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Author Topic: scotland - small dark stinging wasp  (Read 508 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« on: July 17, 2021, 03:08:41 pm »
I don't have a piccy as I didn't stay around long enough to take one  :roflanim:


Can anyone think of a small dark stinging wasp about the size of a large house fly which lives in a normal paper wasp nest? When chucking out old hay bales yesterday, the boys came across several nests, mostly normal yellow wasps, but one was different.  Unfortunately, youngest grandson thought the best way to deal with a wasp nest was by whacking it with a stick  ::) ::) .  Son got a couple of stings on the leg, I got chased to the polytunnel and half a dozen of the vicious wee devils came in a pack at my face and I got a couple of stings, like hard but small punches, then my skin in the area went numb - stopped hurting after a short while and little swelling. The attacking pack didn't buzz, but I could imagine what it would be like to be attacked by a large swarm of hornets, but this was in miniature.
I looked online for anything I thought it could be, but no luck.
Any experiences?
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doganjo

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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2021, 06:06:12 pm »
Could they be paper wasps?  They are known for their small, paper-like nests hanging from a single stalk and often found under porch railings, in the eaves of picnic shelters, and in other protected spaces. These wasps come in a range of colours, including orange, red-brown, burgundy, and even some with black and yellow stripes.
But I don't know if they are naturally more vicious than any other wasp - as far as I'm concerned none of them serve any really useful purpose  :innocent:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2021, 10:59:16 pm »
Oh I like wasps in general, just not when they gang up on me and go for my face  :o
One year we had a wasps nest in a gooseberry bush, one of a row. We had had bad sawfly larvae damage in the previous years, but the wasps dealt with the problem totally and even now although the sawfly are back it's in smaller numbers. We had no crop that year as I wasn't going to disturb the wasps, but after that crops were wonderful, no sawfly larvae.
Wasps are also great at finding caterpillars in the growing veg and carrying them back to their larvae in the nest.  They search while flying in a real quartering pattern which I find most impressive. Not just caterpillars but various other pests.  Wasps also hate flies and kill them.
Then there's those lovely paper nests, including the little ones you describe.  They get the wood to make the paper by chewing on old unpainted woodwork like shed doors and tree stumps. If you listen you can hear them rasping away with their horizontal jaws. They use this to fabricate those nests, paperthin layer by paperthin layer. Amazing.
Every creature has a place and a reason. It's the interface with humans which can end up being a nuisance.
My husband says the other nests are totally calm today, no aggression, so I don't really blame the little wasps for getting angry when they got whacked. It would have done my grandson good if he had been stung instead of all the rest of us  :innocent:
The actual nest looked pretty much like a normal yellowjacket wasps nest, built between the slats of a pallet. It's the same paper as the tiny nests, which I think are solitary wasps, but bigger, smaller perhaps than a yellowjacket which can be as big as a football.  I didn't actually go near enough to look carefully at it  :eyelashes:  so this is second hand knowledge. I suspect the little wasps are not naturally more aggressive than large ones, just they were very very angry.  They did attack in a pack though and chased me more than 100yds (on my scoot  :D ; I couldn't have outrun them)


My brother thought they might be a 'German wasp' but I've no idea what he's referencing.
My son told me about German cockroaches (which are of course not called German in Germany) which at certain times fly across the Channel and come into the houses where he lives in Hampshire. Cockroaches will ultimately inherit the Earth!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2021, 11:03:15 pm by Fleecewife »
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2021, 11:35:17 pm »
Don't know about the black wasp @Fleecewife but, in the absence of marauding wasps in your gooseberry patch, try planting geraniums under your gooseberry bushes - seems to deter sawflies. 



Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2021, 11:46:17 pm »
Don't know about the black wasp @Fleecewife but, in the absence of marauding wasps in your gooseberry patch, try planting geraniums under your gooseberry bushes - seems to deter sawflies.

Really? Garden geraniums or pelargoniums? If it's the garden variety or meadow cranesbill, that would be no problem.  Great, I'll try it, thank you  :) :
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2021, 03:00:26 pm »
My suggestion @Fleecewife is based on experience at one of my gardening clients:  the only gooseberry bush that usually kept it's leaves (no saw-fly caterpillars) was in a patch of pink garden geraniums.  ( Alas though, that bush is recently demised along with a large field maple - or, I reckon, sycamore hybrid contrary to other "expert" advice !!  :P - and a weeping willow due to unmistakable honey fungus infection of the trees at least.  I don't know whether gooseberry susceptible to honey fungus, but seems very coincidental when it has performed well for years in the geranium border nearby the large maple/sycamore.)
As to whether pelargoniums would have the same effect ?:  I would personally bet they would as they have a rather pungent vegetative fragrance to my nose (actually I really don't like the smell of pelargoniums whether in flower or not). 

Back to the small black attacking wasps:  I did do a search, but it wasn't very useful.  I wonder whether you've discovered a melanistic variant of some vespidae species that might eventually be known as the blackfleece wasp -  Lol and lol again.




« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 03:04:45 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2021, 03:23:44 pm »
Funnily enough I've just had another encounter with the wee wasps and I was able to see this one close up.  Just a miniature normal wasp, about one cm long, with much more black to its stripes than yellow.  It was no more aggressive than normal stingy wasps, so I feel confident the ones that attacked me the other day were doing so in response to the poking by a daft wee laddie. Perhaps they pursued me as I was wearing a bright flowery top.  I have seen these little wasps round here before but didn't recognise them at the time and they have never stung any of us before, in fact I thought they didn't sting.


For the geraniums, I have the pink ones and lots of blue, so once we get rain  :gloomy:  I shall give your idea an airing. The hens tend to scratch under the bushes which helps get rid of the pupae in winter but might just grub up the geraniums too.


I love the smell of pelargonium leaves as my mother had several large and ancient plants in the house, so I suppose they remind me of her  :)
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: 5th UK nation
Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2021, 05:08:31 pm »
The little bu***rs that got me a few years back weren't much bigger either, although "mine" were deffo stripey. 

Can't remember what time of year and I have no idea what species of wasp it was, but I inadvertently strimmed near their nest and they were upon me in no time with, interestingly, a concentrated attack on the back of my hands rather than elsewhere.  I did receive a few stings on arms & chest, but the little monkeys really went for the back of my hands through the breathable backs of my gloves as if they knew where to get me !!!???  (Can't remember whether I was wearing a meshed face-visor to protect against strimmer debris, but almost certainly I was - I received no stings to face.)

Both hands looked like (painful) lumps of proving dough for ages.  Lucky if one receives/ed just one or two stings!


 

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2021, 09:24:21 pm »
Ooh very nasty.  I'm not a tough guy so I complain from 2 stings, but I did stop complaining as soon as the initial pain stopped. Do I get a gold star ?  :eyelashes:   Funnily, I did wonder why they went for that spot on my face, as it already had an angry red patch there.  I wondered of their target is where everyone else has stung, so red is a draw.  Were your gloves red or orange by any chance?  It does sound as if they are the same or similar - I didn't get out the calipers to measure the one I saw today  ;D
There's many more waspy weeks to go before they die off for the winter.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: 5th UK nation
Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2021, 01:22:35 am »
I'm pretty certain glove uppers were neutral coloured (white/grey maybe ?) - palms might have been yellow or grey.  I'm tempted to suggest they (the wasps) are tuned into sources of vibration together with, perhaps, "animal" smells:  they were definitely concentrating on my hands as I held onto the petrol strimmer (which I soon threw away without regard to any possible damage!).
No gold star I'm afraid:  pah (!) to just a piddling one or two stings.  Lol !

[ If one has an ivy patch, just watch wasps patrolling it, especially later in the season (Autumn):  not sure what it is about ivy, but wasps do seem to see it as a good hunting-ground from my experience.  Of course, eventually they become a nuisance to picnickers (and similar) as their other food sources diminish and they go for sweet stuff rather than "meat". ]
« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 01:27:28 am by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2021, 07:14:20 pm »
Oh well, bang goes my theory but bang goes yours too, as my face was neither vibrating nor smelling of animal anything  :roflanim:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: 5th UK nation
Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2021, 02:03:56 pm »
Did I ever tell the tale when I was outdone by a wasp colony that a gardening client had asked me to "shut down".  Having 2 nest entrances I determined to attack at dusk when they would be "asleep".  I climbed onto the bank to get a better view just as the light was starting to fade to eye up my attack and precarious escape routes.
I then retreated and waited a very good while. On my return to do the deed with a torch and insecticide in hand I found the nest entrances well protected by 2 phalanxs of wasps guarding the entrances !!  Not knowing whether wasps will fly/attack in dim light, I retreated and went and had a pint with some friends rather than completely waste the evening.
[ I do appreciate that wasps numbers are under pressure, but why do they always choose to be where I want/need to be? ]
You are an animal Fleecewife !  Recognition of facial features might also be a part: eyes, nose, mouth (mine were hidden).

 
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 03:31:32 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
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Re: scotland - small dark stinging wasp
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2021, 10:06:15 pm »
Eureka!  I've found the benefit of my small dark wasps - I knew there would be one  :D


For the previous several years we have been plagued with spider mites in the polytunnel, so severe our tomato and bean crops have been badly affected.  We have used predators purchased at great cost to some small effect.  This year, we are nearly two months further forward in the season and not a sign of the mites  :sunshine: .  It's been a very unusually dry year for us, the type of drought which would normally suit the mites and everything would long since have been covered in their webs. Working in the tunnel today tying in tomatoes I realised there were lots of the little wasps around - some big yellow ones too, but greatly outnumbered by the small ones.  They were patrolling all the crops, but especially the tomatoes and beans (here we grow our climbing beans in the tunnel or we don't normally get a crop because of the wind).  They were not aggressive except when my face appeared right in front of them and they buzzed to get me out of the way (I hadn't heard them buzz when they attacked me before), or when my hand inadvertently came near them. Their extreme diligence made me wonder what they were hunting for so carefully.  Then I looked at my lovely, healthy, really productive crops and realised there were no signs of mites. I am convinced it has been the small dark wasps which have been doing all the hard work and predating any mites before they can do any damage.
The gooseberries are still clear of sawfly larvae too, and the small dark wasps have built a new nest just above where I park my scoot on the barn.  I can share my veg crop with them and my workspace, but not my parking space, so Mr F has to park for me  :thumbsup:
I've forgiven the wasps for stinging me before.  I knew they would be working away somewhere and now I know just what good they can do. Wasps are welcome here  8)
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

 

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