February 23rd 2014

Queen Wasp, waking from hibernation indoors

Queen Wasp, waking temporarily from hibernation indoors

As with Bumblebees, the only wasps to live through winter are the newly fertilised Queen Wasps. Like most insects, they rely on external sources of heat to warm up, so need to hibernate but will sometimes emerge when heat is high in a room. Many bees and wasps have evolved colour patterns to function in the opposite way to camouflage. Yellow and black bands act as a warning

Our first miniature Daffodil fully out

Our first miniature Daffodils fully out

to predators that the creature is dangerous, either tasting unpleasant or, in this case, having a poisonous sting. An even more fascinating aspect of evolution occurs when creatures mimic the warning pattern. Hover flies, for example, are harmless. However, they not only mimic the black and yellow stripes of bees and wasps, but will press their abdomens into your skin as though about to sting you! Research has shown that, while some creatures learn avoidance of animals displaying warning colour, some (including Great Tits,) have inborn avoidance behaviour. Conditions: Dry and mostly cloudy, light rain later. Temperature: Max 11 – Min 8c

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