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Last wasp standing — just barely

November 17, 2014

Very possibly this is was the last living worker wasp in Vancouver.

Right up until the end, wasps spend their short eight months on this earth in a constant blur of activity.

I like to imagine the fanciful possibility that they live sped-up lives — like pressing the fast forward button on a Barry White recording until he sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk.

If this were true then wasps would perceive time at a subjective rate that allowed them to enjoy the equivalent of, say, a two-year lifespan crammed into just 8 months.

Humans and other mammals would all seem to be moving…in…slow…motion.

Whatever the truth is however, there’s no denying that at the end of their lives wasps are anything but fast. They literally slow to a crawl.

Live fast. Die slow


The wasp I saw today on a blue Container blue bin was the first one I had seen for well over a week. I thought I’d seen the last of them back in September. How was this one even alive, especially after the freezing weather we’ve had?

Its survival testified to its toughness. Maybe it was so tough that it just didn’t know when to fall down and give up. 

It’s legs were splayed out and it crawled forward slowly, as if blind.

Looking at the photos, I was curious about a small spray of white on the wasp’s back, just behind its head. Possibly evidence of a fungal infection?

Parasitic fungus is known to regularly kill bees and flies in the fall and there is a rather extreme fungi called Cordyceps that targets wasps and other insects in Central and South America.

I have no idea what kind of thoughts a worker wasp might have, any more than I could really know how they experience their short lives but I’m a human being and I’m used to at least pretending that I can know such things.

I’m also used to making life and death decisions for “lower life forms” such as bugs.

I decided this was a “poor” wasp who was needlessly suffering.

And needless to say, this post marks the end of its story. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Fairview

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