What Do Wasp Nests Look Like?

large wasp nest with wasps crawling outside the entrance

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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    What Is a Wasp Nest Made Of?

    wasp building a nest

    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. 

    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.

    a wasp emerging from an underground wasp nest
    Wasp nests vary in size, but some can contain as many as 10,000 wasps! It is therefore important to avoid disturbing a wasp nest unless you are a professional!

    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. 

    wasp nest inside a cavity wall of a house
    Despite the fact that you may wish to remove a wasp nest from a particular area, they are in fact extremely beneficial as pest controllers, as they consume a large number of pests that would otherwise be a nuisance to farmers and gardeners.

    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. 

    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. 

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