I stopped off at the allotment on this golden afternoon to pick up some carrots and Calabrese for supper, as well as a few raspberries for dessert and witnessed a very strange piece of dining behaviour.
An orb web spider had spun its web through the raspberry canes and the web had caught a small wasp. As I picked the raspberries, a hornet landed on the web and start eating the wasp. The hornet was untroubled by the sticky secretions on the web and proceeded to eat the soft parts of the wasp, spitting out the hard parts of the exoskeleton. I believe the protein is fed to the larvae-adult hornets cannot digest it.
When it was finished, the hornet flew briefly on to another part of the plant, cleaned its antennae and flew away, leaving the spider with an empty larder and some repair work to do. At no point did the spider appear-sensible creature.
I used to be quite afraid of hornets and wasps,come to that, but if you regard them as formidable allies in the battle against aphids and other insect pests, treat them with the same respect you would any other ally, it is possible not to get panicky. Hornets are less aggressive than wasps and in their own way, they are quite beautiful. I became fascinated by the slenderness of the hornet’s waist and the beautiful toffee colour, as well as the gruesome munching. No pictures I’m afraid-I didn’t have the camera with me. Instead, a picture of the kitten we stayed with at the weekend. Twelve weeks old. Cute.