This summer, I had a wasp nest on the porch. They weren’t bothering me, so I watched them because what they were doing was really interesting.
Not sure this was the smartest thing to do, but you know; bugs, science, etc. I’d watch them build the little cavities – a form of additive manufacturing that predated humans and their 3D printers by millions of years.
Anyway summer went into fall, and now it’s finally the beginning of Winter.
Today it was below freezing, so I cut it down from the porch ceiling. I wanted to study the mount, and take a detailed photograph.
It was surprisingly strong for being almost weightless. You could see the little caps that had covered the tubes where larvae were grown.
OK one last thing to try. You’d think such a light structure made of plant fibers would burn easily, right? THIS is after nearly a minute on a brick in the flame of a butane torch. It eroded a bit, but as soon as I took the torch off it stopped burning. The remaining part retained most of its strength.
Is this a property of the chemical binder of the fibers? Something about the structure? I can imagine fire-resistant structures, or even re-entry heat shielding.
Clever little bugs.
This is one of the wasps in late summer… he wasn’t looking so good. It had been a hard summer’s work.