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European paper wasp nests

dandelion
A coworker told me about a wasp nest he knew about, so I went and found it, and removed it. It was a European paper wasp nest--this species builds nests a bit earlier than many others. Native to Europe, it is not especially aggressive, but that is not much solace to those who have been stung. They like to build nests on man-made structures such inside the open pipe of chain link fence supports or old sheds. They closely resemble yellow jackets, which are much more likely to sting. If you have the nerve to examine them closely, European paper wasps have orange antennae while those of yellow jackets are black. Traps designed to catch yellow jackets (which are attracted to sugar syrups and meat) will not catch European paper wasps. Here are three of the eight European paper wasp nests I destroyed that day.




Old or poorly constructed sheds are most attractive to the wasps, as they provide shelter from the weather, but have large gaps that the insects can use as entrance holes.


The paper combs of the nests, made mostly from the dead wood of fences mixed with the insects' saliva, are quite beautiful.

EDITED TO ADD: These wasps feed exclusively on other insects, so many people just leave them alone. I remove their nests only when they they provide a stinging hazard at home or work.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
flyingwolf
May. 4th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure those are what tend to take up residence in my outside lights. Perfect location - downward facing cone. And the light is motion activated so it doesn't go on often Trouble is when I need to change the bulb... So I tend to fry the nests.
ursulav
May. 4th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
So that's what those are! I've got 'em all over, but never was quite sure what the species was.
urbpan
May. 5th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
I should have added: they feed exclusively on other insects, so many people just leave them alone.
drhoz
May. 5th, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
Had to deal with a Black-and-Yellow Paper Wasp nest at a building siter the other day - oddly enough, they were nesting inside a steel verandah post - unusual, for these wasps, who usually build in the open. I had to tape metal over the hole.
by_steph
May. 5th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
They love to build on the ceiling in front of my recessed front door. Even though it is a high traffic area, we've never had a problem with them acting aggressively towards us. One day, one swooped down and bounced off my head. I gave them one more chance before I went Godzilla on their asses, but that was the only incident. I like to have them there to deter solicitors. When people I don't want to talk to come to the door, I make frequent, worried glances up at the nests. They usually follow my gaze and then lose interest in whatever it was they were trying to sell me.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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