does this busy wasp follow from petal to stamen
and stamen again, and not the other way around? What about
his paper-mache home, is that in the roof? Is he building
a colony of one hundred wasps, damaging the beams?
You guess that wasps are designed to make you think. So,
wondering about that loud buzzing noise as he backs out of
a bud, is he imitating the operatic bee who comes out singing?