What’s putting bugs in pots on my windowsill?

Written by Joe Ballenger

Does anyone know what kind of worms these are? They were in this mudlike ball stuck to the screen (second pic after it burst open) and when I flicked it to remove it, it busted apart and these 3 worms were inside. They look like miniature alien creatures…lol. My roommate said she saw a wasp hanging around there, but the mudball didn’t look like a wasp nest. It was perfectly round, about the size of a tiny malted milk ball candy. I used the top of my lighter to see a comparison in size, but they were about an inch and a half long. And yes, they were alive.

We get a lot of ID requests, and there’s just not enough time to focus on all the cool insects that people see around them. We do, however, see some insects mentioned with some consistency.

A lot of these posts show us pictures of or mention grey pots filled with caterpillars, almost always caterpillars from the same family: Geometridae (or inchworms).

These nests are pretty easy to ID: they’re the nests of a wasp called Eumenes fraternus. The wasps build these nests out of mud, and sting caterpillars to paralyze them. The wasp’s larvae then feed on the paralyzed caterpillars, until they emerge as a wasp ready to start the cycle anew.

These wasps are also really important. If you see these gals flying around, you don’t need to worry about running into a nest because they don’t make big colonies.

However, they’re very closely related to groups which do. These wasps are the closest evolutionary relatives to paper wasps and hornets, wasps which are famous for constructing nests which house large colonies.

Eumeninae

Image credit: Tolweb.org License info: CC BY 3.0

This entry was posted in Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, Identification, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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