Based on the location and assuming this isn't a domesticated hazelnut there are two likely hazelnut species. The lack of the distinctive "beak" seen on the Beaked hazelnut means this is most likely an American hazelnut (Corylus americana):
The hairs along the young branch are also consistent with this (see for example the Plant Guide from the USDA).
Update 2 (interpreting "faster" in terms of efficiency because it seems easier to measure)
The question has been updated but I still don't see a reference for insects being more efficient than mammals. Therefore I investigated this and did not find convincing evidence that it is the case.
Granted, the means of measuring efficiency are not necessarily ...
Not an expert on bees, but there 39 known genera of solitary bees in eastern Canada1. That reference contains a key, so at very least you can start to identify your tenants when they emerge next year.
The clay plugs are due to one of the genera of "mason bees", but that doesn't really appear to narrow things down much.
Your area does have "leafcutter bees"...
It is a harlequin ladybird larvae.
This is one of the most variable species in the world, with an unusually broad range of color forms. It is native to eastern Asia, but has been artificially introduced to North America and Europe to control aphids.
I figure that Wiki is saying "it has some of the highest color variability of any wild plant or animal".
much like cellulose, chitin strands are bonded to other strands by hydrogen bonds. here is a slide share with a breakdown of the structure.
It is crosslinked in the sense strands are linked to other strands in such a way that most enzymes cannot access it to break it down. this is the same thing that makes wood last untreated. In a strictly chemistry sense ...
That is a tortoise beetle (Family Chrysomelidae (Leaf beetle), subfamily Cassidinae). It looks very much like the Indian Green Tortoise Beetle Chiridopsis bipunctata. https://indiabiodiversity.org/observation/show/338651
I am almost sure it is in the genus Chiridopsis.
I think I may have it. gOOgle terms "giant cricket wood tiger stripes" yielded very similar critters: So-called "Camel, Cave, or Cellar Cricket."
Order Orthoptera (Ensifera), Family Rhaphidophoridae.
Genus and Species will be next to impossible unless I can capture one, but obviously one of the North American varieties that like to hang out in damp ...
The exuvia is made of cross-liked chitin, and will not decay. You don't need any special preservatives as all. If you need to get the mud off, just rinse it as you said, in soapy water, let it dry, and you are done. Simple.
It happens I just found an answer to my question in a recent review book by George Heimpel and Nicolas Mills. It appears that for now we do not know any parasitoid of mosquitoes.
Quoting chapter 1 :
"Most insect herbivore species are attacked by
one or more parasitoid species, but some major
arthropod pest groups appear to be entirely free