Wasps, Ants and their relatives

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A photograph of a Potter Wasp building a clay nest.

Potter wasps, like this Eumenid wasp, can build extensive clay structures.
Photograph by Wofl licensed under Creative Commons.

This group contains the solitary as well as the well-known and well-despised social wasps.

The less familiar solitary wasps which often build cells in the earth, in hollow plant stems or old beetle borings, to lay their eggs. They fill these cells up with the larva's preferred prey. They actively hunt for the prey and sting them with venom. This will paralyse, but not kill, the victim and keep it fresh for their larvae.

The 'Potter wasps' (Eumenes sp.) as the name suggests, build several spherical clay pots side-by-side and attach them to a wall or a branch, in which she provisions and lays her egg.

Odynerus, a "Mason wasp" builds a clay chimney when excavating her nest which she later wholly or partially destroys, using the clay particles to seal the entrance of the burrow. This chimney is thought to either deter potential kleptoparasites and parasitoids or to prevent rain entering into the burrows, which are situated in rather exposed sites.

Other members of the Vespoidea superfamily

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