How Wasps Nests Are Formed And Optimum Conditions For Them In The UK


AMES Managing Director Alan Read covers the topic of wasps as the active nest building season is now upon us.

The Origins of a Wasp Nest

As of early July wasps are just building their nests – at this stage they can be anything from a golf ball size to having the dimensions of a shot put

The nest starts with the queen alone. She lays eggs which are to produce the adults which then assist in the first stages of building up the nests population. At the worst case at the moment it is likely to be a shot put size. If it is this size you have anything from 100 to 300 wasps inside working on it constantly. In later July this could be more comparable with a bowling ball in size.

The Queens role now changes and she will not venture outside if the nest is established, hence it will now be a successful nest.

In previous years the relative humid and wet weather has not prevented nests from becoming established in all cases. However the wet conditions can in some cases cause a wasp nest to die out.

Will the current sunny conditions bring more wasps this year?

The current hot sunny weather is likely to lead to rapid wasp nest growth. The wasps are able to consistently go outside – 100% activity occurs around the nest with workers going out and foraging, building the nest up out of fence panels and old wood, mixed with saliva creating a pasty like substance as their building material.

I consider this activity on the nest to be a work of art. The structure has honeycombs inside the ‘paper’ covering.

The workers have the ability to grow the nest and the size encompassed by the outer shell without leaving the interior of the nest exposed. They do not need to dismantle any sections during the building process.

Wasps can bite away at the external shell as they build the interior shell – it is a truly impressive process.

The population over the main seasons in the past 10 years has fluctuated as a result of the temperature and weather.