What Does a Wasp Nest Look Like?

Wasp Nest

If you can spot the early signs that develop at the start of a wasps nest you can easily prevent issues down the line. Wasps build their nests gradually and they can easily nest underground as well as in elevated positions. There are many types of wasps, but they all nest in a similar way. Wasp nests are made of wood-like cells that a queen builds in throughout spring and summer.

To identify a wasp nest you can look for the following visual characteristics:

  • A ball-like shape, usually a little uneven – especially in larger nests
  • A grey colour, commonly quite drab and faded
  • Patterns on the outside resembling a coiling, swirl-like structure.
  • Dry and papery texture, similar to a papier-mache mould
  • A honeycomb pattern, but this is only on the inside of the nest

Wasp nests take time to build, queens will find a desirable location and then start constructing their nests. Wasp queens need fresh wood to chew and build their nests. You can often see small wasp nests in areas such as attics, eaves and other places where wood is present. 

It can be difficult to find and remove wasps nests but, as leading experts in a range of pest control solutions in the Midlands of the UK, we are a reliable source of information. If you require a professional solution please feel free to get in touch.

Wasp nest at home
A large hornets nest. You can see empty and filled cells and wasp insects. The nest is hangs in the window opening of the house.

How to Find and Identify Wasps Nest

So how do wasps start a nest? Well, the key to finding a wasp nest is thinking about the material that a queen requires to build them, which is wood. The queen wasps will chew the wood and spit it out in a grey paper-like paste – which forms the basis for the nest’s cement-like appearance. Wasps can find very small entry points in their search for wood.

As a result, anywhere with fresh wood is a potential nesting location. Some common areas a queen wasp nests nearby include the following:

  • Beams
  • Bird boxes
  • Compost heaps, and in the ground surrounding them
  • Dog houses
  • Fence posts
  • Garages
  • Garden trees and bushes
  • Gutters
  • Log stores
  • Outdoor decking
  • Rafters
  • Sheds
  • Soffits and fascias
  • Wall cavities
  • Wooden gates

In short, anywhere there is wood present is a potentially desirable nesting location for a queen wasp. Wasps begin to nest in the spring, so this is a good time to check. 

Nests can appear in some very unusual locations, such as the edge of wooden ladders, broom handles and even inside wendy houses. Stables and outbuildings are other possible locations that attract queen wasps.

Wasp nests can affect any home or business and many types of wasps exist, which can vary depending on your region. Common types of wasp nests include the following:

  • Paper wasps
  • Wood wasps
  • European wasps

There are thousands of different wasp species and subspecies, which will vary slightly in size, appearance and behaviour. 

It can be difficult to tell what a nest will look like at the start of the nest-building process, but they commonly become noticeable when they are about the size of a golf ball. 

Over time, which is an annual cycle over the summer, nests can grow very big. The start of a wasps nest is a much less dangerous time for removal, as the occupants have not significantly increased in number at this point.

What to Do When You Find a Wasp Nest

So you have found a wasps nest, now the next step is finding out what the most appropriate course of action may be. 

If you find a large active wasps nest in the middle of summer, the prime building and egg-laying time, you might need a professional solution as wasp stings can be extremely dangerous – especially when there are many of them.

Professional solutions include the following strategies to make nest removal safe:

  • Protective gear and safety equipment
  • Sprays and repellents
  • Awareness and manipulation of the wasps’ behaviour

It is usually safe to remove small wasps nests, no bigger than a golf ball or tennis ball, using a long stick to dislodge. When it is removed from wood the nest becomes an undesirable location for nesting. 

One important thing to note is the presence of groups of wasps or solitary wasps moving inside and outside the nest, in which case tampering may be unwise.

How to Remove a Wasp Nest Yourself

If a nest is outdoors it is safer to remove than it is in a narrow attic, where a person may not be able to exit quickly should things go wrong. If you want to remove a nest yourself, make sure it is safe to do so and then use the following approach:

  1. Wear protective clothing, long sleeves and thick fabrics – gloves are also essential
  2. Approach at night time, and in darkness, when wasps are more docile
  3. Cover the wasps’ nest carefully using a large bin bag
  4. Dislodge the nest within the bin bag
  5. Tightly seal the bag and dispose of it in an outdoor bin store

You should not attempt to remove a wasp nest yourself if it is in a difficult to reach area, such as an awkward attic or crawl space or at a great height. Having a full can of insecticide or bug spray is beneficial, just in case you agitate the wasps.

What Wasps Nests Look Like and What to Do Explained

The characteristic papery, misshapen ball-like appearance of a wasps nest is something most people will see at some point in their life. You can identify the start of a nest and prevent wasps from nesting through regular inspections in problem areas, and remove them before they become a problem.

Dealing with wasps’ nests can present a physical risk to yourself, pets and anyone nearby – so take great care at all times. Professional solutions are usually necessary for large and hard to reach nests. If you require a professional solution for wasps nest removal, or other pest control services, in the Midlands of the UK please contact us.