The Paper-Making Wasp

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In the sunny days of early spring, the queen paper-making wasp comes out of hibernation to build a paper nest. She usually attaches it under the eaves of a house or other building. This wasp is equipped with strong jaws which she uses to chew old wood into a soft pulp. This pulp, mixed with the juices in her mouth, produces a product much like the paper used to make newspaper. She constructs the nest with this material.
Before making the part of the nest that is lived in, the queen cements a stem of the same material onto the underside of the eave. Then she begins building the nest, starting from the underside of the stem. She forms cells into rings that grow wider and wider, until the nest is completed. Some nests are up to six inches wide. As each six-sided cell is added, an egg is laid inside and cemented in place. The queen also deposits a little ball of nectar inside each cell. It is attached next to the egg to provide food for the larva after it hatches.
The wasp continues her work day after day, making paper for the cells and laying her eggs in the cells. After the larva hatches from the egg, it remains attached to the side of the cell by its tail because it is not ready to fly. By the time the larva finishes the ball of nectar, it is ready for bigger things to eat. The queen and her workers then chew up cabbage worms and other insects and feed this to the larva. Thus large numbers of harmful insects are destroyed by these helpful wasps. In addition to food, water is brought to the larva by the worker wasps. In hot weather the workers also cool the nest by fanning with their wings and sometimes spraying it with water from their mouths.
Soon the larva is big enough to fill the cell. It then spins a cap over the opening of its cell, forming a cocoon. Later it breaks through this and comes out as a fully developed wasp.
We may wonder at the abilities of these little creatures. Who taught them to manufacture "paper" and form it into nests? How does the queen know how to cement the eggs and nectar into place? And how does she know when to put aside her nest-building and get food for her little ones? How do the larvae know how to spin their cocoons and cover the cells while going through the final process of becoming mature wasps?
Their ability to do these things did not come from experiments or a gradual development. It came from God, the Creator of all things, who "giveth to all life, and breath." Yes, His ways are "past finding out." How wonderful to know Him not only as the Creator, but more importantly, to know Him as your very own Lord and Savior.