20120620

Insect post - Common Mud-Dauber Wasp

Yesterday morning I noticed a wasp trying to get out of the apartment, hitting the window, buzzing around... You know, the usual wasp stuff. So, naturally, I let her out, but then - surprise! She came back. So I got intrigued, and observed her for a while, and then I noticed she keeps returning with something in her mouth, and flies straight to the back of one of the images hanging on the wall. I took the picture down and there it was - a pot-like nest she was making for the larva:
The mud is still wet on this picture.
Why do I keep saying 'she' and 'her'? In this species of mud-daubers, sceliphron formosum, it is the female alone that builds the nest. She brings the mud, makes the pot, puts in some spiders for food, lays a larva and then closes the nest cell - and it all takes about two days. She will usually build five to seven cells, and then return in few weeks when the larvae had hatched. Unfortunately for this one, it's not going to happen - I can't really let a wasp colony squat my apartment. So I moved the picture, the wasp returned and couldn't find it, which was honestly terribly sad to watch, and then flew away for good. I was surprised that she couldn't find it, since I moved the picture less than a meter away, and at one point I even waved it around her. The smell didn't change since I didn't touch the nest, but I guess something did change and she was unable to recognize it. I hope she will find a better place to build her new nest. Anyway, here she is:
Sceliphron formosum

20120622 UPDATE
The wasp returned! And is now building more nest cells behind another image on the wall, after closing the first one. I guess I'll just let her stay, since she apparently likes my apartment very much. I don't blame her for that.
New nest cells

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