Back in July we posted some photos of a remarkably large elongated paper wasp nest hanging from a tree limb in our neighbor’s yard.
The wasps were actively working to make this three foot long nest even longer, so we determined to leave it alone and perhaps get some pictures of its’ construction after it fell from the tree.
About two weeks ago while Eileen and Jeff were visiting we noticed that the nest had either fallen or was knocked down from the tree. I went down with my camera and looked for pieces of the nest on the ground. A small portion of the nest was still in place high up on the branch.
The rest of the nest had broken into sections which had been compartments in the long nest. I collected a handful of the sections and brought them home to look at them in more detail.
Each of the layers are concave circles with one side full of cell-like compartments and the other smooth paper-like substance. All of these sections probably weighed less than an ounce, so the entire three foot long nest was probably weighed less than a pound when empty of wasps.
The cell-like compartments presumably each held a wasp egg and was vacated when the wasps were born. The birthing cells were positioned upside down when the nest was hanging in the tree, so the newborn wasps would drop down to the smooth side and flow toward an exit hole which would lead the newborn to the birthing compartment directly below his or her compartment.
The newborn wasp would keep falling/crawling downward until it emerged at the exit hole where adult wasps were working away creating new layers of birthing compartments always carefully keeping the exit path open.
I tried to stack the pieces that I had collected in a way to show its’ original design. The nest is made of thin paper-like substance and is very fragile, so most of the nest was broken after falling the fifteen feet or so to the ground. Still these pictures show a bit how the nest looked when it was together.
The last picture is actually upside down from the original.
I am sure that some of you insect lovers are wondering what the poor wasps are doing now that their nest has fallen. I know I did. So for the last few days I have been searching the trees in our area to see if I could spot any new nests.
Sure enough, while I was walking Nakita (our friend’s dog we are watching this week) I spotted this nest in a tree about forty feet from the fence line high up in an acacia tree that is currently leafless.
A closer look shows that the ever vigilant worker wasps are busy building a new nesting site for future generations of San Clemente wasps.
This nest is far from occupied houses and is high up in an open field area, so perhaps the wasps will be left alone to make a new nest even longer and bigger than the one from Heinz’s yard. I will periodically monitor its’ progress here where…
Life is (buzzing-ly) good in Ecuador!