Wasps may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of the most fascinating creatures, but they should! These hardworking, often-vilified insects have some of the most fascinating life cycles on the planet. All of the tasks that wasps perform, including nest building, are informed by the specifics of their life.


Wasp Nest Construction

Paper wasp nests resemble honeycombs, as anyone who has seen wasp nest pictures will attest. To build these nests, wasps collect weathered wood from old fences or porches and chew it into a paste-like pulp mixed with their saliva. The insects then shape this pulp into hexagon-shaped paper cells. Initially, the workers create only as many cells as they require to hold their eggs. The paper wasp nest, on the other hand, will eventually contain around 200 cells. These nests appear umbrella-shaped from the outside and are frequently found in protected areas such as tree branches, eaves, porches, and railings. Wasp nests resemble the paper nests built by other insects such as hornets and yellow jackets. However, those insects encase their entire nest in a paper pulp envelope, whereas wasps leave their nests bare and the majority of yellowjackets build their nests underground. These simple facts can assist you in identifying wasp nests.


The nest built by a wasp colony will only last one year. The wasps mate after a summer spent caring for the young wasps and working on the ongoing nest construction. The paper wasps abandon their nest by the first hard frost in late autumn. Only female wasps who successfully fertilize their eggs will make it through the winter.


When it comes to paper wasps, they construct their nests out of paper. These hardworking insects make a paste-like pulp out of wood fibers gathered from old fences or decks. This pulp, along with the wasp’s saliva, forms the foundation of the nest, which is a network of approximately 200 tiny cells arranged in a honeycomb pattern.

Life Cycle of a Wasp

Wasp homes, like most animals, reflect the life cycles of their inhabitants. It is necessary to understand how wasps live in order to understand how they build their nests. Except for the fertile female wasps destined to become queens, all wasps die during the winter. These wasps hide in inconspicuous places, such as beneath tree barks or within building crevices. When spring arrives, the queens emerge and begin searching for suitable nesting sites. In general, a group of queens collaborates, and the most dominant queen eventually subjugates the others into worker roles.


Nests Have a Unique Appearance

Each wasp builds a nest that is slightly different from the nests built by its cousins. Some nests have a rounded appearance, similar to a balloon, with a hole at the bottom. Nests of bald-faced hornets resemble a gray wineglass suspended from the lip of a cup part attached to a building eave. To gain access inside the nest, a long cylindrical stem drops beneath the cup. Paper wasp nests have a honeycomb appearance, with each papery cell supporting a new wasp. Their nests are circular and somewhat flat, no taller than the length of a wasp. Mud daubers create small mounds of mud attached beneath eaves that harden to a gray or brown color depending on the mud color in your area.

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