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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

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.

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dandelion
urbpan
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