natural pottery in wasps.

few would associate pottery with wasps but it is true that ancient indian pottery may have been derived from a group of wasps of the family, Vespidae. i’m not usually a big fan of wasps but i recently woke up and discovered a long insect hovering near the ceiling of my room. i was further intrigued by the behavior of the wasp to shift from one position (closer to the edge of the wall) to another by destroying the first (mistake) and moving the material (mostly mud and regurgitated water) to a safer distance from the edge. here’s a picture of how the wasp looks like:

yellow potter wasp (also mason wasp)

photo adapted from devianArt: Chaudhary, P (2007) from http://kaipu.deviantart.com/art/Yellow-Potter-Wasp-54045489

The species found in my room, Phimenes flavopictus, had an interesting thin waist with black and yellow patterns in the abdomen. These wasps are usually solitary and lays only one egg in each nest (pot-shaped). I observed the entire process of nest-building and i realized that the wasp only visits once in the day-time, at specifically 8.30-9.00am over 6 days. i also noted that each time it visits, it carries a tiny caterpillar in its mandibles and places it through the tiny neck of the nest.

although the adult wasp seems disturbed by another organism (namely me) in the same room, and occasionally threatens me by closing in on my face, it is not usually aggressive like hornets or yellow-jackets and contain venom that will only harm highly allergic individuals (Linton, 2006). having stung by honey bees and survived, i was undaunted and continued to observe this magnificent creature.

Needless to say, these wasps are beneficial to most gardeners because they prey on pests such as caterpillar, beetle larva and adult wasps may also feed on nectar from inflorescence, thereby pollinating flowers (Linton, 2006). The tiny insects are fed live to the wasp larvae and each nest may contain from up to 12 paralyzed caterpillars. the adult wasp (usually female) will then seal the pot to protect the larvae from predation by ants or geckos and it looks like this:

(pot) in my room.

sweet nature in my room. taken today at 10:03pm.

my hope for this creature is of course its due maturation in the midst of human interference such as fogging (which is scheduled in this week in pgpr).

Reference:

Linton, E. (2006). Beneficial insects in the garden: #30 Potter Wasp (Eumenes sp.). Texas A&M University.