I'm not proud of this fact, but I am a serial home wrecker. As far as our resident paper wasps are concerned, I am an Aussie Attila the Hun, wreaking havoc on their village then riding off into the distance.
Yesterday, I accidentally wrecked another wasp home. It's not the first time, either. In the 23 years we've been here in Marrickville, I might have temporarily ruined their lifestyle about half a dozen times. The wasps have built their beautifully constructed homes under the eaves of our pergola area, under our outdoor dining table, in our grevillea, amid the leafy clusters of creeping figs and, as I discovered yesterday, in our over-sized murraya hedge.
|Here's yesterday's wrecked home, pictured some hours after|
they abandoned it once my hedge trimmer had done its worst.
|This is the "Before" shot, of the murraya hedge at least two|
feet too high. It was so high it was blocking the low winter
sun reaching our vegie patch, so it had to be trimmed.
|And this is the "After" shot. Normally I would feel OK about this|
job, but by coincidence I found a photo of how our hedge looked
eight years ago, in 2006, and now I'm dissatisfied. I might have
to trim the hedge a whole lot more (see below)...
I have nothing against our wasps, either. They're a welcome presence here. The only time they have ever stung me, and it was just the once, was the day I was pruning back our grevillea without knowing that they had a nest in there. They soon let me know I was getting too close!
Our wasps are Australian native paper wasps, and they are beneficial insects in the garden, catching caterpillars to feed to their larvae. Given the terrible way that I manage to blunder in on them, wrecking their homes every couple of years, they are also remarkably peaceful and tolerant creatures.