How do wasps make their paper nests?


A wasp hornet building it's nest.

A paper house might seem most flimsy, especially in wet weather.

But this does not disturb those paper-house builders, the wasps, whose paper houses seem "to withstand rain.

In the tropics where it really pours, wasps add certain refinements such as a flood-control system.

Undaunted by rain, they lap up water and then regurgitate it away from their house.


How do wasp nest builders make their paper?


A wasp's nest attached to a leave blade.

From old or decayed wood.

Yes, many wasps and hornets were making paper from wood long before, humans began doing this in the nineteenth century of our Common Era.

Humans in fact, seems to have got the idea from these energetic paper-house builders, the wasps.

These insect architects search out bits of soft wood, perhaps from twigs or weather-beaten fence boards.

The mouthful of weathered wood is then mixed with saliva and the mass rolled into a pasty pulp.

This ball of papery substance is held by the insect’s jaw and feet and carried back to the construction site by air freight.

Now the insect architect lays the wet ball against the wall, presses it until it sticks and then rolls or smears it out into a long, curved streak.

To put on the finishing touch, the insect artisan walks along it to thin it out and make it fast to its growing paper house.


Designs of these paper houses


They come in great variety.

One species of hornet constructs a paper house that looks something like a Chinese lantern; the huge oval nest hangs from a low bush or tree and can accommodate more than 10,000 hornets.

Wasps nest looking like a Chinese lantern.

Other wasps make only a single saucer-sized comb, with the open ends of the cells pointing downward.

The largest paper apartment houses are found in the tropics, where the skyscrapers of waspdom may reach several feet in length.

One wasp skyscraper found in Brazil contained some forty-odd stories.

Each floor of the skyscraper was securely anchored to the strong outer wall and all were connected by passageways in lieu of stairs and elevators.

The tropical architects make some amazing edifices.

One wasp in South America builds a nest of reddish-brown paper, then ornaments it with curious stripes, figures and masses of white, pink and green.

The finished house looks like a decorated “cup cake.”

Another species of wasp seems to build windows in its paper home.

Under certain conditions they insert in the outer covering of their home small transparent specks, apparently of mica, up to one-eighth of an inch across.

These are quite evenly distributed over the house each one being framed in a mouthful of pulp.

Some paper-house-building wasps live solitary lives, but even these construct well-designed homes for raising their young.

Skilled artisans indeed are the potter wasps.

They build out of paper symmetrical little urns with a narrow neck expanding into a broad, thin fiangelike lip.

These small jug like homes are set on the upper side of a twig or leaf.

Paralyzed canker worms are stored inside the jug, so when the wasp eggs hatch, the young will have a food supply.

The home is then fitted with a clay lid over the mouth of the jug to protect the eggs.