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PAPER WASPS CAN BE DISCOURAGED FROM NESTING ON YOUR HOUSE

By Zachary Ciras on May 19, 2020.

Seems like every spring we have wasps building papery nests under our front porch overhang, in the porch ceiling corners, and sometimes even on the window shutters. They’re at it again. The nest looks sort of like an umbrella and starts with just a couple of dark brown and yellow wasps. I’ve been told they’re paper wasps. What should we do?

L. W., Andover MA

Your wasps do sound like paper wasps. These wasps love to build their nests in places that are protected from the elements and predators; the inside corner of a porch roof is high on their list. Other favorite sites are under the eaves of a building, in vents, behind shutters, under window ledges, or in attics, sheds, and outbuildings. Sometimes you have to look out for nests in equipment that is rarely used such as boats, lawn tractors, birdhouses, swing sets, or gas grills.

NESTS BEGIN WITH A SINGLE QUEEN

These wasps are shaped differently than yellowjackets. They’re about ¾ inch long with a longer thorax and long pointed abdomen that are connected by a stalk-like “wasp waist.” They have long legs that dangle beneath when they fly. There is one species of paper wasp, the European paper wasp, that looks very much like a yellowjacket so keep the above differences in mind (see Sometimes Paper Wasps Look Like Yellowjackets!).

Paper wasps on an umbrella nest. Shutterstock.

Paper wasps are sometimes called “umbrella wasps” because their single comb, open nest resembles an umbrella that is attached by a short stalk. A single queen starts the papery nest in spring by constructing just a few cells in which she lays eggs. As worker wasps develop, they take over the task of enlarging the nest and rearing more young. Compared to other wasps though, paper wasp nests tend to be pretty small by the end of the summer, less than 100 workers.

CONTACT COLONIAL PEST FOR PAPER WASP NEST REMOVAL 

Although I understand that you would rather not have wasp nests on your front porch, you can take some comfort in the fact that paper wasps are generally not very aggressive. Like all wasps though they will defend the nest if you get too close. So if a nest is under construction near a doorway or anyplace where people or pets are apt to interact with the wasps, you will probably want to have it removed.

Paper wasps, as you already know, also tend to rebuild in the same desirable locations year after year. To discourage nest building, there are repellent products that can be applied to new nest sites under construction as well as to old exterior nest sites that may be under future consideration by paper wasp queens.

Another reason to eliminate paper wasp nests is that these wasps are notorious for overwintering inside building attics or wall voids.  In late summer, fertilized queens look for a protected place to spend the winter. It is these female wasps that will emerge next spring and start next year’s nests – often near where they grew up! See Now is the Time to Block Wasps From Building Nests.

GET SAFE, NO-CONTACT, EXTERIOR PEST CONTROL TWICE A YEAR!

If you’re signed up for our Preventative Maintenance Program, a semi-annual perimeter treatment around your home also includes treatment of your porch area, around doors and windows, and around rooflines, etc. Our technician can also inspect your yard area, sheds, and equipment for hidden wasp nests and other pest issues. All of this is done utilizing coronavirus safety precautions and our Zero Contact services including electronic appointment notification, and fully electronic billing (see our COVID-19 page for details).

We’ve also added yard Tick Control and Prevention this year as a new service offering. Ask us about our standard Gold Preventative Maintenance Program and the new Platinum Plan Semi-Annual Preventative Maintenance Program that includes tick control. Call 888-982-2963.

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