Saturday, December 07, 2013

Jewel # 157 (Dec 7, 2013)

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To my dear grandchildren,
Solitary Wasps

"O Lord, how manifold are Thy works!  In wisdom hast Thou made them all:
the earth is full of Thy riches."
(Psalm 104:24)

You may have seen a wasps' nest made of paper, hanging in a protected place on the outside of your house.  These wasps are called social wasps, because they live in colonies and cooperate with one another.

There are other wasps that make nests for their young in an entirely different way.  They do not live in colonies and are called solitary wasps.  One is the black wasp caterpillar hunter.  The female makes a nest for her eggs and provides for her young by digging a hole several inches deep in well-packed sand.  At the bottom of this hole she deposits her eggs.  Then she hunts for a caterpillar that she paralyses with her stinger and drops it into the hole beside the eggs.  The caterpillar is still alive but cannot move, and when the eggs hatch, the caterpillar becomes a fresh food supply for them.

It is common for various species to build similar nests, some of them dropping insects, spiders or caterpillars beside the eggs as a food supply when the larvae hatch. Wasps do not need to be taught these things nor to experiment until it is done right, for these instincts are the Creator's design for them, passed on from generation to generation.

Another variety is known as the bembix wasp.  Several of them make holes side by side in the ground to form colonies, digging with front feet specially designed by the Creator.  After placing her eggs at the bottom of her nest, each female wasp drops paralyzed flies down the hole.  Something interesting about bembix wasps is that after the eggs have hatched into larvae and eaten the food left for them, they completely cover themselves with a hard coating of fine sand held close to their bodies with sticky saliva.  After being wrapped up that way through the winter months, they come out of this hard cocoon and crawl up into the outdoors as adult wasps.

Sand and wood wasps follow habits similar to those of the bembix, but they sometimes drill their holes in fence posts rather than in the ground.  These wasps use paralyzed spiders, and a few other insects for their food. 

Another species feeds on nothing but paralyzed bees, which are right there when the larvae come out of their long sleep and find this food beside them.

As we think of how wonderfully the ways of the Lord God, the Creator of all things, are displayed, we can easily understand the psalmist who declared, after expressing verse 24 quoted above, "I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. . . .  I will be glad in the Lord" (Psalm 104:33-34).  Are you among those who happily join in that kind of singing?    

Love you all,
Grandpa

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