Currently viewing the category: "Nests"
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Subject: Insect Nest
Location: Porto Alegre
June 26, 2015 11:50 am
I recently visited the Jardim Botanico de Porto Alegre in Brazil, and I saw this nest up in a tree there. It’s about two feet tall. I’ve looked up both insect and bird nests, and I can’t seem to find a visual match online. It has thorns on it, and there weren’t any other structures like it anywhere, so I don’t think it’s a feature of the tree itself.
Signature: Brynna

What's That Nest???

What’s That Nest???

Dear Brynna,
This nest appears to be made of mud and it appears that it is quite large.  We wish you had estimated its dimensions.  Like you, we would speculate that it was created either by a social insect or a bird.  Our initial search did not produce any results.  Perhaps our Brazilian counterpart, Cesar Crash of Insetologia will have some ideas.

Update:  July 4, 2015
Thanks to a comment from a reader, we were directed to this image of a Paper Wasp Nest on FlickR.

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Subject: Bald faced hornet nest?
Location: Connecticut
June 7, 2015 5:23 pm
Sorry for posting twice! We wonder if this is a bald faced hornet nest and what you can tell us about it? Thanks!
Signature: Don’t understand

New Hornets Nest

New Hornets Nest

This does indeed appear to be a newly constructed Bald Faced Hornets Nest, and we are supposing that the only flying inhabitant at this time is the queen, though her initial brood is probably developing in the nest now.  Toward the end of the season, the nest will grow to the size of a football, or even larger, and according to The Study of Northern Virginia Ecology:  “One nest may hold up to 700 hornets.”  Bald Faced Hornets are not considered aggressive, but they will defend the nest and they are capable of stinging. 

Thank you for your quick response! It is amazing what bees can do! Let me know if you would like more photos as it progresses. Have a wonderful day! Cheryl

Hi Cheryl,
We are happy to hear you are going to let the nest develop.  We would love additional images.  We are going to be away until the end of June and not responding to emails in our absence, but by the time we return there should be changes in the appearance and activity around the nest.
  Please continue to use Bald Faced Hornet Nest as the subject line.

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Subject: Mason wasp? Very cool nesting! (pics)
Location: Austin, TX
June 5, 2015 6:12 pm
Last year on my patio popped up a large paper wasp nest and family. I let em stay because they were never aggressive and far enough away. I never bothered knocking the nest down, and then one day this spring I saw something interesting. There was a wasp returning to the nest. I looked closer and saw it was packing mud in the holes…hmm? It looked really similar to a regular Texas paper wasp, but a little different.
After it left I looked closer and saw a mud packed hole and another she was working on. Inside it looked like little gray and green tree caterpillars/worms. Very cool! During the next weeks/month it made more nests, quite efficient compared to the standard mud pods we see. Also during this time I noticed that the numerous smaller and new for the season paper wasp nests died off, except for one lone wasp now. I would find dead paper wasps 1 or 2 a day on the patio, and eventually their little nests were cut down/disappeared one day.
Today I looked at it, and most of the little mud “caps” were open, and there happened to be a wasp that just emerged hanging there. Wings are small so it can’t have been out too long. Snapped some pics!
Not much of a bug nerd, but I sound like it now! Just found this really interesting and couldn’t find anything about this on the internet at all. On your site here and google, looks like a mason wasp possibly? Ever heard of this behavior?
Signature: Phil

What Wasp is nesting in a Paper Wasp Nest???

Mason Wasp nesting in a Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Phil,
It is our understanding that Paper Wasps do not reuse nests, and we have not heard of any mud nesting wasps using abandoned Paper Wasp nests, nor has our internet research turned up anything in our initial search.  We wish you had a better image of the “recycling” Wasp.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to add some information.  We will also try to contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide any information.

Eric Eaton Confirms Mason Wasp
Phil is correct.  This is a mason wasp of some kind.  Many kinds of solitary bees and wasps will use pre-existing cavities as nests, including old mud dauber nests, and, at least occasionally, abandoned paper wasp nests.

Yeah it was hard to get a good angle and keep my arms perfectly still being high up.  I did see one return to the nest yesterday, but it fly off before I could snap a pic.  Looks like another one hatched too.  Looking at more pics on google, I see some that look very similar to a kind of Mason wasp:

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Subject: What are these little guys?
Location: Austin, TX
May 9, 2015 11:38 am
Hi Bugman,
We found this “nest” high up in our bathroom attached to a wall. Underneath it in the bath tub were a bunch of dead little worm looking things. We cleaned it up and wiped it down last night before going to sleep, but could not get a tiny amount of the black stuff off the wall. Sure enough, over night, the “nest” grew back to it’s prior size and once again the bathtub was full of the bugs. What is this and how should we get rid of it? Thanks!
Signature: Kate

Evidence of Termites

Evidence of Termites

Dear Kate,
You have Termites.  See this image on All Experts which resembles your “nest”.
  Here is another similar looking image from BugGuide.



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Subject:  Spider’s Nest??
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
May 7, 2015 11:16 PM
Hello Daniel,
I need your help to identify a scary nest in my garden.  It is dangling from a trailing geranium that hangs from the rear deck.  Perfect ventilation!  At first, I thought it might become a small bird’s nest but it has not evolved for over a week.  I was bitten by a spider three weeks ago, in our bedroom (its was inside of my p j pants!)  As a result, I was on antibiotics and it took over two weeks to heal.
Then a while later, Gerard killed a small spider in the bedroom.  I kept the body and will show it to you when I see you next week.
Anyway, tell me what I am “nurturing” in my geranium!
Have a good night,

Hummingbird Nest

Hummingbird Nest

Good Morning Monique,
Your confusion is understandable.  Hummingbirds use spider’s webs to construct their tiny nests.  Perhaps this nest was abandoned, or perhaps the young Hummingbirds have already left the nest, or perhaps the eggs have not yet been laid.  Several years ago a Hummingbird built a nest in our large carob overhanging the street causing us to postpone tree trimming, but alas, the nest was abandoned.

Julian Donahue comments
And the BioSCAN person who picked up our Malaise trap samples last week spotted a similar nest on our cup of gold vine (Solandra maxima) overhanging the driveway–first hummingbird nest I’ve seen on our property. Probably an Allen’s Hummingbird, now our more common species.
Did a little checking and learned some new stuff about this bird: nesting season is October – May or June, and a single female may lay four or five clutches of eggs (two eggs per clutch) in a single season, often using the same nest over again. Like most moms, she does all the work.
These factoids and many others at:

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Subject: Mud Nest – Australia
Location: Hawkesbury region, NSW, Australia
December 30, 2014 2:29 pm
Hey Bugman,
Thought you might like to see this nest I came across the other day on my property in Hawkesbury, NSW, Australia.
Clearly some kind of mud-wasp, we get a lot around here, although I have never seen a nest this size (only single ones). The funnel entry/exit points are a work of art.
Didn’t see the inhabitants, and quite happy about that actually, but isn’t it beautiful?
Any idea on the actual identity of the builders?
Signature: Tracy

Termite Nest we believe

Termite Nest we believe

Dear Tracy,
We do not believe this is a Wasp Nest.  Instead, we are leaning toward a Termite Nest.  There are some images on the Brisbane Insect website of Termite Nests in the genus
Microcerotermes, and the site states:  “Those large mud nests on trees as shown in photos are common in Brisbane Eucalypt forest. They the the termite nests. They are usually 3-4 meters above ground. These termites have mud tunnels to connect to the ground near the base of the tree. They also have a networks of tunnels underground. It is interesting to note that these termites seldom do any damage to the tree. The termites may have a little chewing around the nest on bark but for the most part the trees are fine. On the tree trunk there are only a few mud tunnels.”  An image on the Ian King Pest Control site looks even more like your images.

Possibly Termite Nest

Possibly Termite Nest

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination