Who lives in a house like this : the thilling climax?

It may not be 100% scientifically proven, but based on the evidence that the pods in the door jamb have started to hatch, and this beauty was caught red-handed at the kitchen door trying to make a break for it – do we have our mud-building, spider-torturing beastie?

Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp (Trypoxylon politum)

Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp
(Trypoxylon politum)

She was very obliging for the photograph, docile and quiet – I was quickly able to release her into the great outdoors. Probably heading straight for a quaff of sweet nectar, after weeks of nothing but half-dead spider.

I’ve grown quite fond of this OPMDW – she doesn’t sting, burrow or chew, she keeps the spider population down (not perceptably), she pollinates flowers and is capable of non-destructive, ingenius architecture.

She is therefore welcome to inhabit the Doorway, and co-exist with all the other creatures who call it home.

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Who lives in a house like this : episode 2

Following leads from Agents Amelia, Laura and Karl, we now have a prime suspect, and I am hot on the heels of the Potter Wasp or Mud Dauber Wasp.

This erstwhile squatter, who thinks she can build residences for all her offspring just wherever she pleases, still remains at large – but the evidence is mounting. Further sleuthing has turned up more mud structures. These dubious looking pods were found in the shed attached to a garden chair cushion.

mudhut3

Exhibit B : more mud huts, albeit of a different architectural design

Needing said cushion necessitated their removal – they wern’t stuck too tight and I took the liberty of breaking through the crisp skin – only to find it packed with little spiders, some still alive. So, my fiendish quarry is not averse to incarcerating her victims alive – what a horror bag!

mudhut_b3_spiders

Crime Scene : store of baby wasp food

The wasp will have stung these spiders to paralyse them before dragging them off into their Cell of Doom. And then the wasp will have deposited a single egg, and sealed up the nest pod. The larva then has enough handy food to sustain its development into adulthood.

As is typical with most things, when you actually WANT to find wasps, there are none to be seen. I did track down this possibility, but it seems that she has a different MO.

off the hook

off the hook

I would dearly like to capture Madame Mud Dauber red-handed, in flagrante delicto – the pursuit continues.