I found several small clay pots of oval/cigar shape roughly 2cm long in a rarely used window in the house, because a wasp like insect was flying into a small cavity of the window.

I removed one and found dead spiders inside.

clay pot and spiders

I let the rest of the nest alone and closed the window again. I guess I don't have to bother them if they aren't bothering me.

I'm wondering what type of insect is that building such nests? It looked like a cross between a wasp and a hornet. As far as I know, wasps and hornets build their nests from wood, which gives them a paper like material. This one however is made from soil/dirt.

I'm also not sure if spiders are the only food. But given the street lamps outside, I suspect that spiders are very available and easy to catch.

The region is central Europe.

  • $\begingroup$ You might be interested in the answer to my question: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/62724/… $\endgroup$
    – Arsak
    Jul 25, 2017 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ They are mud daubers. Rarely sting humans and hunt spiders. Seem like a pretty helpful hornet to me!! $\endgroup$
    – Elise
    Aug 19, 2018 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


It's some sort of potter wasp/mason wasp (Eumeninae). The spiders are paralyzed and brought there as food for its larvae. Here is an example of an opened nest I found on Bugguide.net that looks similar to yours:

enter image description here

I don't know if it's possible to say what species it is from the nest.

  • $\begingroup$ Please note another family does similar things: the Sceliphron which is also common in Europe (some species are also invasive). After by the pictures and the victimology, I cannot say which type of family/genus/species. $\endgroup$
    – рüффп
    May 5, 2019 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Oh i didn't know their nests were so similar! Since the author of the question saw the animals, and described them as "like a cross between a wasp and a hornet" they should be able to tell of it was a potter wasp or Sceliphron since the latter is much more slender. $\endgroup$
    – picapica
    May 7, 2019 at 8:42

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