Wasp Paper nest (Fibers in nature)

A fallen paper nest of wasp was seen outside my bedroom window. It was empty and probably the wasps had flown away. I picked it up to observe its structure through a foldscope. I was able to see a criss-cross of fibers inter-woven to form hexagonal compartments of a wasp nest.

There are different kinds of wasps and they make paper nests of different  size, shape, and even their location varies. Some paper wasps build umbrella-shaped nests hanging on windows and beams or construct football-shaped nests. While, some of the nests are formed underground.

The wasps are expert paper makers. They can turn raw wood into hexagonal paper nests. Usually a wasp queen scrapes bits of wood fiber from fences, posts , logs or plant stems and then breaks the wood fibers down in her mouth, using saliva and water and then flies to her chosen nest site with mouth full of the soft paper pulp. After chewing, the wasp adds the pulpy paste to the nest structure and spreads it out with her mandibles and legs. When it dries; a tough, durable paper is formed. Nests of these type are oriented downward and are suspended by a single filament.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Juda,

    What a beautiful post. Absolutely love the architecture and microscopic elements. It’s indeed a wonder where the design of this is stored in wasps head. As a solitary organism – I assume they are following a simple rule (spider webs come to mind). Do you know if anyone has filmed a wasp making the nest? Would be a great time lapse.

    Keep exploring – beautiful work. I would not have thought that the fiber architecture would be preserved after all the chewing – but here it is 🙂


  2. JDua says:

    Thanks a lot sir for your motivation. It was amazing to see the intricate work of wasps making such beautiful paper nests.
    Foldscope has instigated us to explore our surroundings more.

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