Fast asleep (thankfully) - a hibernating queen wasp.


Link Posted 04/01/2020 - 00:56
This is one of those rare opportunities that you don't turn down. I found this lady in a cardboard packing box in my workshop
a couple of months ago. I put her carefully back to photograph later. Today, I found the time and assembled some gear.
I put a series A 100mm dental macro onto a set of Pentax auto bellows M and the K1 on the other end. There is no aperture
connection across the bellows so I plugged a single locking cable release into the bellows at the lens end to stop down prior to
taking the shot. Since the whole lot was mounted onto a tripod most of the images were shot at f22 - f32 for 20-30seconds using
natural light from a west facing window.

1. She had placed herself on a vertical surface, facing uphill and chewed up the cardboard, taking a firm grip of the debris in
her jaws before losing consciousness. She was firmly attached to the card and appeared to be gripping it with a back claw on
the side away from the camera.

2. When you are trying to swat them you rarely take notice of their considerable array of sensory organs or realise how hairy they are.

3. Given the opportunity I had to take one of the business end even though it was all packed away. And just look at those
amazingly sharp claws.

4. Hibernation is a risky strategy. She is lucky I am a kind soul and that she picked a good site. But just look at how she has
arranged herself, purely by instinct. Antennae snagged backwards behind the front legs which are themselves tucked
firmly beneath her thorax. Her delicate wings have been carefully folded up beneath her abdomen and her middle and back
legs have been pressed tight against her body to protect them. Then she switched everything off. I can only assume that
her body is arched off the surface to maintain ventilation?

I shall listen for the buzzing when it gets warmer and ensure I know where the proposed nest is being built !!
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link


Link Posted 04/01/2020 - 06:08
And a hairy coat to keep her warm in winter, thats some detailed shooting and a good tale, well done.
C&C welcome.


Link Posted 04/01/2020 - 08:20
Superb detail, well shot

" A Hangover is something that occupies the Head you neglected to use the night before".

K1 - Sigma 85mm F1.4, Pentax 150 -450 F4.5 / 5.6, Pentax FA 24 - 70 F2.8

Sigma 100-300 F4, Samyang 14mm F2.8, Sigma 70-200 F2.8,

K5iis - Sigma 17 - 70 F2.8, Sigma 70 - 300 F3.5/F5.6, Sigma 18 - 200 F3.6 / F4.5.


Link Posted 04/01/2020 - 12:02
Excellent photos. And thanks for the story/observations - they made me think about what I was seeing.

Do you know the species? There are people who are interested in what's happening to wasps (numbers, distribution etc.), there's a survey in August/September when the last of the year's wasps are about to die before the winter but they might also be interested in what's hibernating where. Lots of people are concerned about bees but wasps just seem to get an unjustifiably bad press.



Link Posted 04/01/2020 - 13:31
Nice little study, thanks for sharing.


Link Posted 06/01/2020 - 22:33
I agree with all of the above, great detail and good story.


Link Posted 07/01/2020 - 00:23

I'd forgotten that I photographed the set-up with my mobile telephone before I began. The bellows was extended fully to photograph the wasp.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link
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