She was looking for caterpillars, of which there were none, or at least none that I saw – she’d be far better at it, of course. She did find the honey I’d daubed on a few leaves of the rosebush, so either way, her trip wasn’t wasted. And I never knew they could take off upside down like this!
Folks often ask me just why I put so much effort into getting so close to wasps, and whether I’m not very afraid when I do. I’ve tried many times to answer questions like these, I think with greater success some times than others. But I can’t imagine ever being able to put into words the kind of beauty that’s visible in images like these – not least because it was making images like these that helped me first realize that I didn’t need to be afraid of wasps, anyway, not unless I did something to make them afraid of me.
Which is surprisingly hard to do! This next one, from 2021, isn’t a macro shot like the two above are. You’ll understand why, I think.
This colony’s foundress built her family’s home upon my home – more specifically, under the eave of my house’s side porch. I didn’t realize they were there until I was on that porch; as best I can figure, I had my head less than a foot away from their nest before I ever realized they were there.
You’d think they would immediately attack, right? And I’ll admit, so would I have – granted, not too many people know wasps the way I do, but even I would’ve expected to elicit a response in defense of the nest, having carelessly come so close. Had it been a large colony, with a lot of babies to defend, I might have had a very uncomfortable afternoon! But in this case, they saw no need to object to my presence, and with my big 500mm birding lens I had the pleasure of exchanging level gazes with this handsome lady from just a few feet away.
Even a photo like this can’t really capture what that was like, of course. I’m glad to be able to share it, anyway.