Argh! It’s a hornet?! (No, it’s only a mummy potter wasp)

A student of mine was MSN-ing me questions about out module and when she finished told me about a recent incident in her house. A flying insect was building a nest in their home and they were nervous about it. After a few calls describing the nest, they were told it was a hornet’s nest. With her mum freaking out anyway, her dad closed the windows to prevent repeat visits of the insect and destroyed the nest. They found blue and green grub inside.

So she asked me about it and I told her about potter wasps. She sent me these photos and its identity was confirmed – a potter wasp mummy!

So I explained essentially that the harmless mummy wasp had been building each cell by harvesting little clay bits from around the estate – you can see where she dropped some bits. Two of the cells were complete and she was working on a third. She would have been hunting for caterpillars to paralyse with her venom and transport back to the third cell. This fresh meat is for the as yet unhatched egg she would lay later. The “blue and green grub” they saw in the broken down cells were probably the prey. Finally when all the cells are complete, mummy wasp will cement the lot up and fly away.

I pointed her to my old blog posts on potter wasps, including the one at my door in 2005. She found it fascinating! It was a pity she was not able to observe the process to completion – if successful, she would have eventually seen a tiny hole announcing the emergence of the young wasp. But she explained, harmless or not, her mum was freaking out anyway! It’s not an uncommon reaction for urban Singaporeans. Perhaps if she tells her mum the story, it might make a difference if a wasp ever visits again one day.

I’m waiting for a revisit!

Thansk to yels.

CPR and AED familiarisation


Last Wednesday I attended a CPR and AED familiarisation course at NUS’ SRC Dance Studio. I went partly to decide if it should be suggested to the biodiversity group.

The relative incompetence of the class (myself included) dissipated during the two hours spent on CPR and AED. The 30 mins of practical training with a mannequin and AED device helped considerably and the fact everyne was serious. There was one joker who probably felt awkward about the drills but my group simply ignored him and kept their focus.

The practise sessions were conducted in small groups at a 1:5 ratio due to instructors from OSHE, Wellness and a few other places. It made for a modest but effective session with all objectives achieved.

While this was definitely not a first aid course the two hour session equips individuals to provide proper CPR assistance to family or lab members – correct administration of CPR pushes blood to the brain in lieu of a pumping heart and improves the chances of victim survival. Furthermore the supportive role of AED is clarified to the class as it does not replace CPR. The person conducting CPR really needs to stay focused until the AED is setup, and the patient prepared before the AED users informs him its setup. Improper use or knowledge may impede assistance and possibly even contribute problems so even this short training is critical.

Bondi lifeguards apply CPR and use the AED – the whole sequence right to recovery position.
And what a relief when they say, “It’s okay mate…” and Takahiro Ono remembers his name!
Taken from Bondi Rescue Series 1, Ep 4 (2006) and Australian Screen’s Teacher’s Notes.

I recall Keropokman went for an AED introductory session last November. That was not enough so he needs to go for a session like this one :-). Just like we intend for the staff and graduate students in the biodiversity group to attend this as well.

Collectively the instructors who conduct the training are able to effectively answer all the queries posed, which were certainly varied! Doesn’t the plastic suffocate the patient? Sessions are comfortably conducted at the SRC Dance Studio, opposite YIH in groups of 20. NUS staff can book a session through this webpage. You’ll find yourself much more confident after.

There have been two casualties of heart failure of some sort in NUS last year. One to whom first aid was applied but it was just his time, and another who did not receive any CPR assistance. We regret their loss and the CPR and AED course is one step in improving the capability of colleagues.

The AED unit near my block is located in the loading bay between S2 and S1A.

In the video above, it was lucky the lifeguards all happened to be nearby; it’s used for teaching in many schools now, including this NUS course! For further inspiration, read about our own Esther Tan: “Student saves heart attack man in Holland Road,” by Ong Rui Lin. The Electric New Paper, 26th February 2006. ‘I was still shaking back in school’. And see “When Hearts Stop: CPR & Defibrillators”.

NTU Bike Rally 2008 preparations

I got most of cycling kakis to ensure they registered for the NTU Bike Rally 2008 and the cheque for Joelle finally posted off last week.

I was ill in March, then it was Lekowala’s turn recently and in between I lost some precious Saturday mornings to coastal cleanup preparatory work and other volunteer projects. End result – no km clocked at all since February I believe!

So its time to get reacquainted with the bike. Morning route possibilities include Kranji Reservoir, Changi Village and Marina South before hitting NUS – definitely next week when its all exams and marking. So I better stick some clothes in the office.

I will also be joining May’s practice rides which escalate distances each week until we are ready for the 128km ride.