Here's something you don't see every day: A glimpse at the internal structure of a rather large (and rather occupied) wasp nest. Put down the flamethrower and check it out. Trust us on this one, you'll want to see this.


YouTuber Vang Tsal captured the footage when a colony of wasps opted to construct its hive against a window in the attic of his house. "Big wasps are building a huge nest in my window," he writes. "I can observe its construction in real-time cross-section!" (Which window, you'll be relieved to learn, is sealed and double-paned; "no worries for me or the neighbors," Tsal notes.)

Pretty incredible, right? It's like an ant farm, only considerably more intense.This reminds me of an old episode of BBC's The One Show, in which host George McGavin, covered head-to-toe in beekeeper gear, uses a tiny camera probe to explore the entrance to an active wasp nest:

"What would be really great would be if I could open this up and examine the internal structure," says McGavin, his voice overlaid atop what is nevertheless some really great footage of the nest's crowded antechambers. "But there's so many wasps in there I think it would be a bit dangerous." Later in the episode, he slices open an abandoned nest to reveal the intricate beauty of its stratified architecture. But the miniature metropolis is a ghost town, its layered combs long since vacated.


Tsai's cross-sectional footage gives us the best of both worlds: A transverse view of a wasp colony humming with life. The results are pretty mesmerizing, with various degrees of structural detail on clear display. The smallest architectural unit, the strong and efficient hexagonal cells that house food and larvae, give rise to a tiered system of combs that divide the colony into discrete, orderly sections. The combs, in turn, lend the nest its overall shape. Meanwhile, the wasps go busily about their business.

Here's hoping Tsal continues documenting their progress – we'd love to see what becomes of this nest.



[YouTube via /r/videos]

H/t Lauren!