Life stages of wasps

All bees and wasps go through "complete metamorphasis", meaning they go through four stages; hatching from the egg, going through a larval phase (which looks totally different from the adult), pupating and finally the adult stage. The larva is nothing like the adult; this can be compared to a butterfly which first hatches from the egg as a larva (a caterpillar), eats and grows, pupates and then turns into an adult. Wasp larvae are generally whitish plump grubs, which are confined to the cells in the nest and eat almost continuously.

Once the larva reaches its full size, it stops eating. It spins a covering of fine silk, to cover the cell with a "pupal cap", and begins pupating. It slowly takes on the shape of an adult. From white, it darkens, till it takes on adult colours. The photo below shows a pupa in an early developmental stage.

Finally, the now adult wasp breaks open the cell cap and emerges. It will rest in the nest for a while, till its body dries up and hardens. New workers generally perform tasks in and around the nest, and do not start foraging till they are at least a couple of weeks old.

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