Though the wet summer has been a great season for many organisms (butterflies, birds, frogs etc), the lack of wasps in the garden and around the house is remarkable. In recent summers Paper wasps (Polistes humilis), Mud Wasps (Genus Pison) and European Wasps (Vespula germanica) were very conspicuous. But this year all these wasps are conspicuous by their near-complete absence (from around here, Boho South, anyway). Though there is rotting fruit under many of the fruit trees, not one European Wasp is to be found. Last year Paper Wasps built their stalked, hanging nests under every eve and veranda; this year very few. And the constant buzzing of the Mud Wasps entombing their spider prey is also missing this year. [One group of wasps is active though – Spider Wasps. Here’s an unlucky huntsman that’s ready to be sealed in a burrow and infected with eggs.]
I started to wonder why. What could be controlling wasp numbers? I presume the rainy summer has flooded many a European Wasp nests (underground); still their almost complete absence is curious.
Have other Strathbogans (sorry) also noticed a lack of wasps?
The one group of organisms that have definitely benefited from the wet summer is the fungi and I know many fungi are parasitic, so could this be the answer? Not sure yet, but I’m on the look out for information. In the meantime, here’s a fascinating article titled “Brainwashed by a parasite“. The evolution of life is just amazing.