16 SEPTEMBER 1955, Page 28

Country Life

BY IAN NIALL A FRIEND said with some satisfaction the other day that she had been making jam untroubled by wasps as in years past, and thought that since we had had a bad winter and cold spring, the wasps had been reduced. I wonder. A large number of queen wasps may have perished, but wasps are careful in their selection of winter quarters, picking warm, dry and Frost- proof corners when they can. I think the apparent scarcity of wasps at the end of last month is due to a particularly suitable season, and their breeding and feeding have been extended in the warm, dry weather. The absence of rain meant that the broods were not drowned in the banks, and when the night air becomes cooler and the land loses its heat, the wasps' search for food will be extended. The workers will desert the nest as usual and the queen will seek a place for the winter. The first signs of wasp invasion are evident now, and they will be with us in increasing numbers by and by, or this season is to be marked as something quite unique.