Looking for insects in Winter - Nature Notes

For the insect photographer Winter can be long and depressing, so I often resort to seeking out small invertebrates wherever I can find them. Heavy rain in the week before Christmas brought some flooding to the river, the debris left as a strand line is one good place to look. Small beetles such as Stenus species are forced out of the flooded area and end up deposited along with leaves and twigs, for a day or two after the water has gone down they are easily found before they disperse. A few minutes sifting debris produced 4 or 5 species, plus some other Staphilinae, Carabid ground beetles and ground bugs.

The winds associated with the heavy rain also blew down an old Wasp Dolichovespula sylvestris nest in our garage. the nest had been abandoned with some larvae and pupae, which had then died. Lots of beetle larvae were feeding on the remains of the insects, and also I suspect the actual paper of the nest it’s self. I hope to rear some of these to find out what they are, some are likely to be a spider-beetle Ptinus fur, an adult of which was in the nest. A number of spiders, lacewings and flies were also in the nest, I assume using it as place to hibernate rather than a food source.
[Ptinus fur
Ptinus fur

Wasp NestWasp Nest