Wasp (Mason) Pison spinolae
Scientific name: Pison spinolae
Common name: Mason wasp, Mason bee
Pison spinolae is a solitary wasp 10 to 16mm in length. It is native to New Zealand and Australia. In summer the female mason wasp builds a nest of cells out of mud or clay. The nests are built in keyholes any suitable crevice and under windows or beneath tarpaulins. Clusters of cells can even be found in curtains and hanging coats. During construction she makes a high pitched buzzing noise. The female makes the cell and then collects orbweb spiders, which she stings to paralyse them. The orb spider is a fat, common species of triangular spiders that makes those beautifully shaped webs you see on misty mornings. Once the cell is packed with spiders, she lays an egg and she seals it shut. The egg hatches and the larva feed on the still living paralysed spiders. The larvae pupate in a brown cocoon. Each cell about 20 mm long and a line of cells may be many centimetres long. The adults eat nectar.
Part of a nest behind a board that was removed from a wall. It shows the cells structure and the emerging larva in the top four cells. The lower cells were full of spiders that fell out when the board was pulled away. One spider can be seen.