©2012 Cynthia Rudzis
The Karma of Wasps
by Patricia Snodgrass, artwork by Cynthia Rudzis
It was early April when Beverly Martin noticed the polistes wasp queen building her nest high in the pitch of the front porch roof. It was just a small daub of paper carefully smeared along the rafters, but Beverly knew that soon the young queen would lay her first clutch of eggs in the cells she was busy constructing.
Don, Beverly’s husband, was uneasy about allowing a wasp to build her nest there, but Beverly reassured him. “This species isn’t very aggressive,” she told him. “And she’s high up enough in the rafters as not to be a bother. Polistas are quite beneficial, especially when it comes to your garden. They’ll take care of the cabbage loopers and corn bores that you complain about. Besides, if you tear it down, she’ll just rebuild it, and then she really will be irate.”
“They won’t bother your bees?” He asked, frowning up at the queen.
“No, they’re not like yellow jackets and won’t invade the apiary.”
“All right,” he conceded, “but the first time I’m stung, she and her kin are outta here.”
“Fair enough,” Beverly responded as she noted the queen’s progress in her logbook. “If they become a nuisance, we can put up fly strips around the hive. It’s best to do it after sundown when they’re dormant. That way we can get rid of them without starting a war.”