Way back in September of 2014 we published a post showing the interior of a large paper wasp nest that had fallen to the ground and broken into pieces. We tried to collect the pieces and show you what the interior of the nest looked like before it was broken. Since that time I have thought about cutting down a nest intact to try to get more detailed pictures of an entire nest.
One thing we learn in retirement is that generally all one needs to do is wait and things will come around!
We have a fair amount of overhang on all four sides of our roof and these eaves provide a perfect protected site for nest construction.
Most of the time the wasps prefer the higher more protected areas.
Mary and I generally have a live and let live attitude with wildlife and these wasps are not aggressive, so as long as they keep their nest high and away from our doors and patio, we let them build their unique homes.
But a few months ago I walked around behind our house and saw a rather large nest that was near a back door and was only about seven feet above the walkway. I sprayed the nest with insecticide and waited many months to make sure that all of the wasps had vacated the premises.
Today Javier and I carefully cut the one foot long nest down for some closer inspection.
The above view is from the bottom showing the entry hole. Before I sprayed the nest scores of wasps were working feverishly preparing to add a new layer to the nest. When we cut the nest down a few of the top layers were dislodged, but most of the nest remained intact.
Using my folding knife, I carefully cut the fragile nest along the side.
The paper-thin bottom layer broke off revealing the last layer of egg nooks. The paper that fell off was thin like the old onion skin typing paper we used to have in the 1960s.
But, most of the nest held together revealing thirteen or fourteen distinct layers of nesting nooks in the traditional hexagon pattern seen in bee hives.
I expected to see hundreds of dried up dead wasps inside the nest, but I certainly was surprised to find what appeared to be wasps scurrying about inside the nest! There were a few dead wasps laying in the exposed nest.
But the scurrying critters were actually ants busily carting off the dead wasps and the remaining eggs from the upper nooks.
As you can see the ants have already removed the eggs and most of the adult wasps.
But, even though I had moved the nest and cut it open, the ants worked on. You can see an ant carrying a wasp egg to the old exit in a workman-like manner oblivious to the changed state of affairs.
Nothing goes to waste here as the ants demonstrate the “circle of life,” bringing sustenance to their nest from the old wasp’s nest.
We hope you enjoyed this look into something many of us would never see – demonstrating again that…
Life is good in Ecuador!