When we think of friends in our garden, Potter wasp is not likely to be on the list. However, potter wasps are beneficial insects that provide natural control of many types of caterpillars that are pests of our vegetable garden.
The name ‘potter wasp’ derives from the shape of the mud nests built by the female to lay eggs and these nests are known as brood nests. These are built in a variety of places, like on tree trunks and twigs as well as exterior surfaces of buildings.
The nest interestingly looks like a miniature pot or jug, complete with cover when it is sealed!
The female wasp hunts caterpillars, stores them in the nest after paralyzing them by her sting. The developing wasp larva feeds on these caterpillars and comes out as an adult.
I found this lovely potter wasp (Phimenes flavopictus) hovering in my garden, feeding on Leucas aspera (Thumba) flowers and then having a drink in the birdbath.
You can see the nest that is built on a plant twig. The seal of the nest has two tiny holes to let in air for the larva inside!