Many insects are capable of architecture much beyond our imagination. One such is depicted in the picture below.
The adult wasps use the same raw material that we use to make paper – wood. They use their strong mandibles to scrape wood from barks, stems of trees or for that matter any other source. The raw material so obtained is chewed and mixed with their saliva to form a paste like material. Out of this they shape their paper nest. Inside these upturned little paper pots, are hexagonal cells. These cells will house larvae which will go on to form the next generation of wasps.
Early stages of a Hornet’s nest
One can see these paper nests in cities too! The nests are usually attached to branches of trees or some sheltered place. In fact, the above picture was taken in a residence in Bangalore. I have also seen them in the forests that clothe the hills of Chikmagalur and at Nandi Hills.
Related to the paper wasps are a group of wasps known as the potter wasps. These creatures use mud as the raw material. So, what results out of their efforts are beautiful tiny mud pots! These wasps also use the pot as a nursery for the next generation. The pots can often be seen in the corners of buildings, in tree crevices and similar places. Very often we may have even passed a pot for a lump of mud.
Wasps build a variety of structures. It can be the simple wall built across the opening of a electrical socket in our homes by that tiny black wasp to the complex structures described above.
If ever you have an opportunity to observe one of these hardworking little creatures – do not miss it. It can be a fascinating experience to observe the wasps building their nest.