If they would let me, I could fill this blog entirely with the adventures of my friends Henrietta and Quentin. Unfortunately, they end most of their tales with the words 'please don't write about this'. But today's chapter from the H & Q story book came with pictures, so they agreed that I could share it with you.
H & Q have European wasps on their property. They want to locate the nest, so they can eradicate the pests, but there's a problem. Their property is about 100 acres, most of which is covered with eucalypt woodland. Locating a wasp nest in that is going to be difficult. So last weekend Henrietta had the idea of waiting for wasps to come to the birdbath and then following them home. Stalking, I think it's called.
But wasps are not only fast fliers, they're also hard to see against the variegated background of trunks and leaves. How could she make them more visible?
By tying coloured cotton around their waists. Obviously.
I understand it's quite tricky to knot a thread around a winged insect that has a dirty great big sting it's not afraid to use.
Of course, it took some experimentation to find the length that gave maximum visibility while still allowing the wasps to fly. Henrietta started with long threads and snipped away until the insects could take off.
And here's where the plan fell apart. Henrietta had caught the wasps when they landed at the birdbath for water, so they hadn't had a chance to drink before they got decorated like maypoles. Their first response was to finish what they started. But their new threads got in the way.
It didn't end well.