Autumn Is Showing It’s Hand

Looking out of my home office window this morning, I saw a sight that is totally representative of this time of year in Alberta.

The mid-morning sun removing the evidence of our first frost from the roof across the street, which in itself is the precursor of colder weather to come. Behind we can see two trees, one decked out in it’s autumn colours, and the other not yet ready to do so.

At my location, on the south side of Edmonton, this morning we awoke to a temperature of -2C, hence the frost on the roofs in the neighbourhood. You will note the clear blue sky, which, while nice, can in our climes can lead to lower temperatures during the cooler months of the year as clouds tend to hold any warm air down, particularly over cities.

Trees, like people, come in many different versions, where Alberta’s changing weather is concerned. Some people will grab a sweater at the slightest indication of cooler autumn weather, whereas some trees will seemingly instantly have their leaves change colour. Other people just carry on for much longer, perhaps even staying in shorts and t-shirt, not unlike the trees which retain their normal foliage for a while longer. Eventually, they as well will don their sweater, or change their leaves. And, like people’s sweaters, when the time comes, some trees will display a simple shade of leaves, whereas others will offer up a vivid potpourri of crimson, gold and brown.

Autumn is showing it’s hand, giving us a warning, and reminding us, that it’s time to consider any preparations we need to make prior to the inevitable arrival of autumn’s nastier relative, winter.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome. Thank you.

Let’s Talk About Dolichovespula Arenaria

For the vast majority of my readers the title of this blog post may well get a “say what?” type of reaction.

Today I will talk about the Dolichovespula Arenaria, or for those who don’t know Latin, the Common Aerial Yellowjacket Wasp, found throughout Alberta and beyond.

Recently, my wife and I were out for a motorcycle ride, and had a wee stop for a light snack. There we were joined by a few wasps, as they seem to have food radar.

Now most of us think of wasps as disliked pests, or, on occasion, as something to be even despised and eliminated at every opportunity.

It is true that wasps seem to have that type of reputation, however, they do play an important role in the entire circle of life. Wasps actually do way more good than harm. They capture, and consume, various insects such as flies, caterpillars and beetle larvae, hence playing a role in the protection of farm crops and gardens by helping to control the pest populations. As well, similar to bees, they are recognized as valuable pollinators, as they transfer pollen when drinking nectar from flowers.

Today’s subject, the Common Aerial Yellowjacket, are like a cleaning service, when they are out scavenging dead insects to feed their offspring. Often the problem comes when their scavenging habits are combined with their love of sugar, putting them in close proximity of us, humans with food. These situations usually end badly, primarily for the wasps.

For my wife and I, we actually had very interesting time with our lunch companions on this occasion, due to a small piece of candy which fell off an ice cream dessert we had acquired.

We were not only able to observe the wasp, but were able to video it as well. Those videos are shared with you in this blog post. I was most impressed with how they turned out and find them to be quite interesting. I hope you will as well.

I have included four videos for your viewing enjoyment. You will note from the final video that this particular wasp was not into sharing with his companion.

As always, I welcome any comments or feedback you may have. Thanks for reading.

Finds a nice piece of candy.

Sorry about the language of a man walking by with his wife and young daughter.

He really seems to be enjoying this.

Not into sharing it seems.