I went back to the meadow where I found the wasp nest with its swarm of wasps. I found it again and was going to shoot it again (different day, different image) but there was one female wasp that wouldn't stop moving, so I wasn't able to get much of anything. About 20 ft. away I found another swarm, (same species Northern Paper Wasp) only this one was on a milkweed seed pod that had opened. No nest that I could see, just the pod. These were still enough that I was able to shoot 5 frames for a stack on this one.
Then a few more feet away I found this single Northern Paper Wasp who was apparently an independent and didn't caucus with either group.
Any way I tried 2 different crops of this second group and I'd be interested to hear which you prefer and which swarm you prefer. I'm posting the first one again so you won't have to toggle between the two posts.
Spectaculer shots! They are all great however the sky reflection on the leaf in the first one detracts somewhat so I prefer the other two better. (Would a polarizer change this?). The last one of the lone critter is excellent! Peter
>Spectaculer shots! They are all great however the sky >reflection on the leaf in the first one detracts somewhat so I >prefer the other two better. (Would a polarizer change >this?). The last one of the lone critter is excellent!
Thanks very much for the comments and feedback Peter.
I did tone down the reflection off the leaf in pp in the first one but it still is a bit bright. I did have a polarizer with me but I was at 1/6s shutter speed so somewhat constrained by conditions. I also could have used something to shade it from the sky but I was about 4 ft away so would have had to set it up and I was running out of time. They were beginning to stir and the sun was coming over the trees.
>John, I'm absolutely intrigued by your pics; are these common >in your part of the world? They'd be a next to a miracle in >the UK. Does it not make walking in these fields a little >hairy?!
Yes wasps and hornets pretty common around here. I have images of several different wasp and hornet species. These are Northern Paper Wasps which are one of the most common. I wouldn't want to disturb a nest. It might result in several of them coming after you. But individuals going about their business usually ignore you unless you disturb or threaten them, like pushing aside a plant that one of them happens to be on.
Some species like White Faced Hornets are more aggressive and the stings are particularly nasty. I don't have any images of them and I'd be very careful in trying to get one.
They swarm like this at night and if the temperature is cool enough it takes them a while to become active, so if you keep your distance it's not usually a problem.
It sounds like an exciting game John! The swarming at night is something new to me, so is what you're saying that they sleep during the day? We only have one species of Hornet in the UK, and contrary to popular myth they are no bother, unless you disturb or attack them. Same as our common wasp; perfectly OK if you leave them alone. Fascinating stuff John - thank you. Max
>It sounds like an exciting game John! The swarming at night >is something new to me, so is what you're saying that they >sleep during the day?
Actually no. They're active during the day but return to the nest at night, at least a lot of them do. They also return to the nest periodically during the day. You can find single wasps in early morning, like the single one above. I don't know why some return and some don't. I also don't know why or how they find a meeting place that's not the nest, like the milkweed seed pod above. I was out in the same meadow yesterday and found another group in the same general area gathered on a milkweed leaf. Photo attached.
I have had these nests in my attic roof vent. When I would paint my house I would go into my attic at night and spray wasp and hornet killer on the nest through the screen on the attic vent. I did not want to be on a ladder 25 ft off the ground with a paint bucket and encounter angry wasps protecting the nest.