The more I learn about bees and wasps, the more I come to admire them. They are not unlike soldiers, they work together, they will bravely lay down their lives to protect their hive and their queen, they have uniforms, they are divided into ranks. They are also much more intelligent than you might think, their brains may be small but they are far more compartmentalised and compact than that of a mammal. They have quite sophisticated methods of communication, they build large elaborate nests, they have an incredible ability to navigate, they can learn to recognise simple patterns, faces, types of flower and other things and they are capable of counting, this makes them more intelligent than many mammals. But in colonies where there are hundreds or thousands of them working together they form a complicated social intelligence that can learn incredibly quickly and as all the bees or wasps in one colony are essentially clones of each other each colony has it`s own distinct personality that like humans can be more or less good but can also be incredibly evil and malignant. Bees are probably more intelligent than wasps, living a largely peaceable agricultural sort of life that requires a greater degree of sophistication than the wasps hunter gatherer lifestyle. While honey bee colonies survive the winter huddled up together living off their supply of honey, for wasps the coming of winter in temperate environments means death to every wasp except fertilised queens who hibernate but frequently freeze to death. Late autumn is a brutal time for wasps, there is less and less food and much of it is increasingly rotten, the cold starts to kill them off, they become more and more desperate and aggressive struggling ever harder to survive. But over millions of years insects have picked up many tricks, ants for example have been known to build boats, keep slaves and cultivate fungus and aphids. Bees can communicate and navigate in many ways more effectively than humans. What can wasps do?, humans are not the first creatures to meddle with the supernatural. No, wasps have had their own superstitions and their own strange form of religion since long before the first humans. It started out as parasitism where wasps would incapacitate other invertebrates, lay its eggs inside it and bury it in its nest until after a while the egg would become a larvae that would eat its host from the inside. When wasps started to become social animals this became unnecessary, but the practice was slow to die out, after some time they began to practice this on members of rival colonies and then on sick and dying members of their own hive. The wasp nests at one end had a set of special enlarged sections for this purpose, but this negatively effected the structural integrity of the nest so separate nests were built underground. Eventually this strategy proved ineffective and the queens started laying eggs in a normal fashion but some species in a strange evolutionary quirk continued to build separate underground nests, and continued to bury dead and dying wasps inside it and even provided them with food to feed the non-existent larvae. This was in the wasps heyday, they were top of the food chain, filling out a brand new evolutionary niche they could afford to waste food and labour on building giant necropolis a new class of wasp emerged essentially filling the role of priest who protected these great catacombs and dug and maintained them. Wasp nests then grew to much greater sizes than they do now so for the largest and most successful the tunnels which grew and grew with each generation became enormous, artificial structures not matched until the birth of civilisation. How did this practice continue to such a great degree? Wasps have souls, one soul will have very little effect on anything generally moving on to other things after a while. But a nest of wasp souls is something else they stick together and look after each other like they did in life. Back in those days strange and nameless terrors stalked the earth, sucking the life force from anything it encountered. Not that anyone would notice but as soon as it encountered an animal that animal would be plagued by bad luck and ill health until it died. Where these beings came from I don`t know but I know where they went. The colonies of dead wasps could do little to effect the physical world but they could protect their former colonies against these strange beings, they could sting them eventually to death if need be then they would eat them feeding their queens who would lay more eggs that would lead to more wasp spirits. This way any spiritual being who got to near one of these wasp nests would find themselves in trouble and as these wasps did not really die but reproduced, soon there were billions of them in one colony these were large enough to intervene in the physical world making the hives with the largest catacombs completely invulnerable from almost anything. Though this was not to last natural disasters, climate change, war between rival colonies and species saw that the once great colonies became abandoned and the catacombs lost. Natural selection quickly meant the races of wasp that carried out these burial practices soon lost those instincts. But the great super-natural swarms still exist and wasps even to this day still retain some of their semi-religious practices. Wasps in their own strange way still offer up wasp-like prayers to the super-natural swarms with different colonies venerating different swarms. They believe some places to be sacred. Some wasps are shamanistic they make contact with these swarms and conduct rituals in their own undecipherable way. Of course over time these swarms have become less and less anchored to the physical world and wasps in general have become more and more irreligious or in some cases monotheistic. But that does not mean there is no connection when dying wasps encounter one of these swarms they join them and every now and again a particularly spiritual wasp is guided into an opening in the ground and goes through a series of caves tunnels some so small that it can barely fit and it comes upon one of these ancient catacombs where it joins a huge colony of priest wasps who help keep the swarms anchored to this world. This has been going on for millions of years but luckily the spiritual world is larger than the physical so there is enough room. As insects are the oldest and most populous group of animals on the planet it is no surprise they dominate the spiritual world and wasps play and important part. In life they serve a useful purpose by eating pests to the extent that without them entire ecosytems would be over run. As in life they do this in death and as it happens one of the biggest pests in the spiritual world are humans, magicians, necromancers and sorcerers all face the risk of being stung to death by invisible wasps if they stray to far into the unknown. Wasps are also keen on decaying fruit nothing else will touch, in this respect to wasps are the same in death for when someone old, weak or ill is dying more often than not death will come for them not in the form of a skeleton wearing a cloak but a hoard of wasps eager to feast on the remains.