Life Cycle Of A Wasp
The life cycle of a wasp is solely dependent on the role of the wasp in its colony. Male wasp survived up to six weeks, fertile female up to a year, whereas a worker wasp or sterile female survives up to twenty-two days or less.
In early part of spring, when the weather is dry, the queen wasp will wake up from her hibernation and begin scouting for a new location to build a nest. This location can be a tree, a disused burrow or even eaves of a roof. The main criteria are that predators should be able to reach it and there should be space for it to grow.
Queen wasp scrapes wood from trees, garden furniture etc. with its jaws. The wood scrapings are mixed with saliva and end up forming cellulose. A petiole, or stalk, which acts like an attachment is first made. This attachment is then connected to hexagonal cells which form the nursery. The eggs are laid inside the nursery and are protect with the help of cellulose. Like this more cells are gradually added to form the wasp’s nest.
The eggs that hatch first give rise to sterile females that will end up becoming worker wasps. This takes around 6 weeks. Queen wasp lays more eggs, but the young worker wasps have the responsibility to build the nest. Workers sting the insects; flies etc and bring them as feed to the new larvae for their nutrition. This stinging capability is not possessed by male due to the lack of the organ ovipositor.
The queen wasp lives on juices from fruits, nectar, fish and rotten meat, whereas the workers have to live on a sugary substance secreted by the larvae as well as fruit juices and flowers.
Queen wasp lays eggs till late summer, having the nest expanded and containing five thousand to ten thousand wasps as well as larvae. Larger cells are constructed known as “royal” cells which house the larvae of future queens. The type of food as well as the quality determines the gender of the latest larvae as suggested by entomologists from Keele University.
The queen mates with the male drones, but does not lay any eggs. The queen leaves the area for hibernation, whereas the drones and workers are left on their own to fend for themselves.
From late summer to mid-autumn, the wasps, with no feed secretions, start to fend for themselves. The drones and workers feed on rotting windfalls, fruit etc appearing in large numbers causing a nuisance.
However, the climatic changes make the wasps unsustainable for survival. However, the fertilized queen, which tends to hibernate during winter, is responsible for starting a new colony when the weather becomes warm.
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