This winter was mild compared to the previous one.
Thankfully, this time around, we escaped severe weather that hit other parts of the country.
The good news in this is obvious. The bad news? Well, if you like outdoor activities like gardening or barbecuing, you will likely be facing a challenge. What I am referring to is a higher winter survival rate for insects. In the coming months we can count on having a greater number of paper wasps and yellowjacks.
I usually don’t kill insects and spiders unless I find it necessary to do so. For example, for our safety, we’ve had the basement sprayed for black widow spiders.
When it comes to active paper wasp nests I leave them alone unless they are a direct threat to my family. I recently sprayed a nest that was over our back door.
Months ago, I ordered some extreme weather foil tape. A few weeks back, in the garden, I used it to cover the ends of a structure built of pipe. There are two paper wasp nests in the piping from last year.
I’ve read that wasps that overwinter are female queens that carry fertilized eggs. In our yard, queen wasps have congregated at these two spots – two at one and three at the other. I was under the impression that they would not use old nests. Perhaps they would build them right next to the old ones?
Again, the nests are inside of pipes that have been taped shut. What is surprising to me is that these insects don’t appear to have a “Plan B.” One would think that they would have taken the hint and moved on by now. However, they have remained at these spots, often violently fighting with one another for dominance.
Yesterday, in the dark of night, as an experiment, I placed the three from one site into a plastic container. I released them a mile away from the house. I wanted to see if they would return, even if it was to their own detriment.
Meanwhile, at the other site, two wasps remain. Will they eventually relent and move on?
What do we pray for and how do we pray? God answers prayer. Also, God knows us better than we know ourselves. As such, would we be receptive to a “Plan B” from God, and what might this look like?
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.