Currently viewing the category: "Nests"
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Subject: Weird Nest
Location: San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles
August 9, 2015 10:07 am
I am hoping someone can help me identify this “nest.” That’s what I am calling it because I have no clue. It was hanging in my father in law’s backyard and he took it down and opened it up but did not see anything. A few days later he became very ill with breathing issues and we are wondering if this “nest” had anything to do with it.
Please help. He is in the ICU and we are searching for answers. His doctor said that maybe an antigen caused his illness.
Signature: Sheila

Bushtit Nest

Bushtit Nest

Dear Sheila,
We are sorry to hear about your father-in-law.  This looks like the nest of a Bushtit to us, and there are many similar images posted on the Best Animal Galleries site.  A Bushtit is a small social, insectivorous bird and one is pictured with its nest on BirdNote.

Bushtit Nest

Bushtit Nest

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Subject: bugs nest
Location: Miami,Florida
July 29, 2015 10:27 am
Please help me figure out what this is.
Signature: Tiffany

Mud Dauber Nest

Mud Dauber Nest

Dear Tiffany,
This is the nest of a Mud Dauber, a solitary wasp that builds a nest of mud that is comprised of numerous cells provisioned with paralyzed spiders.  Each cell contains a single egg.  By the look of your nest, the adult Mud Daubers have already emerged to forage, pollinate flowers and possibly begin building a new generation of mud nests in sheltered locations, often in the corners of windows and under eaves.  Mud Daubers are not an aggressive species that can often be found collecting mud in gardens and other areas that are watered.

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Subject: Friendly wasp nesting in my balcony
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
July 19, 2015 9:00 am
Dear Bugman,
I’d like to know what kind of wasp the one pictured in the attached photos is. Unlike the “common” wasp here in Europe, who is probably the most annoying insect on this planet, these not only keep to themselves, they even look afraid of humans as they clumsily fly away when I get close.
The problem is that they’ve nested underneath my balcony table. Since they always keep their distance, I managed to convince my wife to leave them alone. I hate to harm any form of life. But she’s gonna freak out when she returns from her vacation and realizes that they are spreading and building new nests under the table.
Besides the identification, do you know if:
– These are known to bite easily? From my observations it does not seem to be the case as I’ve bumped into the table several times and passed really close to the nests causing several of them to fly out stunned and they never attacked.
– Is there a product or any other way to “convince” them to move away without harming them? They are building new nests at the moment so I guess they could do it elsewhere if only my balcony table stopped being a welcoming place for them.
Thanks in advance for the identification and any tip in helping my solve this problem without harming the wasps.
Kind regards,
Signature: Pedro

European Paper Wasp Nest

European Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Pedro,
This is the nest of the European Paper Wasp,
Polistes dominula, a common European species.  To the best of our knowledge, this is not an aggressive species, but they may sting in an effort to protect the nest.  According to Animal Diversity Web:  “European paper wasps live in temperate and terrestrial habitats including chaparral, forest and grassland biomes. They reside in urban, suburban, and agricultural locations. They tend to reside close to human civilization because they nest in human structures. They also live in forests and on plants where they can feed and nest. When nesting, they choose spaces created by farm machinery and recreational structures. During winter, impregnated queens reside in protected locations such as within house walls or in hollow trees. These females then create nests in these locations or nearby at the beginning of spring.”  According to Penn State Entomology:  “Before 1981, the European paper wasp was not recorded in North America. In its native region, P. dominula is the most abundant paper wasp in those countries around the Mediterranean. It is also found in southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and eastward into China.  A highly successful colonizer, this wasp has rapidly increased its distribution in the United States during the past 20 years. Before the introduction of this new species, the northern paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus , was the most frequently encountered species in and around structures in Pennsylvania.”  We cannot think of a feasible means of convincing them to move when they already have an established nest.

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Subject: Insect Nest
Location: Porto Alegre
June 26, 2015 11:50 am
I recently visited the Jardim Botanico de Porto Alegre in Brazil, and I saw this nest up in a tree there. It’s about two feet tall. I’ve looked up both insect and bird nests, and I can’t seem to find a visual match online. It has thorns on it, and there weren’t any other structures like it anywhere, so I don’t think it’s a feature of the tree itself.
Signature: Brynna

What's That Nest???

What’s That Nest???

Dear Brynna,
This nest appears to be made of mud and it appears that it is quite large.  We wish you had estimated its dimensions.  Like you, we would speculate that it was created either by a social insect or a bird.  Our initial search did not produce any results.  Perhaps our Brazilian counterpart, Cesar Crash of Insetologia will have some ideas.

Update:  July 4, 2015
Thanks to a comment from a reader, we were directed to this image of a Paper Wasp Nest on FlickR.

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Subject: Bald faced hornet nest?
Location: Connecticut
June 7, 2015 5:23 pm
Sorry for posting twice! We wonder if this is a bald faced hornet nest and what you can tell us about it? Thanks!
Signature: Don’t understand

New Hornets Nest

New Hornets Nest

This does indeed appear to be a newly constructed Bald Faced Hornets Nest, and we are supposing that the only flying inhabitant at this time is the queen, though her initial brood is probably developing in the nest now.  Toward the end of the season, the nest will grow to the size of a football, or even larger, and according to The Study of Northern Virginia Ecology:  “One nest may hold up to 700 hornets.”  Bald Faced Hornets are not considered aggressive, but they will defend the nest and they are capable of stinging. 

Thank you for your quick response! It is amazing what bees can do! Let me know if you would like more photos as it progresses. Have a wonderful day! Cheryl

Hi Cheryl,
We are happy to hear you are going to let the nest develop.  We would love additional images.  We are going to be away until the end of June and not responding to emails in our absence, but by the time we return there should be changes in the appearance and activity around the nest.
  Please continue to use Bald Faced Hornet Nest as the subject line.

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Subject: Mason wasp? Very cool nesting! (pics)
Location: Austin, TX
June 5, 2015 6:12 pm
Last year on my patio popped up a large paper wasp nest and family. I let em stay because they were never aggressive and far enough away. I never bothered knocking the nest down, and then one day this spring I saw something interesting. There was a wasp returning to the nest. I looked closer and saw it was packing mud in the holes…hmm? It looked really similar to a regular Texas paper wasp, but a little different.
After it left I looked closer and saw a mud packed hole and another she was working on. Inside it looked like little gray and green tree caterpillars/worms. Very cool! During the next weeks/month it made more nests, quite efficient compared to the standard mud pods we see. Also during this time I noticed that the numerous smaller and new for the season paper wasp nests died off, except for one lone wasp now. I would find dead paper wasps 1 or 2 a day on the patio, and eventually their little nests were cut down/disappeared one day.
Today I looked at it, and most of the little mud “caps” were open, and there happened to be a wasp that just emerged hanging there. Wings are small so it can’t have been out too long. Snapped some pics!
Not much of a bug nerd, but I sound like it now! Just found this really interesting and couldn’t find anything about this on the internet at all. On your site here and google, looks like a mason wasp possibly? Ever heard of this behavior?
Signature: Phil

What Wasp is nesting in a Paper Wasp Nest???

Mason Wasp nesting in a Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Phil,
It is our understanding that Paper Wasps do not reuse nests, and we have not heard of any mud nesting wasps using abandoned Paper Wasp nests, nor has our internet research turned up anything in our initial search.  We wish you had a better image of the “recycling” Wasp.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to add some information.  We will also try to contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide any information.

Eric Eaton Confirms Mason Wasp
Phil is correct.  This is a mason wasp of some kind.  Many kinds of solitary bees and wasps will use pre-existing cavities as nests, including old mud dauber nests, and, at least occasionally, abandoned paper wasp nests.

Yeah it was hard to get a good angle and keep my arms perfectly still being high up.  I did see one return to the nest yesterday, but it fly off before I could snap a pic.  Looks like another one hatched too.  Looking at more pics on google, I see some that look very similar to a kind of Mason wasp:

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination