Today’s science Sunday post is dedicated to the architecture of a specific group of insects: wasps. On yesterday’s walk I noticed that there was (hopefully) an abandoned wasp nest lying on the ground. I’ve noticed several of these over the months, and have photographed them from a safe distance (just in case there were any stinging residences still present).
You can see that this was part of a nice size wasp colony since there are numerous “honeycomb” openings on the nest. This paper like structure was built from wood fibers that the wasps collected and chewed in to a pulp and then shaped into the “honeycomb” hexagon. Each opening had the potential of becoming hatching grounds for eggs laid by the queen wasp.
So here are some cool little facts about wasps:
They can come in a variety of color.
Cicada killers are a type of wasp.
They all build nests—which they build from wood fibers that they chew into a pulp.
They are either social (these include yellow jackets and hornets) or solitary (cicada killers as an example).
One of the major benefits of wasps is that they are predators to almost all other insect pests (either food or host for the parasitic larvae of solitary wasps; such as cicada killers), and be used to help control agricultural pests around farms and other areas.
If they sting—they can sting more than once (and it also means that you’ve upset the females as they are the ones with the stingers).
I give all members of the wasp family space in the spring, summer and fall—though I will admit that I’ve swatted at yellow jackets mainly because I want to keep them away from my drinks (or food) when I’m outside during the nice weather. Also there are times when I think cicada killers could use glasses for hunting their prey (I’ve had those things buzz me way to often during the day).
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