Wasp Nest Identification

Sonia Nair Jun 9, 2019
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It is always better to identify and remove wasp nests during spring or early summer, when they have only a few members. Here are some tips for identifying wasp nests.
A wasp nest in your premises can be a cause of concern, as these insects inflict horrible stings.
While some people can identify wasp nests easily, others fail to do so, and eventually land in trouble. You must have a basic know-how about wasp nest identification, so that they can be removed at the earliest, and the risk of wasp stings can be reduced.

Wasp Nests

Wasps are actually beneficial insects that help to control various pests. However, in areas inhabited by humans, the presence of wasps can be risky. So, once a wasp nest is sighted, the very next thing to do is its removal and disposal.
Wasps are generally classified into two groups - social and solitary. While most of the solitary wasps do not make nests, social wasps build nests with a papery pulp material, made from wood fibers mixed with saliva. Some of the solitary wasps, like mud daubers and pollen wasps, make nests out of mud.
Both paper nests and mud nests can be seen on trees, attics, walls, inside crevices, and beneath sheltered spaces. Some of the solitary wasps burrow into the soil and make nests. These types of wasp nests are usually seen in urban areas, where these insects find it difficult to gather nesting materials.

How to Identify a Wasp Nest

As compared to solitary wasp nests, social wasp nests are more dangerous, as they house numerous members. If threatened, the whole colony may come out to attack the intruder. As mentioned earlier, most of the social wasps make nests out of papery pulp.
Wasps start making nests in spring. The fertile queen bee builds a small nest, to lay eggs, which hatch into larvae that pupate into sterile workers. They build a nest around the small one.
They indulge in this activity through the summer till autumn. By this time, the nest will be housing thousands of wasps. This is the time, when wasp nests are more dangerous.
During spring, wasp nests are found to be smaller. If you notice bigger wasp nests during this season, chances are that they are old or deserted. A new wasp nest will look fresh and shiny as compared to an old one. Even if the nests are located inside crevices, and are not visible, activities of wasps through the hole, indicate the presence of a wasp nest.
Paper Wasp Nest: As mentioned earlier, these nests are made of brownish-gray, papery material. They can be seen attached to the surface with a thin stalk. Most of the paper wasp nests have single layered cells, with a thin outer covering.
The upper part has a special covering that acts like a roof, and this protects the nest from water. While nests made by yellow jackets have a single opening, some others are umbrella-shaped, with large holes as openings.
Mud Wasp Nest: Unlike paper wasp nests, mud wasp nests are made of mud. Such nests are made by mud wasps that are long and slender, with a thread-like waist.
They make nests in different shapes. While a tube-like nest that resembles an organ pipe, is made by organ pipe mud wasps; some others build cylindrical cells that are joined and covered with mud.
In short, it is better to remove the wasp nest before the onset of summer, when there are fewer members in the nest. It is somewhat risky to do this task during mid summer or after that, when their population increases multifold.
If you want to proceed with removal of the nest, take sufficient precautions, to avoid their stings. Remove the nest, when the insects are less active - before sunrise or after sunset. If you are not aware of the right methods for removing wasp nests, hire a professional for that task.