Beware of Wasps!

Early autumn is naturally associated with harvest time, when
during this particular season in the year fruits and vegetables that have been
carefully grown over preceding months in our gardens (and on a much wider scale
by farmers) are generally harvested.
We can also expect to see a gradual change in the colours of the leaves that
have finally served their purpose on deciduous trees, before these are soon
discarded, drop to the ground and form colourful carpets between adjoining trees.
Not only do the trees prepare for the forthcoming winter-so do the insects.
One particular species of flying insect-the wasp-is particularly
evident at this time of year.

These stinging insects are easily identified – usually twice the length
of flies, and much thinner than a bumble bee, they have a yellow head and a
yellow abdomen, with black bands (see above photo).
I mistakenly thought that the wasps seen on the cut section of tree (see entry
dated August 17th, 2006-earlier in this blog) were drinking the sap-they were more likely to have
been chewing the wood, in order to provide building material for their nest.
Once all the young wasp larvae back in the nest have matured towards late summer,
then we are likely to see many more wasps-looking for discarded fruit upon which
to feed, before they die off.
Don’t provoke them -especially if you discover a wasps’ nest –they
will defend their home aggressively, and if you start to kill them, this will
make them angry!
Wasps are in actual fact useful members of the food chain-they feed on other
Only queen wasps survive until the next year, when they start a new colony.
Always be aware that occasionally, some people stung by wasps can have an adverse,
life-threatening reaction-this may be characterised by rapid swelling of fingers, toes, face and the unlucky person has difficulty breathing.
Seek immediate qualified medical assistance.

Sufferers of this condition often wear an SOS-Talisman bracelet or necklace (see above)
An ‘ordinary’ wasp sting can usually be treated by washing with
soap and water, and the affected area treated with ammonia or an alcohol wipe,
followed by antihistamine ointment. Chemists also sell very effective sprays-it
is always good to have one to hand at this time of year.

See the following BBC articles

More information about wasps available HERE

BBC:(2) Testing the Water

As previously reported within this weblog, a regular task undertaken by the Friends of Wom Brook is to check for and monitor the presence of aquatic life in the Brook. The discovery of several species is an indicator of the quality of the water-in other words, it is clean enough to support life!
In the above photo, members of the Friends Group were filmed last Thursday engaging in such a survey.
Regrettably, no water voles were captured on camera, although several people caught a fleeting glimpse of one in the vicinity!