Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mud Dauber Wasp

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.

Amazing!

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.

18 comments:

Shrinky said...

What, you didn't rescue the spider first??

And here was I getting all soft and mushy until that final line.. haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Ann's Art said...

I'd never heard of them, very clever but also creepy - I expect you're constantly looking for more of them now.

EG Wow said...

Interesting wasp but I'm quite certain I wouldn't want that living above my veranda either!

Suldog said...

Sounds similar in hunting style to "my" cicada-killer wasps...

http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com/2010/06/return-of-return-of-cicada-killers.html

photowannabe said...

That seems like a lot of work for just one wasp. Of course I think one wasp is one too many....
Fascinating. Hope the raid did the trick for you.

Ash said...

Interesting!

Craver Vii said...

I'd like to hear that high-pitch buzzing once. But just once.

Spencer Park said...

I love spiders but hate wasps - so top marks!

Willie said...

How fascinating. Motherhood at its best ... she makes a nursery and makes sure her baby has food even although she will never see it. Such an amazing instinct.

madretz said...

Very interesting, but I'd have to agree that I don't like them in my space either.

Arti said...

So very well presented post!!
Never heard of those wasps...
The pic is interesting... I am sacred of these creepy crawly insects!!
Have a fabulous day:)

Expat Traveler said...

I don't like those wasps either. We've got either wasps or hornets out on the sand at the park and I don't even want to go over there. Hope they leave too!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It is amazing! BUt kind of creepy-crawley, too...I understand it is how nature works---and it is rather miraculous--BUT, I hope I never have to deal with one of these Mud Tunes and use Raid....UGH!

LOL! My Verification word is BOGICITY!

Dumdad said...

Fascinating! But I'd use the Raid too.

Charles Ravndal said...

I don't like wasps and I squash them without any hesitation when I spot one.

Ming the Merciless said...

I had a nest of hornets under deck last summer. I could get to them easily so I poured hot water from the top. It took three tries before I got rid of them totally.

BTW, I enjoyed the information you provided on wasps and spiders.

Ginnie said...

HAHAHA! She never knew what hit her! This is a new wasp nest for me, Sham...never heard of it or seen one in my life. Who would have thought...such ingenuity!

Victoria said...

Thanks for stopping by my vacation blog and dropping a comment on my travelogue of Sweden. I'm continuing the saga as I find time but swear it is hard to sort through so many images!

Meantime, I decided to stop by and visit you and am glad I did... enjoyed reading stories about the grandchildren (the new twins are amazing) and especially enjoyed this story about the mud dauber wasp... fascinating! And I too would have sprayed the next because these stingers don't have any place near me! Lovely photo to illustrate the story.