zzzzzzzzzzzzzz! ZZZZZZZZZZ! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
What's that high pitched buzzing sound?
I looked up and saw this strange tube clinging to the verandah wall above my head. Whatever is it? And why is it making that noise? When in doubt, consult the internet.
It's the home of the "Organ Pipe" Mud Dauber Wasp.
The Mud Dauber wasp builds her nest by carrying balls of mud in her mouth and sculpting it into a tube shape. As she does this, she makes a loud high pitched buzzing noise.... that's the sound I heard.
Update: the buzzing sound is Mama wasp beating her wings at high speed to dry the mud!
When Mama wasp is satisfied that the nest tube is long enough, she flies off in search of juicy spiders. She catches them, stings them into submission and paralyses them, and pops them into the nest, stocking the larder.
Then she lays her single egg on one of the comatose spiders.
Now it's time to seal the tube with more chewed up mud, and start on the next nursery tube. The egg hatches, and Lo and Behold! the baby wasp larvae can feast on fresh spider meat every day, thoughtfully provided by Mama.
A bit of a shock for the spiders though.
However, I gave the nest a shot of Raid.... sorry Mama, please build your elegant nest somewhere else.