Blackberry Surprise

by Cynthia

A couple days ago I wrote a post titled Wasps are our Friends. When I wrote that post I had no idea just how much the wasps have been enjoying our garden this year. My husband was out cutting back some of the wild blackberry that is beginning to get a little unruly and unearthed quite a surprise. I think the below pictures speak for themselves.
This nest is actually pretty deep within the bush. If you didn't look closely you never would even see if there.

This is actually pretty deep within the bush. If you didn't look closely you never would even see it there.

I took as good of pictures as I could with knees shaking! Seeing that gigantic nest which is about the size of a basketball made me feel more than a little weak in the knees.

My husband was cutting back a particular spot of blackberry when he noticed something fly by him. He cut some more and then noticed about 4 more insects fly out from the bramble. That was when he cautiously put the loppers down and peered into the bush. I can only imagine his surprise when he spotted that nest. He came and got me and I was in disbelief as I have never seen anything like that before. I felt like I was looking at an alien life form that had crash landed in our blackberry bush. 

After coming inside and getting the pictures onto the computer I began to search the internet to see if I could figure out just what this nest is from. After a little bit of searching I discovered that this nest is from a Bald-faced Hornet or Dolichovespula maculata. They are not true hornets but actually paper wasps just like the wasps I posted about the other day.

I read that the wasps are of course protective of their nests and if provoked will attack the facial area on humans. Yikes. My husband is lucky considering how close he was getting with those loppers. 

One site I was looking at gave instructions on how to collect the nest for displaying once it is empty as the nests are used only once. We might consider doing this as it is pretty amazing to look at. I am sure my boys will get a kick out of looking at it if we do decide to collect it come fall. From what I read you want to wait until after you have experienced a hard frost to ensure the nest is empty.

Here is a very short video clip I took of the nest. It was all I could stand to get before my nerves got the best of me.

I found the following links to be helpful if anyone is interested in learning more about these wasps.

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