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Those Wasp Nests Are Dying Soon and Won’t Be Used Again 

By Chris Williams on September 8, 2014.
mosts wasps won't used their old nests again

Baldfaced Hornet Nest

At Colonial, our phones have been ringing off the hook with wasp calls. Yellowjackets and other wasps are very active now. In late summer, wasp nests are at their greatest capacity, so wasps are pretty visible. But in a few weeks, you will see a dramatic drop in the number of wasps as the seasonal nests die. Note that the important word in the previous sentence is “seasonal.” Yellowjackets and most other wasps do not re-use their old nests the following year. Surviving queens start new nests in the spring.

Some Wasp Nests Don’t Present a Problem

This past week, a customer who had a large, basketball-sized nest in a tree, wanted to know how best to remove it. He was debating whether or not to try to shoot it down. He figured that with a nest that big, he would really have a problem with wasps next year.

Not all wasp nests need to be controlled or destroyed. A nest high up in a tree like that and reportedly not causing any problems is best left alone for the following reasons:

  1. The nest almost assuredly belongs to the baldfaced hornet which is a black and white wasp that is fairly docile. These wasps forage away from the nest and do not interact with people as much as yellowjackets.
  2. It’s late summer and the wasps in this nest will not be with us much longer.
  3. The nest will not be used again next year. The size or location of the nest will probably have very little effect on whether or not there are other wasp nests in this guy’s yard next year. The nest will produce several wasp queens but those that survive the winter will each attempt to start a new nest next year that may, or may not, be in the same yard.
  4. The difficulty in trying to remove a docile nest that is not easily or safely accessible is not worth the time and risk for either the homeowner or the pest control technician.

On the other hand, if you have a yellowjacket or other wasps’ nest that is interfering with your ability to use and enjoy your property, give Colonial a call. You have every right to enjoy what’s left of the summer without worrying about getting stung or having to fight a yellowjacket for that chicken leg!

Image: Jerry A. Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

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