So I am a newb when it comes to keeping wasps -- but I am going to do it right so I am going to update and share my project here.
Before I go down a bad path... I would love for someone to poke a few holes in it to improve my project. So here are my plans...
My goal is to get the biggest, happiest, and most thriving European Paper Wasp nest possible. I want it to have a few hundred cells and hopefully a hundred or more wasps by the end of the year.
This is what I am going to be doing, and I will keep it all updated.
1. Build Cage -- see picture below. It is a wooden box that is 2ft by 2ft by 2ft. The top and bottom are solid pieces of wood, and the spaces between are fitted with a metal screen.
The bottom has hinges and opens by having the cage lift above it. This was done to prevent escapes but allowing me to feed them -- there will also be another door in the screen ... probably. (if I find it is needed) -- the screen will be secured to the wood by staples.
2. Hot glue a wasp nest to a semi-dome area that makes them feel safe... this slight dome area is hot glued to the ceiling of the wasp cage. The starting wasp nest will have about 3-7 larvea/pupea on it, and one Queen foundress.
3. Since genetically unrelated wasps will join other nest and help them build, I want to relocate 2-3 more queen wasps to the nest and cage --Think this is a bad idea/problem? I want to do this to "jump start" the nest into the season so it can become as large as possible as fast as possible.
The added queens will stop laying eggs and become subordinate females that work for the most dominant queen - from what I have read... This will increase the ability for the nest to grow in cell number, and help the larvae get fed.
4. Provide them with a large list of foods and building materials, such as:
>1. Worms, waxworms, damsel flies, flies (wings removed, maybe recently killed), small spiders, ear wigs, hamburger, crickets -- essentially any bug that is soft bodied.
>2. Fruit - things like oranges, apples, bananas, etc..
>3. honey/sugar water (I know wasps drink out of hummingbird feeders often)
>4. shredded plant material like ground up (in a blender) straw, things like boiled and moist newspaper and cardboard. Dried leafs, dried horse manure (horses hardly digest plant material and I think this will be helpful) and other things..
>5. Maybe give them a tray with moist soil, and a few seedings/grass sprouts.
My Questions are the following:
1. Can you see anything wrong with my plan?
2. Do you think it will be fine to add several other queens to a pre-existing nest with a queen already on it?
3. What are the best materials to feed wasps for best health, growth, and reproduction?
4. What are the best materials to give to wasps for them to build nests?
5. Do you think it is fine allowing them to come and go from the cage as they please?It will be kept partially inside and partially outside... not moved, but just in a location that is sort of outside and sort of inside -- like in a garage.
6. What else can I possibly do to help these out as much as possible? I want the only limiting factor to be their ability to grow and build the nest -- I want them to have food, water, and building materials in absolute and total excess.
Edited by burbles, 16 May 2012 - 07:49 PM.