Mud nest – spider or wasp?

I’ve found the first mud nest hidden under one of the sofa cushions in the garden. mud nest 3-8-13In previous years we’ve found lots of these. When smashed open they were single cell and full of tiny spiders so we, logically, assumed they were a spider’s nest. But they are in fact a type of wasp, the mud dauber, which lays its eggs in the 1in long mud nest and before sealing it up she leaves food – the paralyzed spiders – for the larvae to eat when they hatch.

These are solitary wasps, no workers to provide food so the Queen looks after her own larvae. They are supposedly non-aggressive, long and slender, shaped more like a fly than the fatter wasps we are familiar with it in the UK, but with the giveaway black and yellow banding on its abdomen.
5 to remember
la avispa – wasp
la araña – spider
el avispero – wasp nest
el barro – mud
escondido/a – hidden

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