Wasps construct nests from wood fiber, and as a result, they require a nearby construction resource. The queen wasp scrapes wood fiber from wood materials and chews it to combine it with her saliva, resulting in the formation of paper pulp. She then spits it out at the desired nesting site, shaping and constructing the nest.
To properly understand and locate a wasp nest, it’s necessary to be familiar with how they look, where they can be found, and how they are constructed.
There are three major types of wasps that you may encounter on occasion: paper wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets. They are all similar in that they build nests out of paper. Their nests, however, vary in size, shape, and location.
For example, paper wasps prefer to build small, umbrella-shaped nests beneath eaves and overhangs. Hornets construct large nests in the shape of a football. They are frequently found suspended from a tree’s high branch. Yellowjackets prefer to build underground nests.
Many people misidentify wasps and their nests as bees and frequently employ ineffective methods of avoidance or removal.
Given that wasps can be more dangerous to humans than bees, it is critical to learn how to distinguish the two.
If you notice a nest on or near the exterior of your home, take the necessary steps to identify and carefully manage the situation before it becomes a serious threat to you and your family.
Table of Contents
How to Determine the Nest of a Wasp
Wasp nests can begin quite small, making them initially difficult to detect. To properly identify a wasp nest, it’s best to first observe the path the wasps take on their return flight.
This makes it much easier to locate nests during the summer, when the wasp population increases and the wasps become more aggressive.
The earlier you locate the nest in the season, the easier it will be to remove it from your property.
Due to the fact that beehives and wasp hives require distinct treatments, it is critical that you understand precisely what you are looking for. Particularly now that bees are in danger of extinction.
Typically, a hornet wasp will enlarge and shape their nest into a football. A paper wasp will construct a smaller umbrella-shaped nest. Yellow jackets, on the other hand, prefer underground nests.
However, all wasp species will have a nest along the outside that resembles paper. If you’re still unsure whether you have a wasp nest or a beehive on your property, it’s best to contact professionals to have it inspected and handled properly and safely.
Their Nest-Building Methods
The queen wasp begins nest construction by selecting an appropriate location. Once she has located the ideal location, she begins searching for nesting materials such as trees, wood fibers, and cardboard.
The queen then begins scraping wood fibers from the source to construct her nest using her powerful jaw.
The queen wasp breaks down the components of the nest and transforms the wood fibers into soft paper using her saliva and the wood fibers.
She will then fly over to her chosen location with the mixture in her mouth and begin constructing the wasp nest. Meanwhile, worker wasps assist in the formation of cells for the nest from the paper mixture.
As the paper mixture dries, it begins to form a stable nest for the pack’s current and future wasps. Wasps will occasionally use a mud mixture to reinforce the nest.
As the colony expands, the queen and her worker wasps continue to expand the nest, ensuring that it grows in lockstep with the colony.
The nest’s walls take on a paper-like appearance due to the chewed up wood fibers and wasp saliva. This is a primary indicator of a wasp nest’s discovery. They are frequently found in enclosed areas such as wall cavities, garages, roof cavities, and sheds.
How do wasps construct their nests in trees?
To begin, let us examine a completed aerial (hanging) wasp nest.
Kaitlyn’s photograph below provides an excellent perspective on the size of a typical aerial, social wasp nest. It’s about the size of a soccer ball or a small to medium-sized beach ball. This nest has a tapered bottom. The nest’s top is secured to a tree branch.
Which wasps build the nest and how do they attach it to the tree?
When constructing a wasp nest in a tree, the wasp queen and colony founder begins by gathering tiny slithers of wood and plant fiber to chew into a pulp.
She will begin by adhering this pulp to a selected tree branch in layers, gradually adding more layers and creating the first of many hexagonal-shaped cells resembling honeycomb inside.
The wasp queen will continue to construct cells until she has created a sufficient number of cells in which to rear young workers.
When the young worker wasps emerge from these new nest cells, they will take over the process of nest construction and foraging for food for the young (while also assisting with pollination of flowers and plants!).
I adore this image by Kaitlyn; it provides an excellent view of the nest’s shape among the tree branches.
Due to the fact that this is a social wasp nest, there will be several thousand very busy wasps contributing to the colony’s maintenance at its peak.
Is the shape of all wasp nests uniform?
No, some wasp species build more spherical nests, while others build an irregular mass, sometimes underground.
Is it dangerous to have wasp nests in trees?
a wasp nest suspended from a tree branch; it is tapered at the bottom and roughly the size of a soccer ball.
My honest opinion, based on personal experience and feedback from multiple visitors, is that an aerial wasp nest, when left alone and not aggravated, should not cause a problem.
Naturally, a sting is possible – just as being bitten by a mosquito is also possible. If you are concerned, wearing a deet-free insect repellent is recommended, as is avoiding the nest.
Finding Help for Removal
Once a wasp nest has been properly discovered, it is critical to avoid the area and avoid disturbing the nest. It can quickly become a nuisance, but it is critical that you handle the situation safely and prudently.
A wasp removal specialist in Toronto can safely remove a wasp nest from your property, preventing you from dealing with the danger on your own.
This is the most effective and safest method of wasp removal on your property. Avoid swinging or swatting at wasps or their nest, and exercise caution when outside in an area near a nest to avoid being stung by aggressive wasps.
How wasp nests are Constructed?
The wasp nest is an incredible feat of engineering, constructed entirely of wood stripped from fence panels, garden sheds, and any other available source. In the spring, as she emerges from winter hibernation, the queen wasp begins building the nest from scratch (You can read about the life-cycle of the wasp).
Wasp nests grow at varying rates, depending on a number of variables.
In early summer, food availability plays a significant role in the growth of a wasp nest. If food is scarce in early summer, individual wasp numbers will be lower than in “normal” years.
It’s also critical to have nest material available. Wasps remove untreated dead wood from fence panels, garden furniture, and sheds and convert it into a paste that they use to build their nest.
Contrary to popular belief and misconception, wasps do not swarm in the same way that honey bees do.
Wasps swarm only near the nest site when the nest is disturbed (attacked), such as during nest treatment. When wasps feed, they swarm, but not in the same way that honey bees do.
When foraging scout wasps discover a new food source, they return to the nest to communicate the discovery.
When wasps lose their food supply in the nest in late summer/autumn, they can become a problem when they interact with and compete with humans for sugary foods; pub gardens are an excellent example.
From late summer to late autumn, you can easily determine whether a nest is active or “live.” Observe the nest from a safe distance for a few moments. If you see wasps walking around the nest’s perimeter, it is active. Similarly, if wasps are seen entering and exiting the nest, the nest is active.
The nest begins in the spring when the queen constructs a petiole (a single stalk from which the nest hangs) and a single hexagonal-shaped cell at the end of the petiole. Around the central cell, approximately six additional cells are formed.
Each cell is constructed by the queen and then filled with eggs. Once these eggs have hatched and pupated into adult wasps, these new worker wasps take over nest construction, leaving the queen to lay eggs and maintain control of the nest; this will be her primary function from now on!
Learn more about the wasp life cycle and how wasp nests are constructed in detail.
Why are Some Wasps Aggressive, while Others are non-Aggressive?
Additionally, the queen establishes the nest’s “mood”; some are extremely aggressive, while others are not; it all depends on the individual queen. She releases a pheromone throughout the nest, alerting the workers to the fact that either everything is fine or the nest is in danger.
What Type of Material is used to Construct a Wasp Nest?
Wasps use dead wood to build their nests; as nest construction begins in the spring, the queen wasp begins gathering old dead wood from untreated fence panels or sheds, as well as garden furniture.
As the nest matures and worker wasps hatch, they assume responsibility for collecting nest material.
The workers return this material to the nest and pass it on to young wasp larvae, who convert it to a paste that the adult workers use to continue expanding the nest. The wood pulp mixture used to build the nest contains a small amount of wax to aid in waterproofing.
English (common) Wasps
Wasps from England (the common wasp) Vespula Vulgaris nest in almost any location; their preferred locations include lofts, sheds, abandoned rabbit and vole burrows in the ground, inside air bricks, cavity walls, and chimneys; they prefer higher locations, but this is not always the case.German
The German (European wasp) Vespula Germanica nests in bushes, hedges, and trees and, while they are extremely well camouflaged, once discovered, they become quite noticeable, resembling a large hanging grey football type object.
While German wasps prefer lower locations, their adaptability allows them to occasionally choose higher positions.
There is some debate regarding the most aggressive wasp. While some pest controllers assert that German wasps are more aggressive than English wasps, and both may be equally aggressive, in our experience,
English wasps appear to be more likely to attack when their nests are disturbed. However, caution should be exercised when dealing with any wasp nest.
What are Hornet Nests made from?
Hornet Nests are identical to wasp nests; they are constructed in the same manner as wasps do.
Is it possible for Wasps and Hornets to use an Abandoned Nest?
While some believe that wasps and hornets will reuse their nests year after year, this is NOT true. Each year, both wasps and hives construct a new nest. Bees will utilize an abandoned bee nest, typically where an old honeycomb has been established and some honey stores remain in the comb.
Why do Wasps Build Nests?
In the UK, there are over 7,000 wasp species, nine of which build nests to house their colonies.
As with bees, wasps are social or solitary. Those who prefer family life construct nests in which they and their colony can reside.
The majority of social wasps are not picky about where they settle and construct their new home. All they require is a suitable nesting site that is dry, safe, and structurally sound.
They will establish themselves almost anywhere, although some species prefer hollow trees, rock crevices, or man-made structures. Certain species prefer to nest beneath the earth.
The process begins with the emergence of a queen wasp from hibernation and her immediate search for a suitable habitat.
The queen, self-sufficient, chooses a site and begins construction. She constructs with saliva-infused wood. This results in a malleable pulp ideal for molding.
The queen then lays eggs in the hollow spaces she creates – the cells. The eggs hatch and develop into the first worker wasps for the queen.
When the new workers reach adulthood, they assume responsibility for foraging for food and nest construction. The queen is then relegated to egg laying for the remainder of her years.
Wasps are master builders, constantly expanding their nests to accommodate the colony’s growing population of insects.
Certain species build large, elaborate nests, while others build small, compact ones. However, each species constructs homes that are perfectly suited to their colony’s needs and size.
Dr Gavin Broad, the Museum’s wasp expert, explains more about one of the unique nests in the collection.
Wasps are not all social creatures. Certain species prefer a solitary existence and rear their young in simpler nests.
This type of nest is made by 200 different species in the United Kingdom.
Tarantula hawks are wasps that have been dubbed the world’s second most painful insect sting.
They are widespread throughout South and Central America, as well as the southern United States.
These wasps spend their lives paralyzing tarantulas that can be several times their size and using them as a host for their eggs and larvae.
Rather than building a nest, the wasp will drag the tarantula to a specially dug hole or even to the spider’s own den.
Numerous wasps feed on fresh insects and spiders found in their natural environment.
Other insects are used as hosts by parasitoid wasps, which consume them alive and in their natural state.
These species are frequently used in agriculture as a natural pesticide, as the wasps’ larvae feed on or on the pest insects. This maintains a manageable population of pests.