Saturday, September 6

Wasp Fluffing

6th September
Below the Lovely House there is a sunny, overgrown path sloping down to the lake, densely inhabited with Wasp Spiders (Argiope).
The Camera Boys have been hunkered down on this alley (not today, it’s pouring comme vache qui pisse) trying to film Mrs Wasp Spider catching and wrapping up some prey. This has been going on for days. There is a wasp’s nest close to the house and rubber-gloved boys swoop around with large butterfly nets trying to catch wasps which are then loaded into catapults and propelled into the spider’s web. Surprisingly difficult to film this one, many wasps end up getting overshot or fly away before they hit the web.
Crickets and grasshoppers are good though. These animals are completely random with their jumping, they just take off and hope for the best, often landing in a bad place like a spider’s web. Sometimes one of them will just catch the web with the coarse bit of a leg, he'll dangle there, trying to keep as still as possible, looking a bit worried, while he works out how to jump clear before the spider notices him - and sometimes he succeeds - and leaps straight into another web.

Note 1:
In the spider's world the girls are usually much bigger than the boys, sometimes to same sort of ratio as a London bus and it's conductor. We film the bigger thing because it's easier - plus the girls are usually much better at hunting.

Note 2: The correct term for a person who handles and tries to control animals on set is a 'wrangler’ but we prefer fluffer. The fluffing job can involve brushing the insects off if they're looking a bit dusty and clearing the set of extraneous debris such as unnecessary foliage or other beasts who might have wandered on set.


  1. Oh wow. who are these 'boys' with such a fabulous wasp fluffing job? Can I become one? I caught a toad with my bare hands recently. AND weed on a moth. Please?

  2. Hi jaywalker,
    We have a fluctuating population here but it's mostly me and three chaps and is probably not unlike your household.

    The job does involve getting stung a bit and standing around A LOT, but being prepared to wee on things when necessary is a useful talent. I've got you on file

  3. Are you aware (I came by this information, so to speak, from an article in one of the "underground" papers in Philadelphia)... "fluffing" is what porn performers do to orally .... um... solidify... the waning interest of their male stars?

  4. ah yes, fluffer, I regret I am one of those who knew the term without doing Wiki. In the industry those with "wood" are much sought after and highly paid .... How did you know that, anyway?

  5. A reporter for either the Philadelphia Weekly or City Paper did a piece on shooting a porn film. A strange way to term the job... it does stick in the memory.

  6. I KNEW I was in the wrong job...

  7. I have no idea how you wandered by my blog, but I'm so glad you did - yours is fascinating! What an interesting combination of topics! BTW, I spent a couple weeks this summer blogging about the web and nest building of a giant spider that camped out above our door. Fascinating creatures, even if she did freak out my friends.


Related Posts with Thumbnails