What Do Wasp Nests Look Like? | 5 Critical Facts | BeesWiki (2023)

What Do Wasp Nests Look Like? | 5 Critical Facts | BeesWiki (1)

A wasp nest can look very different depending on the species of wasp. In some cases, wasp nests are constructed from papery materials, while in others, they are made from mud. Additionally, some wasp nests are simply holes dug into the ground or into softer materials inside a residence.

A mud dauber nest resembles a long, brown or gray cylinder attached to a flat surface. Often these wasp nests are textured on the outside and are arranged in rows parallel to each other, or can be built as one small mud tunnel at a time.

The nests of paper wasps are light gray to white, look like balloons or basketballs, and have a paper-like appearance somewhat similar to that of paper mache. As they are constructed, paper wasp nests appear to be organized patterns of hexagonal cells hung by a paper strip from a solid surface. [1]

There are many species of yellow jacket, and many of them build their nests underground. The appearance of a yellow jacket nest is relatively difficult to determine if it is underground.

For yellow jackets, whose nests are constructed above ground, the nests are built in many layers and are a darkish grayish brown color. A nest of this type appears as a large, football- or basketball-shaped mound of a papery substance. [2]

Nests of Bald-faced Hornets resemble those of paper wasps or above-ground yellow jackets. They have a few tiers of egg-laying comb, as well as an opening at the bottom through which the wasps can enter and exit. Typically, they are suspended from houses or tree branches and are about the size of a football or a basketball. [3]

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    Wasp nests can be made of a number of materials, and some wasps even burrow into the ground to build nests out of dirt.

    Dirt and mud are used by mud daubers to construct their nests, layering and caking the mud into hollow cylinders that are used to lay eggs and store food.

    Paper wasps, yellow jackets, and bald-faced hornets typically build their nests from papery pulp. The wasps chew up wood fibers and mix them with their saliva to create a pulp that they use to line their hexagonal cells and form strong outer walls.

    Where Can a Wasp Nest Be Found?

    Many wasps build their nests under the eaves of houses, on porch roofs or garage ceilings, or on other surfaces within a house. It is also common for wasps to build nests in trees, as well as on the ground in the case of solitary wasps.

    (Video) Wasps Recognize Each Other's Faces + Other Things You Didn't Know About Them

    Depending on the species of wasp, you may find a nest in a variety of locations.

    Nests of mud daubers are often found on existing structures, such as houses and barns. They prefer sheltered areas where the elements cannot damage their nests, and where predators cannot access them.

    Thus, mud dauber wasp nests are often found high up on houses, out of reach of bears and skunks.

    What Do Wasp Nests Look Like? | 5 Critical Facts | BeesWiki (2)

    Nests of paper wasps are usually found hanging from the eaves of houses or the peaks of attics and garages. As with mud daubers, paper wasps prefer to nest high up and in sheltered areas to avoid damage from the weather and predators.

    It is common for yellow jackets to nest underground, in which case their nests may not even be visible. It should be noted, however, that some species of yellow jacket nest above ground, in which case their nests can be found in locations similar to those of paper wasps and mud daubers.

    The bald-faced hornet also nests near houses, including in the eaves and attics. In the same manner as other species of wasps, they will build their nests away from predators and in places that are protected from rain and wind.

    How to Prevent Wasp Nests

    In order to prevent wasp nests from developing, it is imperative to limit the availability of food sources near a structure. Wasps will establish a nest near flowers and rotting fruit in trash cans if they find a safe place to nest.

    If flowers and trash are limited near structures, wasps will be discouraged from nesting there and will be encouraged to nest elsewhere.

    In addition, replacing flowers near a house or structure with wasp-repelling plants may prevent wasps from nesting. Some of these include mint, basil, marigolds, pennyroyals, and geraniums.

    The presence of trash and leftover food must also be controlled. As wasps are drawn to protein-rich foods such as meat during the summer, it is imperative to clean grills properly and limit food trash.

    (Video) Why wasps are just as wonderful as bees | BBC Ideas
    What Do Wasp Nests Look Like? | 5 Critical Facts | BeesWiki (3)

    In addition, in the fall, wasps become particularly attracted to sugar sources, such as half-opened sodas and beer bottles and rotting fruit. It is imperative to clean up after parties and gatherings in order to prevent wasps from congregating near a home. [4]

    The final measure that can be taken to discourage solitary wasps from nesting near a house is to fill any existing holes in the ground or concrete. Solitary wasps often take advantage of old holes left behind by rodents and other insects, so filling these holes with dirt will encourage them to go elsewhere to build their nests.

    It is important to note that wasps are important pollinators of many plants and are also capable of controlling other pests. As a result, it is not always necessary to prevent wasps from nesting near a house or garage.

    The presence of wasps is actually very beneficial to the environment, as they are capable of inhibiting the growth of other insects that can damage houses or the quality of life of people.

    How to Remove Wasp Nests

    In order to remove wasp nests, it is important to regularly inspect your property for existing small nests so that they may be removed before they become large and the wasp population increases.

    The larger the nest and the more wasps residing therein, the more difficult and dangerous it is to remove the nest. It is imperative that homeowners call a pest control company as soon as they notice any signs of wasp nests in the area so that the nest may be removed and prevented from growing further.

    The use of a wasp trap containing sugar liquid is one method of reducing the number of wasps in close proximity to structures and deterring them from nesting there. Upon entering the trap, the wasps become trapped and drown in the liquid. [5]

    The use of soap and water is another method of eliminating wasps, especially if a nest has already been established. Spray a mixture of about two tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle of water on wasps and their nests. This prevents the wasps from breathing and causes them to die quite quickly.

    (Video) What is the Difference Between a Hornet and a Wasp ? | Let's Teach Interesting Facts

    What Do Wasp Nests Look Like? | 5 Critical Facts | BeesWiki (4)

    It is also possible to kill wasps using insecticide spray and remove their nests after they have died. As it kills wasps almost instantly, this may be the quickest and safest method of eliminating a wasp nest.

    A commercial wasp spray can be purchased by homeowners and applied to the wasps as they enter and exit their hive. A wasp nest should be sprayed in the evening when the wasps are not actively foraging.

    When dealing with wasps, it is important to wear protective clothing that covers all of the extremities. It is imperative to wear gloves, eye protection, and head protection when attempting to remove a wasp nest.

    Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that the removal of wasp nests is detrimental to the environment. In spite of the fact that wasps can be a nuisance to people, they play an important role in ecosystems, pollinating gardens and removing other insects such as spiders.


    [1] Arrow Exterminators [2] Arrow Exterminators [3] Nature Mapping [4] Western Exterminators [5] Smiths Pest Management

    (Video) Hornet Nest Vs Wasp Nest - The Difference


    What Do Wasp Nests Look Like? | 5 Critical Facts | BeesWiki? ›

    Ground wasp nests have a small, conical pile of dirt with a large hole in the center where the wasps enter. It's not uncommon to find many similar-looking dirt piles in a small area. Ground hornets and wasps are "gregarious" nesters, meaning they nest individually but next to each other.

    What does wasp nest look? ›

    Ground wasp nests have a small, conical pile of dirt with a large hole in the center where the wasps enter. It's not uncommon to find many similar-looking dirt piles in a small area. Ground hornets and wasps are "gregarious" nesters, meaning they nest individually but next to each other.

    What are 3 interesting facts about wasps? ›

    Five facts about wasps:
    • Wasps are fierce predators… which, believe it or not, serves a useful purpose. ...
    • Not all wasps live in colonies. ...
    • Most wasps make nests from bark and wood … by chewing the pulp to form paper cells. ...
    • Wasps can sting more than once. ...
    • Wasps life cycle.
    Aug 30, 2016

    What is the danger of wasp nests? ›

    Wasps attack when the nest is disturbed and can sting repeatedly. The stings typically cause pain and swelling around the area of the attack. In some cases serious allergic reactions may occur that can even result in death. Only female wasps can sting.

    How many wasps are in 1 nest? ›

    A wasp nest can hold up to 10,000 wasps by the peak of the summer season whereas a hornets nest typically has anywhere from 100-700 hornets; much of which are workers. Though these larger wasp nests are uncommon, the average nest still holds up to 6,000 wasps.

    What do wasp eggs look like? ›

    These whitish eggs resemble small grains of rice poking up from the bottom of each cell. In contrast, potter and mud dauber wasps lay a single egg inside a 'pot' the female builds from clay and mud.

    How big is a wasp nest? ›

    At first, a wasp nest will start off very small. When a Queen wasp starts to build a nest in spring it is usually about the size of a walnut or golf ball. As summer progresses the nest will grow rapidly in size, as the number of wasps increase. A nest can become the size of a basketball, or even bigger in some cases.

    What do wasps do all day? ›

    Like people, wasps are most active during the day. But unlike bees, wasps don't spend the day making honey. The workers head out to find food and to work on expanding the nest.

    How many years do wasps live? ›

    So, how long do wasps live? The lifecycle of a wasp depends on the species, but in general a worker wasps life can last from 12-22 days, while a queen can live up to a year. There are many different types of wasps in North America, paper wasps and yellowjackets being the two most common.

    How do wasps remember you? ›

    Golden paper wasps have demanding social lives. To keep track of who's who in a complex pecking order, they have to recognize and remember many individual faces. Now, an experiment suggests the brains of these wasps process faces all at once—similar to how human facial recognition works.

    Is it OK to touch a wasp nest? ›

    You can identify a wasp nest because it's open. Oftentimes, you can see the combs exposed. Never bother or touch a wasp nest.

    Is it safe to touch a wasp nest? ›

    Hold on to the Nest

    Okay, well don't hold on to it, as in take it in the house and give it a place of honor on your mantle, but rather let it stay in its place (on the tree, your house etc.)

    Why you shouldn't knock down a wasp nest? ›

    Also, the wasps may want to return to the nest and become angry once they find it has been disturbed. Either way, attempting to take nests down on your own will almost always lead to a dangerous situation.

    Will wasps return to a sprayed nest? ›

    Will Wasps return to a sprayed nest? Any wasp that was not in the nest when the pesticide was applied wasps will likely return. Depending on the product used when they enter, the pesticide will eventually affect them. If they sense danger or see the damage, they may not enter and look for another hive to accept them.

    How long do wasps occupy a nest? ›

    Wasp nests typically last anywhere between three to four months. Even if a wasp nest dies off by winter, it can come back after winter when conditions are once again ideal.

    How long does it take a wasp to build a nest? ›

    How Long Does It Take to Build a Wasp Nest? Nests are generally always under construction throughout the spring and summer as the colony continues to grow, so technically, a fully realized nest takes about 4-6 months to complete.

    What time do wasps go to sleep? ›

    When do wasps sleep? Generally speaking, wasps do not sleep as we might think of sleeping. Wasps tend to become less active at night and during the winter female wasps are known to hibernate. They can become very inactive, and appear to be asleep, but they are just dormant.

    What does a queen wasp look like? ›

    What is a queen wasp? The queen wasp is essentially the leader of the nest, and her main role is to lay eggs. She has bright yellow and black stripes, with a triangle-shaped head, a distinctive 'waist' and a sharp pointy sting.

    Should you dig up a wasp nest? ›

    You should first consider whether a wasp nest definitely needs to be removed, as they are good pollinators for local wildlife. If the wasps aren't coming near your garden or outdoor space, then they can be left alone as the nest will naturally die off after summer.

    Can I walk past a wasp nest? ›

    Do not go near the nest!: Move away slowly because the wasps are sensitive to movement and can sting if they feel threatened. Treat all wasps as dangerous: You may hear advice to determine what kind of wasps they are: bald-faced hornet, paper wasp, or yellow jacket, etc.

    How do you destroy a wasp nest? ›

    Pouring a bucket of boiling water onto the wasp nest accomplishes two things: It immediately kills scores of wasps, and it ruins their nest. It may, however, take a few bucketfuls to destroy the nest and completely detach it from its hanging spot.

    What kills wasps instantly? ›

    A cheap and highly effective solution is a simple mixture of dish soap and water. Blend two tablespoons of dish soap into a water-filled spray bottle and shake. Spray the mixture onto nests or individual wasps: the soap will clog the bugs' pores and kill them immediately.

    What are wasps scared off? ›

    Research has shown that a combination of clove, geranium and lemon grass essential oils effectively repels wasps. You can combine several drops of each oil in soapy water then transferring it to a spray bottle.

    What temperature do wasps stop flying? ›

    Below 50 degrees, wasps can't fly well, and when it freezes the colony will die. Nests that are hidden in walls or attics are hardest to control.

    What temperature kills wasps? ›

    During the onset of colder weather (60 to 70 degrees) most wasps die off.

    What month do wasps go away? ›

    Wasps are most active in July, but their active season will range from June until the late fall. In the spring, wasps will look for a good place to build their nests, lay their eggs, and produce the workers.

    How long do wasps remember you? ›

    Wasps can remember each other after a busy week apart, according to new research. It's a level of social memory never seen before in insects, which were long thought to be too small-brained for such a feat.

    Do wasps chase you if you run? ›

    You shouldn't run away and swat at bees or wasps. Unlike bees, female wasps have the ability to sting a target multiple times because their stinger does not fall off after use. When provoked, wasps will chase their attacker so as to not only protect themselves but ward off the attacker.

    Do wasps mourn? ›

    You might be surprised to discover that social insects such as bees, ants, and wasps also mourn their dead. Many of us already know of the different positions within these colonies such as the queens, workers, soldiers, and drones.

    Can wasps sense anger? ›

    Once wasps get angry, their defence mechanism releases pheromones that signal other wasps in the colony. They all gather and use their weapon – the stinger to paralyze the prey so they can feel safe.

    What smells do wasps hate? ›

    Citrus - Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can help deter wasps around your yard. Peppermint oil - Peppermint oil is one of the most effective essential oils for keeping wasps away. Citronella - Citronella oil is also effective, as it has a strong citrus smell that wasps do not like.

    Will water destroy a wasp nest? ›

    While water will not be effective on wasps which are flying round, it can be used to eliminate underground nests and all the occupants.

    What happens if you spray a wasp nest with water? ›

    Spraying nests with water

    Depending on the location of the nest, using water to remove a wasp nest can result in further damage to your property. For example, if the wasp nest is your attic, trying to remove a wasp nest by flooding it could cause water damage to your attic beams, ceiling and walls.

    What happens if a wasp lands on you? ›

    If you remain calm when a bee or wasp lands on your skin to inspect a smell or to get water if you are sweating heavily, the insect eventually will leave of its own accord. If you don't want to wait for it to leave, gently and slowly brush it away with a piece of paper.

    What happens if a wasp lands on me? ›

    If a wasp lands on you, don't flap at it or try to brush it off – it will sting you. Just stay still and let it fly off in its own time. A wasp trapped in clothing is more difficult to deal with because any slight movement can press garments against it.

    Should I knock down a wasp nest at night? ›

    Don't ever try to destroy the nest during day time as the wasps are most active at that time. Wait till evening when they have settled down and you can destroy it at night. If you spot a nest in the initial stage when the queen has just began to build it then you can knock it down anytime.

    Do wasps get angry when you destroy their nest? ›

    If you take only one thing from this article let it be this: wasps sting you because they feel threatened. If you get a little too close to a wasp nest, or even worse, if you accidentally step on and destroy part of a nest, expect some painful stings to be coming your way.

    What happens if you don't get rid of a wasp nest? ›

    Could you safely leave it alone? Remember wasps are beneficial to your garden helping with pollination and keeping other garden pests under control. The nest will die off naturally, even if left alone.

    What happens if you vacuum a wasp nest? ›

    When they are entering the opening in the wall or wherever their nest is located, the wasps cannot escape the suction created when the vacuum hose is placed next to the hole. This is a safe, chemical-free way to get rid of literally thousands of wasps.

    What does WD 40 do to wasps? ›

    Use WD-40

    WD-40 can be use to both kill wasps and stop them from nesting. Wasps are territorial, so will return to the same nesting spot every year. To keep wasps from returning, spray any former wasp next spots with WD-40. Apply it liberally underneath gutters, and anywhere you have spotted wasps congregating.

    What time should I spray my wasp nest? ›

    How to Spray a Wasp Nest. The best time to plan your attack is at sunrise or dusk, when these insects are least active. And remember to wait 24 hours to remove the nest, to ensure that the majority of the insects are dead or have flown away from the nest.

    Is it okay to spray wasp nest during the day? ›

    Avoid spraying the nest directly during the day so you do not get stung. Spray the nest liberally. If you're using a freezing agent in a wasp aerosol spray form, spray when most wasps are home at night to eliminate the infestation.

    How do you keep wasps from returning? ›

    Apart from spearmint leaves, wasps hate the smell of lemongrass, thyme, and eucalyptus. You can grow these plants around your house to prevent them from coming. You can also use peppermint, clove, and other essential oils to get rid of wasps.

    Do wasps return to nest every day? ›

    Here are a few things you should know before you tackle this job on your own. So the good news… if it is still early spring, most likely that wasp nest is an old dormant nest from the previous season. The reason being, that wasps never reuse the same nest over again and they do not overwinter in the nest either.

    What is the difference between a wasp and a hornet nest? ›

    The main differences between hornet nests vs. wasp nests are size and wall structures. A wasp nest is made from chewed wood that gives it distinctive papery walls, and a hornet's nest is made from chewed wood also.

    What time of day do you hit a wasp nest? ›

    The best time of day is early morning when most of the wasps will be inside the nest and activity is at a minimum. I recommend having two cans of aerosol wasp spray at the ready.

    How deep does a wasp nest go? ›

    Ground-dwelling wasps generally select locations with loose, sandy soil, because it's easier to burrow into than compacted clay soil. Ground-hornet nests are more than an inch wide. These hornets often create several holes near one another, burrowing straight down at depths of up to 24 inches.

    How do you know if a wasp nest is empty? ›

    The best way to determine if a wasp nest is active is to look for activity around the nest. Have you seen a large number of wasps flying back and forth from the entrance to the nest? If so, your nest is likely active. Wasps are less active at night, so it's best to make these observations during the day.

    Should I remove a wasp nest or leave it? ›

    If the wasps aren't coming near your garden or outdoor space, then they can be left alone as the nest will naturally die off after summer. If the wasps are causing issues, however, you should seek professional pest control services to help you deal with the nest safely.

    What is the best way to get rid of a wasp nest? ›

    To eliminate wasps, you can hang wasp traps, spray nests, or use a homemade mixture of soap and water to kill live wasps. If you hire a pest control expert to get rid of wasps, the team will destroy existing nests and apply additional yellow jacket treatments to prevent re-infestations.

    How can you tell a wasp nest from a bee nest? ›

    The main difference between beehives and wasp's nest is their size and shape. Beehives are larger and generally more sprawling than a wasp's nest. Wasp nests are small and umbrella-shaped. Additionally, the number of individuals within the nests is vastly different.

    What happens after you spray a wasp nest? ›

    Once sprayed, the wasp killer foams up to trap them in their nest. Ortho recommends waiting 24 hours, then checking on the nest and respraying if necessary. Once the nest is inactive, you can knock it down with a long stick. If you have ground nests, use a powder wasp killer like Sevin instead of a spray.

    Will wasps come back if you destroy their nest? ›

    Wasp nests are easy for wasps to come back to time and time again because they are filled with and surrounded by these pheromones. Even after removing the nest, those pheromones can linger and stick around where the nest was. Pheromones help wasps protect their nests as well.

    Will wasps go away if you destroy their nest? ›

    If you destroy a small wasp nest (golf ball size) with just the queen present and no worker wasps, if you do not kill the queen, she will typically move to a different location and start a brand new nest.

    What smell do wasps hate? ›

    There are several essential oils you can use to safely and effectively repel wasps. Peppermint oil on its own has been shown to act as a natural repellent for wasps and bees, or you can use a combination of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils as a natural pest control method.

    What not to do to a wasp nest? ›

    How NOT to remove a wasp nest
    1. Burning a wasp nest. Using fire to remove a wasp nest is a very dangerous task and is not a successful way to eradicate the wasps. ...
    2. Water. Using water is often regarded as another way to get rid of a wasp nest. ...
    3. Destroying a wasp nest with a baseball bat.

    What is the best month to get rid of a wasp nest? ›

    Wasp control is best done in the spring when queens are building new nests. Yellow jacket nests are usually underground and will have some individuals to start the colony up again next year.

    What is the difference between a hornet nest and a wasp nest? ›

    The main differences between hornet nests vs. wasp nests are size and wall structures. A wasp nest is made from chewed wood that gives it distinctive papery walls, and a hornet's nest is made from chewed wood also.

    What does queen wasp look like? ›

    She has bright yellow and black stripes, with a triangle-shaped head, a distinctive 'waist' and a sharp pointy sting. Emerging from hibernation during the spring, the queen chooses a suitable area to build her nest, such as a hollow tree or in the cavity of a building.

    What's the best time of day to spray a wasp nest? ›

    The best time of day is early morning when most of the wasps will be inside the nest and activity is at a minimum. I recommend having two cans of aerosol wasp spray at the ready.

    Will wasps sting at night? ›

    Although they're not as aggressive as yellowjackets or hornets, they can attack you repeatedly and deliver painful stings. Wasps are active in the daytime, but can they sting you at night? They typically do not strike at night, and you're safe walking near wasp nests after dark as long as the nest isn't disturbed.


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