Curiosity #1

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I am sorry that I could not get a clearer photo. In my defence my hands were covered in cement dust and blisters (maybe some poetic licence is allowed eh?) from the communal landscaping work in progress.

But I believe the picture is clear enough to back up my question:

What on Earth is going on here?

At any one time there were as many as twenty seven wasps at the bases of three of my potato haulms, and were not even sufficiently disturbed when I moved the plant stems over to get a better look.

The stem was broken and had scar tissue covering the wound, but the wasps seemed to be gnawing/chewing the remainder of the plant – at it’s thickest part. There are also reports of potato blight on site, so we are all either cutting the tops off our potatoes and burning them or getting the potatoes out of the ground. Since I do not know what is attracting the wasps to the plants I have no idea if there is a link.

When I was first summoned to have a look at the spectacle (something I have never seen before)  I wondered if they were

a)      Attacking and eating some prey species: a leatherjacket or caterpillar perhaps, or

b)      Entering a nest entrance, with the nest being in the earthed up part of the potato bed.

It may be significant that after I left the immediate vicinity the wasps continued to visit, and stay for prolonged amounts of time. Fifteen minutes or more.

We have a wildlife friendly approach to our allotment, with wildflower areas, bird nest boxes, a bee hotel and pond, so are keen to encourage such visitors. We know that wasps are useful pest predators for most of their lives , have a marvellous social structure and respect their need to “let off steam” when the nest is getting “tired”.

But gorging on potato stems?

I am really keen to know what is going on, so if you can help, or if you have seen anything like this, please get in touch.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for linking to my ‘wasp’ post. Well, you now know just what I think about wasps and as to their behaviour here, I have no idea! Maybe they really are just bored! Come to think of it, isn’t vodka made from potatoes? Just a thought. I’m looking forward to reading more of your very interesting blog, always on the look out for anything to do with gardening of any kind 🙂

    Reply

  2. Think they might be stocking up on carbs?

    Reply

  3. […] Curiosity #1 (mucktwineandthinker.wordpress.com) […]

    Reply

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