Wasp’s Nest Under the Eaves

I’m fascinated and disturbed by the wasp’s nest under the eaves.  They picked a high-traffic area to set up house, right outside our back door.  Two years ago they chose a similar spot, but I was able to remove the nest within a day.  I annoyed two of them, but the nest was empty so they grudgingly relocated without a fuss.

Wasp's Nest

This nest filled up quickly, with several adults keeping watch.

According to National Geographic:

“Despite the fear they sometimes evoke, wasps are extremely beneficial to humans. Nearly every pest insect on Earth is preyed upon by a wasp species, either for food or as a host for its parasitic larvae. Wasps are so adept at controlling pest populations that the agriculture industry now regularly deploys them to protect crops.”

I’m still trying to control the spread of scale and thrips in the front garden and imagine these wasps could help.  Just yesterday I clipped away a few wheelbarrow loads of brown, stained under-growth from the thrips infestation.  I moved on to the Magnolia to do battle with the remaining scale.  The purchased lacewings emerged and presumable got to work, but the damaged leaves had to be removed.

Should the wasp’s nest stay or go? Further reading in an article from Purdue University suggests leaving the nest intact.

Most home owners do not realize that wasp nests are cleaned out each fall by the wasps themselves. The empty nests contain nothing but the outside paper shell at that time. This too will break down and disintegrate through the winter. Wasps never re-use the same nest from season to season, so letting mother nature take care of them through time, is usually the best control method we have.

For now, that’s exactly what we plan to do.

•More about wasps from National Geographic.
•Leaving the nest: a perspective from Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab.

15 thoughts on “Wasp’s Nest Under the Eaves

  1. Oh dear, do you have to run in and out of the house? It’s really bad when you’re trying to eat on the patio and they get around the table. You’re smart to look it up, I’m afraid I’d just get them to relocate by trying to knock it down. I’m a meanie.

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    • It was good to research this, because I wanted it gone, too. They are three feet from the back door, but of course up under the eaves. They don’t seem interested in anything but building the nest. Our patio table is a good distance from the door (down two steps and around the corner). We’ve been lighting candles, including citronella) and so far they’ve left us alone.

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    • I think people are bothered by the fact that they can sting more than once. Knowing they aren’t interested in harming me or my family unless provoked is very encouraging.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, BBB!

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  2. I also get them every year, under the eave right outside my back door. We have a respectful relationships—I leave them alone as long they don’t nest too close to the house. If they do, i wait for a cold night when they’ll be sluggish and knock the nest down. It pains me to see them working so hard to build it when I know I’m going to destroy their handiwork, but I want to be able to use my door without having them get in the house. Good luck with your new crop of little friends.

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    • You’ve got to wonder why they feel compelled to nest so close to the door with people coming and going. We’ve had them in the past in the side-yard eaves, far away from any foot traffic.

      I’ve been in and out several times today and they remain oblivious to my activity.

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  3. I have not 1 but 3 nest in our eaves around the house. I leave them be. However, they have not improved our harvest, the gofer seems most pleased with our hard work!

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    • Thank you for reading and commenting. One of great things about writing a blog is all the things I’ve learned along the way.

      It’s also interesting how we hang on to old beliefs, simply because we’ve not explored the possibility that something else could be true.

      I took my boys outside and showed them the nest, explained that it was mostly harmless if we left them alone and they were fine with that.

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      • It’s “mostly harmless” if it doesn’t fall on the ground and your dog sticks his nose in it. That’s how Toby got a wasp’s paper nest stuck on the side of his face his Mom (me) got stung in the head three times trying to brush it off of him. This was while we were hiking. It felt like a hot nail in my skull, and we were a mile from the car! A ran/walked all the way back, looking over my shoulder most of the way, lest they come back for more.

        Lesson learned: Don’t let your dog stick his face in a wasp nest.

        P.S. He did not get stung!

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  4. I think the temptation is always to remove something that we fear or dislike isn’t it? It’s interesting to see that they do actually have a purpose, although I’m not sure how I’d feel about it being in the doorway!

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    • So true! I’m glad I took the time to do a bit of research. I’ve heard from others that they can be aggressive, but honestly, I mostly forget they are there. One flew out of the compost bin today but again, just took off.

      Our oldest cat likes to sun herself right below and they leave her alone too.

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  5. Pingback: Wasp Nest Revisted | gardeningnirvana

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