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Vespa crabro

The biggest one belonged to the genus Vespa. It’s called hornet.

In spring a female starts to build her nest and produces the first eggs from that will born new subjects (all females).

In autumn the ‘queen’ stops to produces eggs and when the latest is opened the queen stops her hormone production and other females with new males can reproduct themselves, also mixing themselves with other subjects of other nests. This for improving genetic variabilities.

The old queen with her court dies at the end of autumn, the males after mating also die. Only the young fecundate females  pass the winter in protect places, so in the next spring the cycle re-start again with new subjects.

The beautiful nest is made by rotten wood shaped by mouth of vespa up to procuce a sort of paper.

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Chenopodium album.

Chenopodium album, called white goosefoot, lamb’s quarters or melde (in Italian ‘farinetto’ or ‘farinaccio’).

It’s considered a weed in corn and potatos field such as in ornamental and veggie garden, but in Asia or Africa it’s grown as food (like spinach) for men and animals (chickens and poultry).

Its pollen may cause to hay fever and allergies.

But it has a useful role for our plants: it attracts leaf miners and the  beet leafhopper, which transmits curly top virus to beet crops.

Leaves and young shoots may be eaten  like spinach, but its high levels of oxalic acid have to be considered in case of kidney stones, rheumatism, arthritis and gout.

It produces black little seeds rich in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.

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