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busy insects

May 18, 2014
nest of a mud dauber wasps

nest of mud dauber wasps

As we didn’t leave our mooring in Savusavu for a while there was plenty of space available for wasps and bees to build nests.
Mud dauber wasps prefer building on the main sail inside the cover, I felt really sorry for them as they fell off as we put it up for the first time. They build a nest and then put spiders in as food for the babies, very interesting!
Some of the larvae dried out, no idea why. But some were still growing, Hannes didn’t let me keep them in a jar so they were food for the fish.

they find every hole

they find every hole

The other busy species we have are small bees, they find every hole there is to plaster mud into and then they also put caterpillars in with their egg. It’s funny to watch them fly with this heavy loads, they hardly make it, and it’s at least 50m over open water. We leave them in peace, after a while we find holes as the new bees came out.

hatched and chewed it's way out

hatched and chewed it’s way out

The wasps are also funny fliers, the kind of careen around and bump into things, like us or the satinless steel posts, makes a ping and on they go as nothing happened, with a mudball they are even funnier to watch.

That’s what I found on the internet about our guests, interesting:

The black and yellow mud dauber’s nest comprises a series of cylindrical cells that are plastered over to form a smooth nest that may attain nearly the size of a human fist. After building a cell, the female wasp captures several spiders. The captured prey are stung and paralyzed before being placed in the nest, and then a single egg is deposited on the prey within each cell. The wasp then seals the cell with mud. After finishing a series of cells, she leaves and does not return. Eventually, the hatching larva will eat the prey and emerge from the nest.

by wikipedia

The wasp first finds a place to build her nest, usually in a sheltered situation such as beneath a rock overhang. Once she establishes a suitable location, she flies off to a patch of mud and rolls up a ball with her jaws and front legs. She then flies off with this pea-sized load and plasters it to the construction site she chose earlier.

Once she has laid down a layer of mud on the surface of the substrate, she begins fashioning a three-dimensional cell. Each subsequent load of mud makes a “rib” that reaches across half the span of the cell she is building. The arcs from either side meet at the middle, dovetailing nicely with each other and the adjacent ribs on the same side. Once the cell is completed, leaving an opening at one end, she may plaster more mud over the ribs, obliterating the initial artistic appearance of the cell.

A finished cell is then provisioned with paralyzed spiders captured by the wasp. She uses her sting to subdue her prey, but does not kill it. A comatose spider won’t spoil before her larval offspring has a chance to feed on it. Many spiders are harvested and packed into the cell. The wasp usually lays an egg on the first spider to go into the cell. Orb weavers and crab spiders seem to make up the bulk of prey, but the wasps are opportunists and will not hesitate to take other kinds of spiders.

Most female mud daubers make more than one cell, the next one placed immediately beside the previous one. The whole series of cells may then be covered in mud, making it look like some mischievous teenager hurled a clod onto a wall. Not very pretty, but an effective fortress against parasites.

by ‘bug Eric’

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