In this post, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about wasp nests.
The site of a wasp nest on the overhang of your home or garage never results in a happy response.
People are rightfully scared of getting in the way of wasps and suffering a sting. They have a very painful sting that no one wants to experience.
The wasps don’t really care what you think though. If the queen decides the eves of your home right outside your porch entrance is a good spot for a nest, then that’s where they will build it.
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How do wasps build their nests?
Wasps build their nests by taking wood scraps they find outdoors and chewing it the wood into a pulp they mix with saliva. This creates a mouthful of soft paper pulp that the wasp will take to their chosen nesting site to begin constructing the nest.
Worker wasps form the paper pulp into hexagonal shaped cells. The pulp will dry to form a sturdy nest, often build on the underhang off a roof or garage.
Paper wasp building a nest
What are wasp nests built with?
Paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets all build their nests with paper. The paper is created by female wasps chewing up raw wood they find (usually sticks, logs, bark, scraps of cardboard) and mixing it with saliva to create a wood paper pulp. They use this as the building material, which will dry and harden.
Where do wasps build nests?
Wasps build their nests below gutters and overhangs of homes, in spaces between bricks and siding, cracks in foundations, in garages, sheds, in tree stumps, under openings in the bark of trees, in bushes and in holes in the ground.
Do wasps stay in their nest in winter?
When winter weather arrives, the wasps will die off because of the lack of food. The queen wasp will find a safe location to hibernate for the winter and the nest will be abandoned.
What happens to wasps in winter?
Wasp colonies die will die off during the winter months. They cannot survive winter because a lack of food will cause starvation.
Only the mated queens will hibernate over the winter and survive into the spring. Queens find crevices and other shelters for the winter. Most hibernating queen wasps will not actually survive the winter. Ones who do survive will start a new colony in the spring.
Do wasps return to their nests? Do wasps reuse nests?
Wasps do not return to nests or reuse old nests. Once freezing temperatures arrive, a wasp colony will die off. Before this happens, the queen will abandon the colony to find a place to hibernate over the winter and then start a new nest in the spring.
Because wasps do not reuse old nests, they are perfectly safe to remove after cold weather has killed off the colony. They will not come back to the same nest in the spring.
Is it safe to remove a wasp nest yourself?
After the wasp nest has been abandoned for the winter, there will be no danger in removing the wasp nest yourself.
When the nest is active, you should not remove the nest until you are sure you have managed to kill all the wasps using a wasp spray that can safely shoot from several feet away.
Use the spray very carefully during late evening or very early morning when the wasps should be inactive. Make a plan of attack ahead of time and have your escape route planned so you can get away quickly after you’ve sprayed the nest.
Related post: Identification of Bees, Wasps and Hornets in Illinois