Giant wasp overlooking the careless picnickers.
The Scottish Word:

Stang.

That’s a bleezer o a neb ye’ve got. Did a wee wasp stang ye? Har har.

Whaur ye goin? Dinni be sic a feardie daftie – a doot there’s a wasp near here this time o day.

It is a beezer o a stang tho, I’ll gie ye that.

Translation:

stang: sting.

That’s a blazing example of a nose you’ve got. Did a teensy wasp sting you?

Where are you going? Don’t be such a cowardly dolt I doubt there’s a wasp near here this time of day.

It is an outstanding example of a sting though, I will give you that.

staŋ

Wasps.

The gentle delicacy of a wasp landing on your skin with its cool wisp of a downdraft has to be experienced to be believed. Do not be afraid.

Wasps are only interested in stinging if some idiot has been flapping their arms and swatting them about making them as irritated as you would be if you suffered the same and had a stinger you could use.

Wasps like to get up close when they are checking things out. I’ve learned to live with them and have got to the stage where I can let them land on me if they want.

If you cannot bear them then just move calmly out of the way or even gently gesture them away, it’s worked for me eating a jam scone in a wasp infested corner. But don’t swipe or swat at them or leap about.

You’ll make them afraid, defensive and probably angry. And they will then behave like most top level successful predators do – if you wind them up.

Temperamental.

It is in the autumn when wasps are short tempered.

And that’s probably because they know they’re going to die soon in the cold. The old queen might be dead already and her wasps no longer have a home. All the new queens have gone to hibernate on their own and will start brand new colonies in the spring.

But in the heat of summer wasps are easy going hunters mostly and are after meat more than anything sweet so please try to tolerate them. They are not on a mission to sting.

The Usefulness of Wasps.

They are major destroyers of pests and experts suspect wasps are worth as much to food producers as bees. Not only do they hoover up pests such as greenfly and caterpillars but many also pollinate plants as well.

Without wasps crop yields would decline (bad for us) and the use of pesticides would have to increase (bad for the environment).

Wasps and your Beer.

Surprisingly, little is known about how yeast survives in the wild. Researchers at the University of Florence recently discovered that both hornets and wasps carry yeast cells in their gut. Yeast is an essential ingredient in making bread, beer, and wine.

Wasps pick up yeast from grapes and the yeast survives the winter in the stomachs of hibernating queen wasps and is passed on to their offspring when they regurgitate food for their young, and thus back to the new crop of grapes.

I keep frozen queen wasps in the fridge for my wine making. Just kidding.

The Noise of Wasps.

Apart from the buzz of the wasp another noise you can listen in to is the scraping noise when they crunch away on old dry wood. They’re chewing it to make paper for their nests.

Our garden bench when we sit in the sun often has a wasp or two scraping away at the wood, it’s quite loud. They’re not in the least interested in us though.

Good Looking.

If you can bear to get close and have a really good look, wasps have damn fine markings. Yellow and black is a great combination. No wonder some fighter planes copied the style.

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