6 Different Types of Wasp Nests

Different Types of Wasp Nests
Image credit: depositphotos.com

Different types of wasp nests are composed of wood fiber and clay. They construct their nests in the cavities of trees and branches, the eaves of houses (also known as paper wasps), the sides of houses, as well as other holes and containers (yellowjackets).

It is easy to see why finding a wasp nest on your property or yard might set off alarm bells for you.

These wasps are fiercely territorial, and some of their species can be quite violent.

In addition, their stingers are huge and smooth, and the wasps can use them numerous times to inflict pain significantly worse than that caused by a honey bee.

If you discover a wasps’ nest on your property, knowing the various kinds of nests you find is helpful.

Wasps are great builders who clean our yard of potentially harmful insects and help pollinate the plants we grow. But the discovery of a wasp nest is cause for anxiety.

The following is a list of the six different types of wasp nests and the species that build them.

Different Types of Wasp Nests

1. Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest
by John Tann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

North America is home to a number of different species of paper wasps, the red paper wasp being the most possessive of its territory.

In a manner analogous to the southern yellowjacket, paper wasps make a mache-like nesting material by combining chewed wood and saliva.

Paper wasps create their much smaller, flattened, bowl-shaped nests without an exterior covering so the observer can see the hexagonal egg-brooding chambers in their nests. This will allow you to recognize the difference between the two species.

They also favor constructing their nests in open areas, notably beneath overhangs and eaves of houses.

Wasps use paper to construct their nests, which is what the process looks like.

2. Mud Daubers Nest

Mud Daubers Nest
by treegrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Mud daubers nest is the second mention on our list of different types of wasp nests.

The average length of a mud dauber wasp is less than 1 inch, making them one of the more slender species of wasp. Their bodies are pitch-black, and their thoraces, legs, and wings are yellow.

Mud daubers, who are related to yellowjackets, are more submissive and shy than their cousins and try to avoid confrontation whenever possible.

These wasp nests may be the most interesting of all the different kinds of wasp nests.

The females construct elongated, cylindrical cells out of dried mud and place a single egg inside each one.

Nests of mud daubers are most commonly on vertical surfaces, such as the sides of buildings or sheds.

3. Southern Yellowjacket Nest

The Southern Yellowjacket Nest is the third mention on our list of different types of wasp nests.

The southern yellowjacket is a powerful species that you should not trifle with because it is notoriously hostile and has the propensity to swarm.

They can grow up to an inch long and have smooth bodies with yellow and black stripes that are easily recognizable.

Yellowjackets like to nest underground, but you can also find them in tree hollows, empty plant pots, beneath the hood of unused vehicles, and other undisturbed “cubby holes.”

Yellow jackets are most active throughout the spring and summer months.

Yellowjackets of the South Make Their Nests in the Earth Yellowjackets of the South make their nests in the ground.

Yellowjackets build their structure by chewing plant fibers to make a greyish-brown papery substance, which they apply in layers in early spring.

This process takes place over several weeks. It maintains its steady growth throughout the year until the cold season when the insects leave it alone.

The nest consists of hexagonal cells used for egg brooding, and the yellowjackets will fight with all their might to protect their young.

4. Cicada Killer Wasp Nest

Cicada Killer Wasp Nest
by Ted Drake is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The fourth mention in our compilation of different types of wasp nests is the Cicada killer Wasp nest.

Wasps that prey on cicadas are large, reaching lengths up to 2 inches.

Their abdomens are black and yellow, and they have lacy brown wings and red legs. You may recognize them by these characteristics.

Cicada killers make their nests in sandy or loose soil, and they move pounds of the substrate to construct a series of deep holes that are large enough to house the paralyzed cicadas that their newly hatched young devour.

Cicada killers can be found all around the world.

Although it is doubtful that you will notice a single nest of cicada killer wasps, it is clear when multiple females have decided to share a preferred location.

Because of their digging, they can push bricks out of walking walkways or patios, disrupt root systems, and you can find large quantities of abandoned soil close to the entrance of the nest.

Wasps that prey on cicadas are sometimes referred to as ground hornets.

Wasps, especially the ground hornet (also known as the cicada kill wasp), are predatory insects that are good for the environment.

5. Bald-Faced Hornet Nest

Bald-Faced Hornet Nest
by Anita363 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Off the ground, typically in trees, is where bald-faced hornets construct their nests. They have a papery appearance and a gray tint.

On the other hand, in contrast to paper wasps and yellow jackets, their appearance is easily recognizable.

Hornets with bald faces are hostile insects that can deliver multiple stings without injuring themselves.

They will also attack in great numbers, posing a substantial threat to the health of whoever is the object of their assault.

Nests can contain more than 700 individual worker wasps.

6. Potter Wasp Nest

Potter Wasp Nest
by In Memoriam: Ecuador Megadiverso is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The last mention on our list of different types of wasp nests is the Potter Wasp Nest.

This little wasp typically only grows to a length of one and a quarter-eighth of an inch and has a black or brown body with yellow stripes on all three sections. They are also known as “mason wasps” in some circles.

Potter wasp nests are easily recognizable because they resemble little clay pots with a hole drilled into the top of the structure.

Wasp queens will construct their nests either on the walls of homes or underground by mixing soil and water in their mouths before laying the soil down.

You might also come across potter wasps that reuse bug tunnels, nail holes, or gaps in brickwork.

The females will line these openings with the mud mixture and then fill the crevice with dead insects for the newly hatched larvae to feed on.

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