While enjoying the sun on a particular place on the deck in Loreto I noticed some kind of bee nest, either nearly destroyed or just begun by the one inch size of it, hanging as a papery fruit on a stem attaching it to a round decorative grey poupon colored 3 foot tall ceramic fireplace. In bas relief all about the ceramic piece were clusters of life sizes grapes also hanging down from their stems.
My folding chair was only two feet away and when I saw a wasp arrive and begin working on this nest I was torn between the desire to be such a close witness to its creation and the instinct for self preservation for I was pretty sure these things were aggressive. I remembered my little brother J, getting swarmed by bees he accidentally disturbed in their ground hive under some wood that laid in front of the white shed by our house. They really attacked his face which was quite swollen, red and misshapen with sooo many stings. I think the damage was only temporary and he has mostly recovered.
I also knew that my father had to carry a “bee kit” later in life, as he started having anaphylactic type reactions to stings.
. I remembered getting a bee in my Kevlar jacket on one motorcycle trip on a windy country road with no shoulder and trying to keep my calm till I could pull over as opposed to doing the natural thing which would be to flap my arms wildly yelling and stripping off every garment I wore.
All of these things. everybody has a bee story don’t they?
But I learned That the mud dauber wasp builds one cell per hour by herself and packs each one with a stunned spider, black widow in particular cases and one larvae. The larvae will hatch and dine upon the spider. They are not social and don’t swarm and won’t sting you unless handled roughly.
This wasp had built about three cells and each took about one hour. I read that the loss of outhouses in the country were a big tragedy to the mud dauber wasp. Apparently they took up residence there quite happily. personally, I can’t imagine sharing an outhouse with a bees nest. Even a nice wasp type bee.
It was with regret that after a very hard thunder shower I found Mrs. Mud Dauber motionless on the ground below her handiwork. I will leave her art and we will see if she is Survived by any waspettes.
Meanwhile, I will continue to use lots of sunscreen, stop smoking stogies and refrain from making generalizations about animals or people based on their appearance!