Wasp’s nest leaves sting in the tail

The strange looking nest found by a Rathbeg resident in his coal bunker.INMM3712-384SR

The strange looking nest found by a Rathbeg resident in his coal bunker.INMM3712-384SR

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A MID-ULSTER Mail reader left mystified after finding a nest-like object inside his coal bunker has thanked the paper for solving the puzzle as to just what type of insect was hiding in his back garden.

The small nest, which is soft to the touch, was confirmed by the Natural History Museum in London to be a Vespula embryo nest - the nest of the common black and yellow wasp we commonly see in summertime.

Robert Aspinall found the nest on the roof above his garage when he lifted the lid of the coal bunker. He said he’s never seen anything like it in all his time outdoors.

The 66-year-old who lives with his brother Stanley in Rathbeg in the town and formerly worked with Quinn’s bottling company, said he was grateful to the Mail for solving his mystery.

An employee at the Natural History Museum explained that the nest is one which had probably been left in the wake of the Queen Wasp’s death.

“This is as far as the queen gets on her own and within this there will be series of 8-10 cells in which she raises her first cohort of workers. If that stage is successful these workers continue foraging and building the nest and she stays at home laying eggs.

“However, mortality in Queens at this stage is very high as they are often taken out by cars, predators, wet weather and so on during the spring.

“Hence those that fail leave these little reminders of their former presence and industriousness and these are common finds in sheds, garages, loft spaces.”

Right - The strange looking nest found by a Rathbeg resident in his coal bunker.INMM3712-384SR