My morning was spent running errands. After going to the vet, the pet supply shop, the coffee shop, and a few other places, I stopped at Rick’s place to take Wylie out for a walk (I’m dog- and house-sitting again while Rick is out of town).
Once I had finished my pre-lunch canine session, I continued on to the store to pick up some groceries, after which I finally headed home.
It took several minutes to get everything out of the car and into the house, followed by several more minutes to put things away. I followed all of that by starting the laundry.
Finally able to sit down, I decided to catch up on the news and my favorite blogs. I took my normal spot in the desk chair, signed on to the laptop, and immediately stopped when I thought I heard something buzzing in one of the windows by my desk.
I sat quietly for a moment and heard nothing else. Must have been my imagination, right?
My attention returned to whatever I was reading at the time. Only a few seconds passed before I once again thought I heard buzzing coming from behind the blinds. That time, I decided to investigate.
I stood and walked to the window, then I gently and slowly opened the blinds.
Sure enough, there was a wasp hidden at the top of the window. It sat grooming as though it had neither a care in the world nor a bit of concern for its environment.
Its position actually gave me the advantage. It was almost perfectly vertical with its head tucked behind the top frame of the blinds. That meant its back was to me and it probably couldn’t see anything except what was at the bottom of the window.
I quickly pulled out my trusty self-closing tweezers, reached between the blinds, slid them around its wings, and gently closed them.
That’s when it noticed me.
But it was too late. Gripped in the tweezers’ solid yet soft embrace spanning both sets of wings, the intruder would not be escaping.
Keep in mind The Kids will dispatch such interlopers if they are discovered. Also keep in mind I had no intention of leaving a wasp running around free in in the house. Sorry, but that’s asking for the kind of trouble I don’t need.
Carefully so as not to hurt it, I withdrew my captured target with medical precision. It passed unencumbered between the blinds. I then carried it out to the patio—along with my camera.
As you can see, it was nothing more extraordinary than a simple black and yellow mud dauber (a.k.a. mud wasp, Sceliphron caementarium). A few of these thread-waisted wasps have nested in my garage for a few years. I try to dissuade them by knocking down the early incarnations of their nests.
Why? Because the garage is an enclosed space, as is my car, and were one of these little critters to find itself cornered with me in such an enclosed space—especially the car—I’d be in a serious world of hurt. It therefore behooves me to disincline them from nesting in there.
But on the patio? That’s another story. I’ve had potter wasps and mud daubers nesting on and around the patio for some time. While I don’t allow paper wasps or yellow jackets to nest out there, I don’t mind these less aggressive and more predictable species.
As you can see, she was safely held where no damage would come to her (and I’m assuming it was a her and not a him). The tweezers do not exert significant force and are made for handling insects. The smaller the prey, the less force they apply, to wit, they apply more force to larger objects than smaller objects (that’s simple physics for such contraptions).
She did try to sting the tweezers a few times but was in no position to get a solid shot at it. Besides, the tweezers have been assaulted by far worse creatures and have survived.
That’s a similar shot to the first one, only with better lighting methinks. She apparently had picked up a piece or two of dust from the window. Gee, someone should clean more often.
After snapping these three photos, I felt I’d tormented her enough and decided to release her on the fence. I set her down until she had a firm grip, then I squeezed the tweezers enough for her to crawl away. And she did with much rapidity.
But then she stopped. She never even turned around. She simply began grooming and checking her wings.
For my part, I stayed behind her where I felt safer… as in, out of sight.
I watched her clean herself from head to toe, carefully fluttering her wings from time to time after giving them a thorough looking over. When finally she felt bathed and ready to face the world again, she flew into the air and disappeared around the corner.
As for how she got into the house in the first place, the garage is my preliminary guess. Perhaps she followed me inside as I was unloading groceries and supplies today. Then again, she may well have followed me in the patio door during one of my many jaunts outside.
Who knows. She’s not the first wasp to make such a bold incursion, although she fared better than the last one who made that mistake. Similarly, a housefly or cousin recently invaded and buzzed around the window for a while. The Kids caused such utter chaos and devastation trying to catch it that I eventually was forced to dispatch it myself with a swift pop of a kitchen towel. Five felines don’t take kindly to uninvited guests; likewise, uninvited guests seldom survive their visits. And in the meantime, karate cats flying about with abandon tend to destroy or displace just about everything that’s not bolted to the floor. I was therefore thrilled to have found and saved this one before it came to an untimely end, one that I’m sure would have been unpleasant at best.