Why do these wasps gather on top of mountains? Nature questions from readers

little egret

little egret

I saw this exotic-looking heron with bright yellow legs wading in the Dodder behind the Aviva stadium. Is it a snowy egret? – Mark O’Rahelly
The dangers of looking things up on Google! Snowy herons are only found in America. This is a little egret, a breeding species that has lived here for the past 24 years and has spread northwards from southern Europe as a result of climate change

Broom

Broom

Gorse plants seem to be dying on a large scale this year. Any idea why? This example is from Trooperstown. – Tom Fuller
The fungal pathogen (Phytophthora ramorum) entered this country on rhododendron in 2002 and spread to Japanese larch in 2010 and is now attacking our spring flowering furze (Ulex europaeus).

'Over the past few days we have seen groups of 10-25 wasps on top of four mountains in the west of Ireland'

‘Over the past few days we have seen groups of 10-25 wasps on top of four mountains in the west of Ireland’

In the past few days we have seen groups of 10-25 wasps on top of four mountains in the west of Ireland at and above 632m. These are rocky mountains, without much available nectar. Could the wasps have fed on mosquitoes? Or why are they even there? – Garret Michael and Helen Lawless
A puzzle good enough. Jim Hardie of the Royal Society of Entomology agrees that it is the Norwegian wasp, which is widespread in upland areas. There may be a nest there and the wasps could be feeding mosquitoes to their hungry larvae. But the adults now need sugary food and there are no flowers at that height. . .

herald mot

herald mot

This moth got into our bathroom near Gorey. Please provide this for us to avoid a family quarrel after we don’t sort it on Google. – Charles Dudley
It is a herald moth, which flies until November. It is common enough in Ireland and in winter as an adult. Hope this prevents an outbreak of war.

orb web spider

orb web spider

This lovely photo of the orbweb spider (Araneus quadratus) was photographed and identified by Dylan Carey in Co Mayo.

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