Wasp Nest

Picture of Paper Wasp on Flower

How Do Wasps Build Nests?

Social by nature, most wasp species live in nests that support as many as thousands of individuals. The composition and location of the nest depends on the particular species of wasp.

Most of the wasp species prevalent in New England construct nests out of a self-manufactured material akin to paper. Wasps create the material by chewing up wood and mixing the fibers with saliva to produce a pulp. Yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets, both common wasps in the region, wrap layers of the papery pulp around tiers of combs featuring rows of six-sided cells.

Another common New England wasp species, the paper wasp, uses the pulp to build nests out of combs without the protective outer layers. The region is also home to mud dauber wasps, which, as the name suggests, use mud to assemble tubular nests.

Where Do Wasps Build Nest?

Wasps build nests either in, on, or above the ground. Of the wasp species found in New England, German yellow jackets are the most likely to establish paper nests underground. Other yellow jackets as well as hornets native to the region affix their paper nests to:

  • Bushes
  • Shrubs
  • Sides of buildings
  • Trees

What Do Wasp Nests Look Like?

Enveloped in layers of paper with the largest comb at the middle of the structure, the nests of yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets are often shaped like spheres or teardrops. Paper nests typically feature a solitary entry and exit point. The nests constructed by paper wasps, however, remain open like an umbrella.

Paper wasps frequently set up nests beneath eaves or overhangs, often in attics or near door frames. Mud dauber wasps also construct nests under overhangs and in attics. Unlike other New England wasp species, mud daubers build tube-shaped nests and live individually.

Control & Removal

While some wasp species are more aggressive than others, the overall risk of getting stung by the insects makes nest removal best left to a professional pest control expert. Hornets and yellow jackets in particular can pose serious danger to residents attempting to remove wasp nests without professional assistance. Both types of wasps not only sting when threatened but produce pheromones that alert and encourage other members of the colony to attack and sting.

Unlike bees, which have barbed stingers that detach after a single sting, wasps are capable of stinging multiple times. As each wasp sting generally causes an allergic reaction ranging from itching and swelling to anaphylactic shock, the removal of a nest potentially housing thousands of the stinging insects should be handled by an experienced pest control professional.

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