This worker Tree Wasp Dolichovespula sylvestris was busily battering itself against the inside of my patio door yesterday. Then it caught itself in a spider's web before landing in an undignified heap on the carpet. All this despite the fact that it's a double patio door and the other door, two feet to the right, was wide open. Clearly there's no helping some insects...but help it I did. I gently potted it up and released it on the decking. I say "released", more a case of flicking it out the end of the pot to land, once again, in an undignified heap. It then spent some time cleaning itself
Two points strike me. Firstly it seems that all of our social wasps have a yellow patch on the side of the body, just below and ahead of the wing bases. Yet this one doesn't. Perhaps it's actually an MI5 micro-drone, in which case they clearly they need more professional hymenopterists working for them. Or maybe it's a Terminator Wasp sent back from the future, in which case you'd think they'd know about how patio doors work.
Secondly, this is clearly a fastidious insect and is fully intent on cleansing itself from whatever muck it has recently been through. As I see it, the antennae and eyes are the main sensory organs, hence need to be kept in good condition, So WHY does it repeatedly drag its legs across the hairy mesoscutum (fancy terminology for its back)? Surely the mesoscutum itself doesn't need preening, does it? So, my assumption is that the long hairs across the mesoscutum are used to brush clean the tarsal segments of the forelegs, which are in turn used to do the real cleaning.
To be completely honest, I'm just pleased with myself for not running over the horizon, screaming like a girl at the sight of a wasp. I've come a long way this past ten years or so, so I have...
In other news, I found this small moth in the woods today. Rubbish pics, of course, but I'm thinking it may be Mompha locupletella, which I think would be new for Skye Edit: now confirmed as M.locupletella, still waiting to hear if it's a first for Skye.
I've whacked the pics up on the Skye Moths FB Group, they've still yet to be 'seen' by the two moth expert heavyweights (Keith the CMR and Nigel the Moth Guru) but I feel hopeful that I've got it right. Which would make it my FOURTH new for Skye moth this year.
Last bit of big news is that Pete, Tim and Ali are all arriving here in Uig this Friday. Which is in...um...just three more days' time! I'm SO madly excited. I had John Martin pop into my square for maybe 20 mins last year, though he had a dozen or so Wildflower Society bods with him at the time, and I had Tony come up in March for a whole week, but other than that I've been without any PSL buddies whatsoever. I've had contact with Pete, Tim and Ali via Faceslap and emails, but I've never actually met any of them before. Hence I'm really looking forward to Friday and introductions. Then it's straight down to the nitty gritty of showing them shitloads of new stuff for their lists! Hopefully Nick Hodgetts will join us for an hour or two, I know that Ali in particular is keen to get to grips with a few more bryophytes.
Through no fault of my own, tonight's music swings back to WASP, even though you had them only a couple of weeks back, sometimes life sucks - get over it, but for fate it could be you stuck on the wrong side of a patio door.
Also, whilst we're deep in 90s power ballads, this one is for the wee 6ft 2" waitress at work who just got dumped by her first true love, may he rot in rancid sheep dip for all eternity...