DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Brood cells within a nest of the German wasp (Vespula germanica). The nest is initiated in Spring by a fertilised female queen wasp. She lays fertilised eggs into the brood cells, and these hatch to produce sterile female workers. These first workers then assist the queen to enlarge the nest and provide food for subsequent batches of eggs. The nest consists of tiers of hexagonal cells, enveloped by a spherical covering. It is made from "wasp paper", produced from wood fibres scraped from the surface of nearby fenceposts, outbuildings and dead wood. The picture shows bottom tier of brood cells - viewed from below - within a nest from which the outer covering has been removed. Each cell is approximately 4mm across. The white cells visible in the next tier contain developing wasps; the white cap to the cells serving to protect the young as they grow.
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