The forgetful wasp

Mud spots and wasp nests on wall
One morning's work

Not the most attractive photo you’ve ever seen? It’s not the most attractive wall, either, even at the best of times, but something happened to it yesterday morning: a mud-dauber wasp flew into the room with a ball of mud, decided this was a good place for a nest, stuck her mud to the wall, flew off for more mud, flew into the room with a ball of mud, decided this was a good place for a nest but forgot she had already started, stuck her mud to the wall, flew off for more mud, flew into the room with a ball of mud, decided this was a good place for a nest but forgot she had already started, stuck her mud to the wall … etc. Eventually she got as far as a one-third finished nest (bottom), a half-finished nest (middle) and what looks like a finished nest (top). Phew.

I haven’t seen this kind of mistake before although we are familiar with wasps’ very rigid behaviour patterns. The wasp (same species, by the way) which built this nest had to enter the house through the bathroom window, fly through the open bathroom door and into the lounge. If one of us happened to be in the bathroom with the door shut, she would hover, quite baffled, until we opened the door for her.

We are (obviously) very tolerant landlords to little tenants but yesterday’s misguided efforts can’t stay there too long … perhaps we will just leave the finished nest. If all goes well, she will fill it with small spiders (like this nest) and lay an egg in it before sealing it and leaving it.

Here’s our builder at work on the lower of the three nests:

Black and yellow wasp at work
Wasp (Sceliphron sp.) at work

 

One thought on “The forgetful wasp”

  1. Foot-note: I was standing peacefully in a doorway yesterday afternoon when I felt a localised breeze on my bare stomach, then a cool splot! on my bare foot as I glimpsed a mud-dauber zooming back towards the open window in front of me.
    When I looked down, yes, there was a blob of mud on my foot.
    I don’t think this was a revenge attack by the wasp above, however poetic that would be; I think I just blocked the flight path of another nest-builder.

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