Wasp nest

How wasps build their nest from wood

Why do wasps choose to build a wasp’s nest in or around houses? Houses are not traditionally used to keep wasp nests. Why do wasps, who are smart enough to count, give detailed spatial instructions and use certain tools, choose to live in a human environment when they can have a safer life in the cavity of a long tree? Well, research has shown that this is a combination of several factors. The two most important of these are: the scarcity of natural breeding sites and the general availability of suitable breeding sites in houses.

Location of wasp nests

You look up and you see a familiar image at the bottom of the eaves of your house. It looks a bit like a paper honeycomb and is the centre of attraction for a swarming group of flying wasps. What is it? A wasp’s nest! There are three main types wasps that you will encounter from time to time: paper wasps, yellow coats and bumblebees. They all look alike because they make paper wasps’ nests. However, they differ in the size, shape and location of their nests. Paper wasps, for example, tend to build small, umbrella-shaped nests under eaves and overhangs. Bumblebees build large nests in the shape of a football. You can often see them hanging from a high branch in a tree. Yellow coats prefer to make their nests underground. Also watch out for the horn wasp!

Where do wasps get their material to build a wasp’s nest?

Where do wasps get the paper they use to build their nests? Do they pass the letterboxes or look in the rubbish? Of course they don’t! They actually make their own building materials by making paper pulp from raw wood. A wasp queen starts the building process by selecting a suitable place for a nest. She then looks for sources of wood fibres, such as trees, tree trunks, fences and even cardboard. Using her strong jaws, the queen scrapes off pieces of wood fibre for use. The queen uses the saliva in her mouth to break down the wood fibres until they form a soft paper pulp. She then flies the paper pulp to her chosen construction site to start building the nest.

Working in team

Workers wereps help to form the pulp of soft paper into multiple hexagonal cells. As the pulp dries, it forms a sturdy paper nest where young wasps are born and start working as builders immediately after birth. Some wasps can also use mud to strengthen their nest structure. While the wasp colony continues to grow, the queen and her workers continue to add hexagonal cells to the nest to house new wasps.

Although made of paper, wasp nests are sturdier than you would expect. Nevertheless, they will disintegrate naturally in the course of winter. This means that every spring a queen wasp has to choose a new breeding ground and start the nest building process anew.

Remove wasp nest

Do you have a wasp’s nest somewhere in the house and want to get rid of it? Wait a minute, not too fast! Make sure you tell someone with knowledge of wasps about the nest before you approach it or try to disturb it. Wasp stings can be extremely painful and possibly even dangerous.

Having a wasp’s nest in or around your home is not a pleasant situation, especially if you have small children or someone with an allergy to wasp stings. If you are not allergic to stings, you can probably solve the problem yourself. To get rid of a wasp’s nest, you need to know what kind of wasp you are dealing with. To start with, wear protective clothing and approach the nest at night! At night wasps are less active. If the wasp’s nest is somewhere high, such as the eaves of your house or a high tree branch, do not use a ladder to reach it. If you stand on a ladder and a swarm of wasps flies towards you if you disturb the nest, you will most likely fall off the ladder and injure yourself. In this situation it is better to call a professional pest controller or use the smoking method to control the wasps. If you decide to use pesticides, make sure that no children or pets are present. Only try to remove a wasp’s nest yourself if it is within easy reach.

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