Currently viewing the category: "Nests"

Subject:  Paper Wasps
Geographic location of the bug:  Chesapeake, VA
Date: 09/08/2021
Time: 10:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman!
Some resourceful paper wasps have taken advantage of the gap in the screen of our daughter’s bedroom window.  She was initially afraid of them but we are using the nest as a teaching tool since they’ll likely be gone once winter hits.  The nest has really grown since they moved in, and it’s so interesting to watch.  She is four and loves the “bugs that make the paper”.
It’s interesting to see their antennas reach toward the window when we open the blinds, but beyond that, they don’t seem to be phased by our presence.
How you want your letter signed:  S Reyman

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear S Reyman,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Paper Wasp nest and your plan for using its development as a teaching tool. We believe these are introduced European Paper Wasps which are pictured on BugGuide.

Paper Wasps

Subject:  2 wasps nesting on motorbike fork
Geographic location of the bug:  Taipei City, Taiwan
Date: 08/29/2021
Time: 12:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This afternoon I found these 2 guys nesting off the lower end of the fork of my motorbike that I had had covered and not ridden for a couple of months. Over the past 3 days I rode the bike several times, including once after I had discovered them. They seemed unfazed by the 50 kmph speeds, winds, vibration, etc., never letting go of the nest or taking flight, although they moved about on the nest.
My questions:
1. What type of wasp/hornet is it?
2. Can I just cut the rope-like thing that it hangs off and then run? Would they attack me/give chase? How long would they stay around the nest, and irritated?
I wouldn’t like to endanger their lives nor my own.
How you want your letter signed:  Tauno

Paper Wasps nesting on motorbike

Dear Tauno,
We love, love, love your letter and we are making your nesting Paper Wasps the Bug of the Month for September 2021. We have even posted a submission in 2014 of Paper Wasps in Taiwan.  Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes are found in many parts of the world.  They are social wasps and according to the North American site BugGuide:  “Mature colonies have up to 30 adults.”  If you cut the nest, with only two Paper Wasps, one the queen, protecting the next, we doubt you will be stung, but we can assure you the Paper Wasps will abandon the nest.  The queen may attempt to build a new nest.  We can’t believe you rode the motorbike at 50kmph and they stayed with you and the nest.

Paper Wasps nesting on Motorbike

UPDATE:  September 2, 2021
Dear Bugman,
I am deeply grateful for your answer and, on behalf of the biker wasps, overwhelmed by the honor of being featured on your website.
An update:Your prediction was absolutely correct: the wasps abandoned the nest. I parked my bike, this time in a more open area and without covering it; on the first night at least one of these guys was still there, dozing off, but by the evening of the next day they were nowhere to be seen. For all the lack of privacy, I’d probably have moved, too.
I waited until the next afternoon and then mustered up the courage to pluck off the (really a beginning of a) nest with bare fingers, kind of expecting to see an empty shell (wouldn’t you finish building your home first and only then move your family in?), but to my surprise a little beady face was staring at me from almost each of the compartments (see the pic), some apparently trying to wiggle me to bring them high tea. Thinking the actual family might come back for them I took the whole bundle to the park across the alley and left it under a bush.
From your email it seems that this will probably not happen- so that was a bittersweet goodbye- but I can now say I’ve met a real queen.
Hope they’ll find a place for a more peaceful home soon.
Thank you!

Paper Wasp Nest

Thank you for the wonderful update Tauno.  Regarding moving the family in before the home is finished:  The queen constructed the beginning of the nest and she produced her first generation of workers, and by your account, there were only a few.  For that first generation, the queen also had to do all the hunting.  Once she had several workers, she began producing her second generation of workers and there were more helpers so it can be a bigger brood.

Subject:  Wasps?
Geographic location of the bug:  Nest uncovered during window replacement
Date: 07/10/2019
Time: 09:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Have read many accounts that wasps paralyze and lay eggs in these “victims”?
How you want your letter signed:  Sue

Grass Carrying Wasp Nest with Crickets

Dear Sue,
We wish you had a higher resolution image.  We have never seen an image of such a fully stocked Grass Carrying Wasp nest.  Female Grass Carrying Wasps provision the nest with Crickets, especially Tree Crickets.  We had no idea each larva would eat so many Crickets.  We were under the impression that one cell was used per egg.  We will need to research this matter more.  Your understanding of the behavior of solitary female Wasps and their care for the young is correct.  Paralyzing the prey allows the victim to remain alive and fresh as opposed to old and dried out, so if the eggs hatch in several months, there will be fresh food provided for the long dead mother Wasp.  Social Wasps like Hornets have no need to paralyze prey as there are worker Wasps assigned to child care so the queen can just procreate.  Where are you located? 

Close-Up of Grass Carrying Wasp Nest with Crickets

Subject:  What kind of nest is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Near roof under eaves
Date: 06/08/2019
Time: 08:10 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this nest under the roof of our house in northern Illinois
How you want your letter signed:  Zena

Bald Faced Hornets Nest

Dear Zena,
This looks like the nest of a Bald Faced Hornet in its early stages of construction.  When complete, it will be about the size of a football.  According to Bee Friendly:  “Bald Faced Hornets become active each year in the early spring (March-April) when the fertile Queen comes out of her underground winter den and begins to forage on flies and other insects, including smaller wasps and bees, while she scouts for a nesting site for the coming year. The new colony will typically build up its population, through the Spring and Summer months (May-Sept), to an average number of 700 members. During the cooler weather of the Autumn (late Oct.) the colony will produce short lived male wasps and fertile females that will then mate and seek out hibernation dens for the winter.The entire colony will eventually die off in mid to late November when the prey insects have all disappeared.”  Hornets will not reuse an old nest.  Hornets are social wasps and they will defend the nest.  Hopefully the nest is high enough in the eaves that human movements will not alarm the inhabitants.  They will sting to protect the nest.

Subject:  European hornet ?
Geographic location of the bug:  north Georgia
Date: 05/02/2019
Time: 06:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Found this hornets’ nest at the base of a tree in north Georgia.  The guards at the entrance were all fanning the nest.  I think this is the European hornet but would like confirmation.  Sorry the photos are blurry – actually they are freeze frames from a long video clip.  FWIW I am a Patreon donor to WTB!
How you want your letter signed:  Bruce Carlson

European Hornets

Hi Bruce,
Thanks for your patronage.  We apologize for the delay, but Daniel is currently in Ohio for Mother’s Day and the internet here is woefully slow.  These are definitely European Hornets. At first we were not convinced this is a nest because European Hornets and many other Wasps will feed on sap that is oozing from trees.  According to BugGuide:  “Paper nest is built in hollow trees, or in human structures such as attics” so we also concur that this is a nest.

European Hornets

Subject:  Mud Wasps?
Geographic location of the bu:  Sadleir NSW
Date: 01/21/2019
Time: 09:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi the wasps in the pic are living on my clothes line can u please tell me if they are mud wasps n what kind? Also if they are aggressive how can i remove them in a manner safe for me and them?
How you want your letter signed:  Yours Sincerely Lori Jenkins

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Lori,
This appears to be a Paper Wasp nest, probably from the genus
Polistes.  According to the Brisbane Insect site:  “There are different species of Paper Wasps. Those wasps in genus Polistes build inverted mushroom-shaped. They build rather small paper combs nest suspended from a peduncle and not surrounded by an envelope. … They are dark brown in colour with yellow bends on dark brown abdomen. The thorax is black in colour with yellow ‘V’ markings. Their faces are yellow with large compound eyes.” Your image is rather dark and lacking detail, so we would not rule out the genus Ropalidia which is also pictured on the Brisbane Insect site.  Paper Wasps are social wasps that will defend the nest against attack by stinging, and some species might be more aggressive than others, but when they do not feel the nest is threatened, they are quite docile.