Eye on Nature: Your notes and queries for Ethna Viney
Wood wasps, blue tits, six-spot burnet moths, garden chafers and a stray peacock
House guest: one of the wood wasps in Melissa Wilson’s living room
I have had three of the large insects in my photograph flying around my living room. The smallest was 8cm long. I nearly had a coronary.
Dalkey, Co Dublin
It is a female wood wasp, ‘Sirex juvencus’. The long tail is an ovipositor, which she uses to bore into pine trunks to deposit her eggs. The eggs hatch and feed on the wood for two or three years. They sometimes emerge from building timbers.
Each year blue tits build their nest in our nesting box. This year, while the tits were feeding their young, I watched a wren also bring grubs into the box. The wren waited for the tits to exit before entering the box herself.
Green Park, Dublin
The wren may have had a nest close by and for some reason lost her own nestlings. Female wrens do most of the feeding of the young.
In early June, on the small island at Glassilaun beach, in Co Galway, it was spectacular to see hundreds of six-spot burnet moths lying about and mating on such a perfect day.
Knockmore, Co Mayo
There must have been knapweed or scabious flowers close by.
That sounds like the garden chafer, ‘Phyllopertha horticola’, a small brown beetle that swarms in summer, and can be found in dry habitats.
Has anyone mislaid a peacock? One guy has been around our place for the past four weeks.