wasp-nest

A massive wasps’ nest was recently discovered in an abandoned farmhouse in Brazil.

While the discovery might send some folks running for the hills, this nest had long been deserted by the stinging insects; there were no wasps in sight.

This group of insects doesn’t have the best reputation due to their painful sting and the fact they can sting repeatedly, but the majority of wasps are solitary non-stinging species. However, the size of this particular nest suggests that this group was likely part of a large, social community.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The most well known wasps are hornets and yellow jackets. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Wasps use a unique method to build their nests.  The insects scrape wood with their mandibles, mix the scrapings with their saliva, and chew it into a paste that they use to build the layers of their papery nests. This wood paste is also often supplemented by mud or secretions from plants or the wasps themselves.

The elaborate sheets are often made into a honeycomb pattern, and are sometimes covered by an additional protective layer. This odd and effective strategy creates the brilliant and easily recognizable architecture of the wasp nest shown.

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Some farmers will bring wasps onto their premises on purpose as a form of pest control. One Mother Nature Network article stated, “While [wasps] can also kill some beneficial insects, they can be very helpful in eating crop-destroying bugs, such as grubs, caterpillars, and weevils. They are so useful in this respect that farmers will sometimes ship wasps in as a natural pest control for their crops.”

It is difficult to determine which species of wasp might have been living in the Brazilian nest — there are over 100,000 known species of wasps worldwide — but perhaps the farmers brought them in on purpose!

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Some of our fans posted some of the wasp sightings they’ve had. Check it out: