Paper Wasps Under the Eaves

Author: Meera, July 25, 2013

The small, yellow-striped paper wasps have built two nests under the eaves. These insects are considered agriculturally beneficial, but they tend to get a little too close for comfort. The nests are right above my front door.


The nests are open-cell structures held together by fibers that the queen has masticated from wood posts (and sometimes woody  plant stems) and mixed with saliva to create the cells of the nest. The nest can be grow to six to eight inches across in order to accommodate a growing population.


Paper wasps feed their offspring caterpillars, beetle larvae, corn earworms, flies, tobacco hornworms, armyworms, and other insects.


These wasps can sting multiple times, unlike the  gentle honeybee that can sting only once. Earlier this year, when we were working on our front windows and door, I was stung four times on my cheek.  For people allergic to bee stings, the sting can be life-threatening. It’s recommended to wear a bee suit when removing the nest as the wasps will attack in response to the threat to their nest.


The best time to remove the nest is evening when the wasps are less active and on the nest.  High pressure water can be used to knock down the nest. I wrapped a hand towel saturated with a strongly scented kitchen cleaner. I took the nests down and then quickly went back into the house. The next day, a random paper wasp was back, apparently ready to rebuild. What was I to do, but reapply the smelling kitchen cleaner. The wasps are gone now.





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