To say that Martin Pierce is fascinated by insects would be an understatement and it explains why insects and their habitat figure so much in his cabinet pulls as well as his paintings, sculpture and furniture.
This fascination is not shared by all but we have found that many of our gardening neighbors understand the role that these creatures play in helping to keep their gardens free of voracious caterpillars and from the adult flies such white-fly that they become. At the weekend Martin was able to snap a shot of a beautiful mud dauber wasp, named for the way it daubs mud to create individual chambers for each of its lava. The wasp catches a caterpillar and entombs it in the lava's pod like chamber thus providing a constant food source for the developing lava that when it pupates will emerge as a strikingly colored wasp. The nest chambers are equally impressive and are made of multiple layers of mud built up over a period of days that dry and harden to become robust adobe like homes. Once the caterpillar has been deposited the wasp then lays an egg on it and secures the chamber with more mud.
This architectural skill is one that is found in other species and we have seen swallows build nests using a similar approach. What makes the dauber wasp awe inspiring is how she creates her chambers to be just the right size and strength to support the larder and her offspring. Where are her blueprints, where is her scaffolding, apparently they are not required.