Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wondering what a wasp was doing.

Have you ever had one of those “Aha Moments”? Well, I just figured out something that I never knew before, and never thought of before. Let me tell you how it came about.

It seemed like every time that I went out or came in my back screened door on my screened in porch, there was a wasp on the door. Since wasps are not uncommon for this area, I never gave it any thought. When I opened the door, it would fly away and not bother me. It never attempted to sting me, just flew away but always came back. (Now, I was assuming that there was just one wasp, but since they all look the same to me, there may have been different ones.)

This has been going on for some time, and just the other day I decided to take a closer look to see if I could figure out why that wasp was always on that door and close to the same place. I didn’t think it would have been stupid enough to try to build a nest there. I was out side and saw him land on the door again. I walked slowly up to the door and took a close look at what it was doing. It looked like it was eating my door!! It was nibbling little grooves in the wood.

Then it hit me. AHA!!! They need wood to make their paper nests. For over 68 years I have never wondered where a wasp gets it “paper”. In that “aha moment”, it all came to me. They chew the wood, mixing it with their saliva or secretions of some kind, and then spitting it out to form the “paper” that their nests are built of.

This morning, before I posted the above, I Googled it and found this information that confirmed my “aha” moment:

Nests are built from wood fiber collected from posts and occasionally from live plant stems, causing some plant damage. This fiber is chewed and formed into a single paper-like comb of hexagonal cells.”

This information came from this site:

That was not my first “aha” moment, just my latest one. I am sure you all have had such moments, like “aha, my brother was an only child” or “aha, if I only had brains I would be smarter”, or “aha, your right, this is a dull subject”. . .


  1. Thank you, I never even thought to figure out where they got the material. By the way, I do not like paper wasps. They hurt me.

  2. Aha! You are a brilliant man, DD. I never knew this either, but now I do, thanks to this info. During a recent homework assignment for my Women in Science class, I learned that a local professor (the late Maxine Abbott) discovered a termite nest in Big Bend National Park. Upon study, a group of geologists and biologists determiend that the nest was from the Upper Cretaceous period (ended about 65 million years ago)! And the nest is recognized as the oldest known termite nest; unique, too, is that it is a rare piece of evidence proving social behavior in insects. Thanks for feeding the brain today.

  3. Never knew that either, DD, thx. Also, Barney those paper wasps, around here we call em yellow jackets, but they really hurt. Those r the 1s i shoot,,with my can. lol I leave the red wasps alone, they arent aggressive.

  4. Dizz many years ago when work was slow here in Dallas ,I had to do a little traveling to work .One of those places happen to be between Texarkana an Atlanta Texas a paper mill owned by International Paper.I was helping to convert the power house over to burn coal. The paper mill was in operation an I had not ever seen paper made.I got to see the process at that time an all so was informed at that time yellow jackets had been making paper for eons. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

  5. Barney, quit teasing them and they will let you alone (grin). They seem to let me alone, even when one gets trapped inside my porch and I show it outside.

    Ginger, no, not brilliant. It took me 68 years to go “aha” (grin) That find by Maxine Abbott was great, and in the Big Bend National Park, too.

    Trouble, there are a lot of creatures that make paper, like wasps, yellow-jackets, hornets, etc. And I imagine a lot more that I can’t think of right now. There are all kinds of interesting creatures in this world.

    Ted, yep, we were surely not the first to make paper. I bet we could learn a lot from the animal kingdom if we were wise enough.

  6. I never knew that either, guess there's a lot I don't know! Thanks for sharing,it is good to know.Blessings jane

  7. Wasp!! Growing up on the farm I got bit my fair share of course. Up in Virginia while at school for Xerox, I saw my first paper wasp nest,Great big ole thing way up in a tree. We didn't see any wasp being it was early spring and real cold,so we knocked it down. If memory serves me it was over 4 feet across but didn't weigh nuthing.
    Never seen another one.

    I wasn't allergic to them as a kid but got nailed by one here a few years ago, After Doctors treatment I was warned to not get bit again, it could kill me.

  8. Jane, I am sure you could have gone though life without learning this but it is always good to learn something new.

    Ben, I hope you have an "epipen" to inject yourself if you get stung to prevent anaphylaxis shock. And those big round paper nests are made by hornets.

  9. We have a kind of wasp that are called Mud Daubers, you can tell their nests, when I got rid of my white elephant old kitchen table a couple of weeks ago when they turned it over under neath on 3 sides were 3 count 'em three mud dauber nests in horizontal lines following the underside of the table. Last summer I was so frustrated because I fought these things all summer, we would find a nest, destroy it, then within a short time there would be a wasp or two in here and I looked at every possible place they could be coming in from....little did I know they were already IN! Hopefully they are now out, of course the first thing I did after I saw the underside of that table was look UNDER everything I own!