Object of the week- Giant wasp nest: 20180705-102159.jpg

21 Nov 2018

Object of the week- Giant wasp nest

Museums and galleries

Measuring around a metre across, this gigantic wasp nest has been creating quite a buzz at Leeds City Museum.

On loan from Manchester Museum, the huge nest is split into a number of pieces, showcasing the incredibly intricate structure within.

The fascinating nest is currently on display in Leeds as part of Beavers to Weavers, an exhibition exploring the many captivating creations made by the animal kingdom’s most accomplished architects.

Wasps find a dry, safe and structurally sound spot to support a nest before building the structure out of chewed up wood and saliva, making a pulp which the insects mould.

The queen wasp then lays eggs into the hollow spaces and nests will continually grow to house new members of the colony.

The largest wasp nest ever recorded was found on a farm at Waimaukau, New Zealand, in 1963 and, when whole, it measured a staggering 3.7m long.

Also on display as part of Beavers to Weavers are tiny, exquisite pearl Buddha figures made inside oyster shells. The figures, inserted into the shells by oyster farmers, have been coated with pearl by the molluscs as a form of self-defence.

Rebecca Machin, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of natural sciences said: “The animal kingdom is the setting for some truly extraordinary feats of invention and creativity, far surpassing the efforts of even the most brilliant of human engineers and architects.”

Beavers to Weavers: The Wonderful World of Animal Makers runs until Jan 6, 2019.

The exhibition, which is free to enter, also includes a programme of family-friendly talks and activities.

For more details, please visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/leedscitymuseum/beavers-to-weavers


Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team