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The amazing, yet terrifying, way that wasps build nests in homes

The amazing, yet terrifying, way that wasps build nests in homes

Neil Clark finds out what it is like to find a wasp nest in your home almost two weeks after reports of 20,000 bees living in the roof of one house.

Due to the warmer temperatures that come with Spring, lots of animals are coming out of hibernation and unfortunately amongst these are queen wasps, who aim to build new nests as soon as they leave hibernation in order to provide a place for their larvae to hatch. The main disadvantage to this behaviour is the fact that the nests could be built in places you definitely don’t want wasps to be. The whole situation begins often at the sight of a few in the warmest places of a property.

We are told of the story of one woman, visiting her mother, opened a wardrobe that hadn’t been used for a while and was built in to the room and the roof. The nest hung down into the wardrobe and was grey-ish in colour and measured a whopping 20 inches long and 6 inches wide. It became clear that it was active with several wasps flying around it.

Once the original shock had left, you have to marvel at how they managed to build such a nest, despite the fact you don’t want it in your home.

I did some research, consulting the New Larousse Encyclopedia of Animal Life, which explains that “the nest is built of carton. A cardboard-like material composed mainly of wood fibres mixed with saliva to form a pulp that is applies in strips with the mandibles and allowed to dry. Each nest consists of about six horizontal combs (in cells od which the larvae are reared), joined by vertical pillars and enclosed in an outer envelope”.

Incredible. It is clear that wasps are in fact talented engineers. The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) does describe them as “one of Britain’s most feared and potentially aggressive pests”, but also considers that the nests they build are “amazing pieces of architecture”.