Grand Designs of the Wasp World I

[Here is another post that I saved from a warmer month, to provide material to keep me going through this bleaker time of year.]

The three little pigs built their houses out of straw, sticks, or bricks. And so do wasps.

Imagine a wasp’s nest. Paper, hanging from a tree or some eaves, right? Well yes, but that is not the whole story.

These wasps build their nests of mud (bricks!):

Mud dauber wasp nest

And add to them year by year:

Mud dauber wasp nest

The stucco nests are made by the Black-and-Yellow Mud-dauber wasp, which collects little balls of mud from puddles, and carries it to its building site. The different sources of mud produce the multi-coloured effect. 

The Grass-carrying Wasp, Isodontia mexicana, builds its nest of grass (straw!):

Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana

These solitary wasps wriggle into crevices, like this one between two shingles, where they lay their eggs:

Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana

Then they carry grass in their mandibles and seal the hole up:

Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana

In this last photo you can just see an empty papery whitish carcass of a tree cricket which they stash to feed their larvae.

Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana

Next time, I’ll return to those familiar paper nests, made of masticated wood pulp (wood!), and take you into their innermost workings.

3 thoughts on “Grand Designs of the Wasp World I”

    1. We had a grass carrying wasp last year that repeatedly built its nest in our nightly closed pool umbrella. Every morning when we opened it grass and numerous dead crickets would fall out!


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