Fresh from the potter’s wheel

I discovered a few days ago the makings of a potter wasp nest attached to one of the patio window screens.  Distinctive and unquestionably cool, I snapped a few photos of this tiny bit of creativity.

A potter wasp nest (198_9869)
A potter wasp nest (198_9870)

I never saw the mother who labored over this creation.  Unfortunately, she did her work while I slaved away at the office, so all I got to see was the final product.  That said, I’m almost 100% certain it’s a common potter wasp (a.k.a. dirt dauber, Eumenes fraternus).  I know potter wasps frequent this area and nest on the patio every year.

This species is not the same as a mud wasp (a.k.a. mud dauber, Sceliphron caementarium), which you can see here.

While the former builds the kind of nests you see above, individual containers that look like pots, each constructed to hold a single egg and the food that will help it grow to adulthood, the latter builds multicellular nests that resemble a conglomeration of tunnels built in parallel from mud.  For me, potter wasps tend to congregate on the patio while mud wasps tend to congregate in and around the garage.

I’ll see if I can photograph a mud wasp nest for comparison.  I believe there are several old ones still perched on the edges of the garage door.

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