Paper wasps use an oral secretion combined with masticated plant matter to create waterproof paper nests.

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In nest construction, many social wasps use an oral secretion to cement together nest material, e.g. plant fibers, primarily composed of cellulose. Nests are water-resistant (McGovern et al. 1988) due to the saliva-cellulose matrix. The chitin-like saliva is primarily protein with high proline content. When mixed with the cellulose, it dries quickly and irreversibly to a water insoluble, water repellant surface. In general, wasps in rainy environments add more saliva to the mixture (Kudo et al. 1998), because the saliva’s mucoproteins provide adhesive and hydrophobic properties (Wainwright et al. 1976). “P. [Polistes] chinensis, like most other polistine wasps depends for its secretory production on proteinaceous materials.” (Kudo et al. 1998:179)

Journal article
Physiological ecology of nest construction and protein flow in pre-emergence colonies of Polistes chinesis (Hymenoptera Vespidae): effects of rainfall and microclimatesKudo, K; Yamane, S; Yamamoto, H

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Chinese Paper WaspPolistes chinensisSpecies

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