The Amazon has a great diversity of wasps and bees, ranging for some that lack a sting altogther, to others that have a powerful punch. Because these insects are often out of reach up in the canopy, it is a challenge to get good photographs, even of just the nests of wasps, which is how they are most often encountered. Actually you can visit the Amazon many times and never have a wasp sting (although you could be stung by ants a number of times). Indeed, the nests of wasps are marvelous productions and we barely understand how these tiny but fierce creatures cooperate to manufacture these wonders of animal architecture.
Wasps build nests of chewed woodpaper! Note the entrance in the bottom of the nest. These insects are one of the few Amazon animals deserving respectful fear, as most species possess a potent sting.
Wasps of the genus Chartergus build huge paper nests, reaching as long as five feet. The nest is constructed by adding disc-shaped layers to the base, while the top remains securely suspended from a branch. In the picture, the dark mass at the base of the nest is a mass of wasps.
A cross-section through a Chartergus nest shows how the layers are constructed. The curator of the amateur museum in a Leticia curio shop appears to have displayed this specimen upside down!