Have you ever wondered what how wasps build their nest and what they would build it with if options are limited. Well, biology student Mattia Menchetti answered that interesting question through an experiment she performed on a colony of European paper wasps which yielded some very colourful results.
Paper wasps are some of the most common wasp species and tend to establish a single nest across multiple seasons and generations. Due to that, wasps have to ensure that their homes are incredibly durable. Interesting fact is that paper wasps build their water-resistant nests out of fibres of dead wood and plant stems. But what makes it even more interesting is that these little creatures chew the materials into a pulp and mix it with saliva. A protein found in the saliva of these wasps are super effective at waterproofing their nests. Due to their super strength saliva, scientists also use it to construct a biodegradable drone.
These creatures have proven to be much smarter than we though. During the experiment the insects produced a vibrant, rainbow nest with coloured paper and Menchetti provided. At first Menchetti gave the wasps bits of yellow paper, and slowly after a while started giving more and more multicoloured sheets.
And not having access to plant stems or dried wood, the colony happily continued to make use of the material provided to construct a sturdy, technicolor home. Menchetti has performed a variety of scientific studies about insects, mammals, and the ecology of alien species, which he explains in further detail on his website.