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vespa_bicolor last won the day on March 22 2014

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About vespa_bicolor

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    Wasp Whisperer

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    Hong Kong
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    Too many to list. The main ones being aquarium fish, exotic pets including most reptiles, most inverts such as tarantulas, scorpions, centipedes and even bees and wasps. Photography, fishing, many types of sports.

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  1. Been a long time since I last checked in! Anyway, in the last two years, I didn't find any other nests, although I saw the odd individual worker. Although I have to say that I haven't been in the field much due to work, and have also been in Singapore a lot. I would not be surprised if they are indeed perennial in Hong Kong. Hopefully, with better time management, I'll be able to get into the field more and find more colonies in the near future.
  2. Vespa soror is not found in Singapore. And hornets do not move northward just because food is abundant there in summer, they only become established in new areas which are not adjacent to where they already exist by being introduced (accidentally or otherwise) by people
  3. venomman321, I've merged your three threads on your Japan trip before replying to them for the sake of convenience. I don't like to say this, I don't intend to sound arrogant and I don't want to be mean or insulting, but your account of your Japan trip is highly dubious and I don't believe you saw what you claimed at all. Let me give you the reasons. I believe anyone with any knowledge of social wasps and the climate in subtropical and temperate regions of Asia will be able to see why. While I am not going to say anything is 100% impossible, Japan is a region with lots of professional and amateur wasp researchers, so it is highly unlikely that anything like Vespa soror or Polistes gigas would be present there without anyone knowing about it. It is even more unlikely that you would get lucky and find so many of them all at once. It's the same with Vespa bicolor. Your story about it being attracted to a man's lunch isn't convincing at all. If Vespa bicolor is present in Japan and so readily attracted to human food, there would have been papers written on it by now. And if you really watched these wasps in the wild, you would know that you'd never see Vespa mandarinia and Polistes gigas feeding on a fruit side by side. Vespa mandarinia is extremely territorial among sources of food, as is Vespa soror. Another wasp might get away with feeding on the opposite end of the same fruit as these giant hornets, but never side by side. Also, I really don't believe you saw the wasps feeding on fallen sapodilla fruit, and what you've written shows that you don't know about sapodilla and its distribution and fruiting season. Sapodilla is a tropical plant which bears fruit only in warm weather. Even in sub-tropical Hong Kong, the earliest fruits can ever be seen is in March, but the trees usually enter fruiting season only from June to September. This would certainly be so in Japan, where the winters are even colder. And sapodilla isn't common in Japan. It is not something grown in fruit orchards everywhere there, and can only be found in a few specific regions. Speaking of which, you never mentioned which part of Japan you went to. You only mentioned going to Japan. Why don't you say which part of Japan you went to, where you went during your few days there? Most importantly, however, is the date of your trip. It was winter season in Japan during the dates you went. Japan has a predominantly temperate climate and wasps do not emerge until April each year, and you won't see that many around as they will all be new queens looking for nest sites. Vespa ducalis emerges latest of all, usually in May. If you go to Japan in January, you definitely won't see a beautiful Vespa simillima floating by, coming to welcome you. You definitely won't see a few impressive Vespa ducalis. You won't see Vespa bicolor being attracted to a man's lunch. That might happen in January in Hong Kong, but never Japan. You won't see a mature nest of Polistes japonicus, and you won't be so lucky as to catch sight of a Vespa analis worker and thus find a nest on a tree. From what you've written in your posts, you claimed you went to Japan from 24 January and your latest post was on 1 February. Based on this alone, together with the other points mentioned above, I am certain that you did not even make all those sightings. Maybe you didn't even go to Japan at all. Also, I don't believe your tale about forgetting your camera. I find that you tend to make up such excuses quite a bit, as in how you suddenly changed your mind about the mystery hornet in Singapore being from the Botanic Gardens instead of Tampines Eco Green. I don't see how anyone could mix the two places up. And please don't make excuses later and say that your girlfriend Carina made a mistake in the post she made on your behalf, and that you actually saw other things. Even without everything you've posted so far, the date alone is enough evidence that nothing you say actually happened. Anyone who is crazy enough about wasps to make a trip to Japan to watch them would try all ways and means to find an alternative to take photos of them. Cameras are so advanced and can be bought cheaply these days. Anyone in such a position could easily get a substitute once in a country like Japan. Even the cheapest substitute camera could capture reasonable photos or at least record shots of what you see. I know I'll definitely do all I could to obtain a cheap camera if I land in a foreign country and realize I've left mine behind. I really don't know what your motive for writing about your imaginary trip is, but you've lost your credibility through posting all this. From most of your posts, it is obvious that you've read quite a bit, possibly online, on Asian wasps, but in fact you don't know much about them, yet you post as though you do, and think yourself an expert. Please avoid making statements about things you aren't actually familiar with, as you can spread lots of false information on the internet this way.
  4. Wasps in Asia often nest in the weirdest locations imaginable, I think I've posted some of them in the past. Give me a few days, I will try to dig out more photos.
  5. Wishing everyone a belated Merry Christmas, and a happy and successful new year in advance!
  6. Yes indeed, Vespa velutina is the most aggressive hornet among the various species in Hong Kong. Apart from that, it is very fast and agile in flight, being able to hover and pounce quicker than other hornets, and seems to have far better vision too. Furthermore, it seems somewhat smarter than you would expect from an insect. For instance, if you disturb a nest of V. affinis or V. bicolor in a tree, you could just hide behind the tree trunk while they fly round the immediate vicinity of the nest. But if you do the same to a V. velutina nest, the attacking wasps will fly down the tree trunk in a corkscrew pattern and find you! My friend was stung this way a couple of times. Another interesting observation I've noticed about its comparative "intelligence" compared to other hornets - during hot days in Hong Kong, huge numbers of the dragonfly Pantala flavescens fly around in circles in large swarms. V. affinis, V. bicolor and V. velutina will often attack them, usually by launching themselves from foliage of a tree near the swarm. While V. affinis and V. bicolor will attack again and again from the same place if they fail, eventually alarming the dragonflies and making them fly further away, I noticed V. velutina workers which were unsuccessful flying round to another tree and attacking from a completely different angle. This, as well as their speed and agility, is probably why V. velutina has the highest successful capture rate among these three species.
  7. Megascolia do live in Singapore. There are at least 3 species, including Megascolia azurea (quite common in Tampines Eco Green), the one that you saw (haven't identified to species yet) and Megascolia procer (very rare). Also, Polistes sagittarius isn't the only species of Polistes in Singapore, there are a few others too. The problem is that there are very few official records in Singapore as there have been very few studies on bees and wasps here. There are probably lots more just waiting to be discovered.
  8. I'll try to dig up the photos when I can. For the V. velutina workers with brown markings on the thorax, some of them hatched subsequently from pupae, so they were definitely from the same nest. Also, I have never seen this colour form in Hong Kong, so it is really interesting.
  9. Cool, I live in Tampines too. But given the location and behaviour you describe I have an idea what you might have seen - it's probably different from the one I saw. It might have not been a hornet but a Megascolia (a large ground wasp, sometimes known as a mammoth wasp). These things can make even Vespa mandarinia look small at times! Since you say it makes Polistes gigas look like a housefly, I'm guessing that's what you saw. Vespa soror queens are larger than P. gigas, but not all that much. Tampines Eco Green doesn't have the kind of habitat a true giant hornet would be found in, being more open grassland coupled with ponds. On the other hand, I've seen a few of these Megascolia there, including one with a yellow head and an all-black body. Also, when disturbed, they might tend to fly towards you or circle you, which makes them seem aggressive, but in fact it's just an attempt to get their bearings. So the next time you see it, don't worry. Do try to bring a camera along next time and take photos of whatever you see!
  10. Albida is right, that's V. bicolor citriventris, the darker form found in more northerly regions of China and India. I'll try to dig up more photos when I can. It is interesting to note that some V. bicolor in Hong Kong do have this colouration, even in a nest with more "normal" individuals. I have also seen this strange case in Hong Kong, where V. velutina (nigrithorax) have a totally black thorax. However, in a nest I collected, a few individuals had reddish markings on the thorax, looking somewhat like Taiwanese or Southeast Asian colour forms, while others in the nest were normal.
  11. Hi Venomman321, which part of Singapore do you live in, and where did you see that hornet? That sounds interesting - I saw a similar hornet on two or three occasions a few years back but never managed to catch it. But I find it strange that it would have chased you - single hornets don't generally attack.
  12. My deepest condolences, Jeremy. Take as much time as you need.
  13. Terry, I'm really honoured that you think so highly of my book! I have seen that book online. I am pretty sure John sent me a copy. I was moving at the time so I did not know if I'd get it or not so I had it sent to my folks address. Terry, was there a lot written on V. flaviceps in thast book? In fact what was written on V. flaviceps in that book? Not very much has been written on the nominate flaviceps population at all. This would be a great help to my notes on V. flaviceps nom. sp. Anthony, have you completed your move? If you have, I could send you another copy. Drop me an email and give me your current address. There wasn't much on V. flaviceps in that book, since I hadn't found any colonies yet at the time of publication. I only described the behaviour of workers in the wild as well as their rarity and strange seasonality (I've seen both new queens and workers during all seasons of the year in the past).
  14. Michael, this might have come late, but hang in there! You have my deepest condolences, and take comfort that your grandpa is in a better place. Hope all will be well with you and your family.
  15. Welcome back, Jeremy!