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The fig got drunk but what about the wasp?

July 31, 2015

A wasp drinking the juice of a very ripe fig.

Yesterday I visited that one special fig tree in the Fairview neighbourhood that is producing ripe fruit weeks ahead of schedule.

It would appear, however, that the neighbours finally noticed the early bounty in their midst. Certainly all the branches had been picked clean of fat finished figs and not only that but two of the branches had been snapped in an apparent attempt to get at high-hanging fruit.

Like a wine bag-in-box for birds and insects?

There was, in fact, one very ripe fig which had escaped the clutches of neighbourhood hands. Likely everyone had refused to touch it because it was ripe to the point of rotting.

But nothing needs go to waste in nature. Before such a fig finally falls and gives its seeds to the earth it hangs off the branch and invites birds, bees, wasps and flies to slake their thirst.

Such a ripe fig is little more than a thin-skinned bag of seeds and sugar water and can be drunk at by long-tongued flying insects and hummingbirds as easily as we drink a glass of water — or perhaps I should say a glass of wine; because this far past the peak of ripeness lies decay and fermentation, when enzymes steadily transform sugars into alcohol.


Could that help explain why the striking black and white wasp returned again and again to suck up the juice of the fig, or was it just really thirsty?

Impossible to tell really, if this wasp was getting the least bit tipsy. That’s because wasps tend to fly as though they’re drunk even at the best of times. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview

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