What Does A Wasp Nest Look Like — How Do You Spot Them? Andy Law Pest Control

What Does A Wasp Nest Look Like & How Do You Spot Them?

A wasp nest is made from wood pulp, laid down in delicate layers by wasps to make a round-shaped nest. It is fixed at one end to the place it has been built in or on. At the opposite end is a hole which is the only entry point to the nest.

Generally wasp nests are predominantly a grey/white colour, but sometimes streaks of colours such as blue, green and brown are seen; this happens when wasps have made the wood pulp from stained wood, like garden fences and sheds.

Wasps build nests anywhere: inside bushes, hedges, trees, bird-boxes, eaves, attics, chimneys, vents, sheds and garages; under slates and BBQ covers; in the ground; on the outside of buildings.

It isn’t always possible to see the actual nest though if it is hidden under roof slates or in the eaves for example. In these cases, all you will see is wasps going into and out of the nest; you will see this best as the number of wasps in the nest increases over the summer and especially on sunny days as the sun’s warmth increases the activity rate of the wasps.

Never go near a wasp nest because wasps are very aggressive and will attack you to defend their nest; each wasp can sting several times too, which makes a wasp attack even worse. People and pets can get hurt badly; some people have died after being attacked by wasps. Don’t take any risks – always get a professional to eradicate a wasp nest for you.


Wasp identification

Identifying wasps can be difficult without professional training. It is very important for the correct species of wasp to be identified as that will help determine the best method of treatment. Wasps can be easily mistaken for other stinging insects like bees.

If you have spotted what you believe may be a wasp nest on your property, do not approach the nest yourself as wasps are dangerous. Contact your local pest control experts at Rentokil at 1-877-690-2215 or schedule a free pest inspection online. A trained Technician will then visit your property and properly identify the pests.

What do wasps look like?

What makes a wasp, a wasp? What are the differences between wasps and bees? Wasps are insects that are not ants or bees and belong to the order of Hymenoptera or the suborder Apocrita. There are over 4,000 wasp species in North America but only a few social wasps are commonly considered pests. Unlike bees, wasps are predatory creatures that feed on other insects.

There are also some physical traits that help distinguish wasps from bees.

Waist — The thin waistline of wasps is one of the most noticeable physical features that are different from bees. Wasp abdomens narrow before connecting to the thorax unlike bees.

Body Hair — Bees tend to have much more body hair than wasps. While some wasps species have visible body hair, they have much less in comparison to bees.

Size of Colonies — While some species of both wasps and bees are considered «social’ stinging insects that live in colonies, bee colonies and grow to be much larger than wasp colonies. The largest wasp colonies rarely reach more than 10,000 members while honeybee hives can hold over 50,000 members.

How to identify wasp species

There are more than 30,000 species of wasp around the world. However, there are 3 types of wasps that are most commonly encountered by pest control professionals: paper wasps, hornets and yellowjackets.


Hornets are the largest social wasps pest control professionals encounter. Bald faced hornets have white markings on their head and thorax and build nests that are covered in a papery shell. European hornets are brownish with orange markings, and build their nests in natural cavities like tree stumps, or in cavities within buildings. Though not particularly aggressive while out foraging, hornet stings can be very painful.

Paper Wasps

Adult paper wasps grow to be 16-20 mm long and tend to have a brownish colouring with yellow markings (although a few paper wasp species have red markings). While their appearance can vary slightly by species, paper wasps have distinctive long legs unlike bees or yellow jackets that have shorter legs.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets have black antennae and shorter legs (relative to the paper wasp). Adult yellow jackets grow to be 10-16 mm in length and feature a black and yellow banded abdomen. Yellow jackets build nests that are surrounded by a papery covering, and are commonly found within wall voids or cavities in the ground.


How to Remove a Wasp Nest

Spring is in full swing, which means that a lot of household pests are getting more active than they were in the cold months of winter. This includes paper wasps.

Paper wasps have a habit of building nests under soffits and porches. Naturally, this is probably not where you want wasps to be, especially if you have little ones running around or if someone in your home is allergic to wasp stings.

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Learn how to help get rid of a wasp nest if a queen decides that your porch is the place she wants to start a new colony.

Identifying a Paper Wasp Nest

Before you figure out how to remove a wasp nest, you need to make sure paper wasps are the insects you’re dealing with. Some wasp nests are similar in appearance to bees, which may require different removal techniques. In fact, the yellow-faced bee and the rusty-patched bumblebee are protected under the Endangered Species Act, which means you could face a large fine for killing one or even disturbing its habitat. Therefore, it’s important to be 100 percent certain that the nest you’re trying to remove belongs to a wasp.

So what does a paper wasp nest look like? It resembles a round, umbrella-shaped cone that’s attached by a single stalk to a horizontal surface in a protected location. There are several places a wasp might choose to hang its nest from, including:

  • Attics
  • Tree branches
  • Soffits
  • Porch ceilings
  • Window corners
  • The undersides of porches and decks
  • The insides of grills or hose reels

A professional pest control specialist can help you accurately identify if your problem is a paper wasp nest or something else.

How to Remove a Wasp Nest

If you find a paper wasp nest on or near your home, you’re probably going to want to get rid of it. Although it’s not a paper wasp’s mission in life to hunt you down and attack you, stings are possible.

When determining how to get rid of a wasp nest, you need to be aware of the fact that the queen is the key to the colony’s survival. That means that if you try to knock down, dismantle or even apply spray to the nest, the wasps will think you’re attacking them. In an effort to protect their queen, they’re going to use the only defenses they have, which are their stings.

In addition, it’s important to know that removing a paper wasp nest on your own can put you in the path of dozens of paper wasps, and each wasp can sting you multiple times. Because of this, wasp nest removal is best left to a pest control professional, such as a trained Terminix® specialist.

A professional will be better able to determine whether the nest belongs to a bee or a wasp and will also know what to do with a wasp nest. After evaluating the issue, your technician can then help you tailor a wasp control plan, so that hopefully, you don’t have to worry about new wasp colonies in the future. If you think you have a paper wasp nest near your home, contact Terminix today.

The Best Mouse Trap Method

Everyone has seen the cartoon mouse trap: A big wedge of cheese perched precariously on a small wooden rectangle, just waiting for an unsuspecting mouse to come along. Most modern mouse traps don’t use pieces of cheese, although they can still use food as bait. One of the most popular baits, believe it or not, is peanut butter. There are still versions of the snap trap from cartoons, but there are also other kinds like electronic traps. Because these traps usually mean dealing with dead mice, plenty of people wonder if there’s a way to help get rid of mice without classic mouse traps. Although mouse traps are the most effective in helping to get of mice, you can also try the following natural methods to see if they help remove these pesky rodents.

How to Help Remove Fruit Flies from Your Home

Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests and they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. Not only that, but researchers have found that fruit flies can “transfer bacteria from a contaminated source, food, or waste to surfaces or ready-to-eat food.

How to Naturally Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Buying houseplants can put you at risk for harboring unwanted pest infestations. Before these bugs cause damage to your new plant, know how to take care of them using natural remedies.

How to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Itchy bites and illness may occur after exposure to some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The bites can cause discomfort and, in some cases, transmit pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoans) that can cause a variety of diseases. Some examples of diseases that are of concern in the United States include: (mosquito) chikungunya, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika; (tick) Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news? There are many precautions you can take to help avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.


What does a large Wasp’s nest look like?

This image is a typical wasp nest for late summer. A similar size to a beach ball and home to somewhere in the regain of 6,00 — 10,000 wasps!

What does a Wasp’s nest look like?

Wasp nests are usually spherical in shape and a grayish brown in colour, they are constructed of chewed wood, this image is a typical wasp nest for late spring to early summer, a small wasp nest the size of an Orange. Home to several hundred wasps already!

Most wasp nests in sheds are discovered quite early and tend to be around this size.

What does the inside of a wasp nest look like?

The inside of a wasp nest is made up of layers of egg cells, the image here is of a small wasp nest that Dean has dismantled. You can see the empty egg cells where the wasps have already hatched, some larvae stage and some capped cells which is where the wasp grubs pupate and eventually emerge as adult wasps.

What do wasp grubs look like?

This image gives a better view of the larvae stage of the wasp, you can also see a wasp egg at the top of the picture. The white capped cells are wasp grubs pupating and turning into adult wasps.

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How do you remove a wasps nest?

This set of images was taken while Robin removed a wasp nest, you can see the wasps on the exterior of the wasp nest on arrival, these wasps were still building the nest.

A hole is broken into the nest and a strong insecticide with an instant knockdown effect is used to eradicate the wasps, these chemicals work extremely quickly which enables us to destroy and remove the wasp nest in a single visit.

Once the chemical has taken affect the wasps nest can be cut away, bagged and removed from the site to be sent for incineration via our hazardous waste carrier.

Once the nest has been removed the area where the nest wasp located can be treated with a residual insecticide to kill and returning wasps which may have been out foraging for food or nest building material while the wasps nest was being removed.


Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket Inspection Guide

How to Find Wasp and Hornet Nests

There are thousands of wasp species that can be found across the United States, including yellow jackets and mud daubers. Some wasps can be beneficial to gardens as they are pollinators and natural predators of pests that eat crops. Wasps can be solitary, meaning they live alone, or social, meaning they live in a group in a nest.

Homeowners need to be on the lookout for both solitary and social wasps. Not only do wasps sting, if they get inside a structure they can build a nest inside, which could damage the ceiling or walls.

Use this guide to find wasp nests in and around residential and commercial buildings. If you do have wasps, read our guide on how to get rid of wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets for treatment options.

Pro Tip

There is only one species of hornet that can be found in the United States — the European hornet. Like social wasps, European hornets also create and live in above ground nests. The same methods for finding and treating wasp nests can be used to find and treat a European hornet nest. See below for more information on finding a nest near your home.

What Do Wasp Nests Look Like?

Wasp nests vary depending on the species that makes them. Social wasps tend to make their nests above ground while solitary wasps mostly make their nests below ground.

Above ground nests tend to share the same characteristics:

  • Gray or light tan in color
  • Round or spherical in shape
  • Has at least one entrance/exit hole
  • Has combs on the inside that may or may not be visible
  • Made of mud or a paper-like substance

Below ground nests are typically non-descriptive. The wasp will make combs beneath the ground, but only the hole in the ground that the wasp comes in and out of will be visible.

Where are Wasp Nests Found?

Wasps make their nests in areas that are generally not disturbed. Solitary wasps usually make nests below ground while social wasps make their nests above ground.

Above ground wasp and hornet nests can be found in the following places:

  • In trees
  • In bushes
  • Beneath decks and patios
  • Beneath the eaves of a house
  • In a crack or crevice of a house or building
  • Behind shutters
  • On or near outdoor light fixtures
  • On playgrounds
  • On mailbox stands
  • Inside unused grills

Below ground nests can be found in dirt, but also in the following areas:

  • Beneath concrete or asphalt slabs, such as driveways or patios
  • Under rocks
  • Below fallen branches or logs

Once you know that you have a wasp or hornet nest, you will need to remove the nest and treat the area to prevent the pests from returning. Read our guide on how to get rid of wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets to learn how to safely and effectively remove these pests. Click the right arrow below to learn more.

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Pest ID: What Does a Hornet Look Like Compared to a Wasp?

Hornets can be ferocious about defending their hive, and because their stinger contains no barb, they’re capable of inflicting multiple painful stings when angered.

You’ve likely heard phrases like “madder than a hornet,” or “stir up a hornet’s nest,” but do you know what a hornet actually is? In many regions of the United States, the terms “wasp” and “hornet” are used interchangeably. But are they the same thing?

Well, yes and no. If you’re confused, we don’t blame you. Read on to learn what differentiates these insects.

Hornets vs Wasps

First things first, hornets are actually a subset of wasps. And there are different species of hornets and different species of wasps. So, for comparison’s sake, we’re going to talk about the popular “paper wasp” and two species of what people commonly call “hornets,” all of which are stinging insects that are often found nesting on structures, like homes.

Paper Wasp

There are many different species of paper wasps. These wasps are generally around 1 inch in length and are brown in color with yellow or reddish markings. Some paper wasps are dark red. These wasps get their name from the paper-like nests they construct. These are often umbrella-like in shape and can be found hanging from:

  1. Porch ceilings
  2. Door frames
  3. Eaves and railings

The majority of paper wasps are not aggressive (it depends on the species) and can help control other pest insects.


As mentioned before, all hornets are wasps. Worldwide, there are about 20 species of hornets, and the two most common in the U.S. are the European hornet and the bald-faced hornet. Hornets belong to different wasp families, including the family Vespidae and the sub-family Vespinae. So, while all hornets are wasps, not all wasps are hornets. In fact, there are 30,000 identified species of wasps, but only about 20 of these species are hornets.

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The European hornet is the only true hornet found in the U.S., as the bald-faced hornet is actually more closely related to the yellow jacket. The European hornet is brown with yellow-orange stripes and tends to be 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length. The bald-faced hornet is slightly smaller. It’s usually about an inch in length and is black with white-gray stripes.

You’re probably wondering what exactly sets hornets and other wasps apart. Here are several facts that can help you draw a line between the two.

  1. Non-hornet wasps typically have very narrow waists. Hornets have slightly thicker midsections.
  2. Hornets eat other insects and don’t usually seek out sweet nectars, saps or proteins. Other wasps also eat insects, but unlike hornets they are prone to scavenging for sweeter foods and proteins.
  3. Hornets only build aerial nests. Many other wasp species also build these nests, including the well-known paper wasp. However, some non-hornet wasp species live underground, while others — like the cow killer wasp (red velvet ant) — don’t have nests at all.
  4. Wasps that aren’t members of the Vespinae sub-family come in a wide variety of colors. Hornets tend to have reddish-brown heads and thoraxes, with abdomens that are golden in color with dark brown stripes.
  5. The majority of wasp species are not social. Hornets are social insects.

Are People Allergic to Hornets?

It’s possible to be allergic to almost anything. As you learned, hornets are a type of wasp. Therefore, someone who is allergic to wasp or bee stings stands a good chance of having a reaction to a hornet sting. Additionally, hornets are known for being especially aggressive.

What to Do If You Find a Hornet Nest

Hornets construct their nests, or hives, by chewing wood into a paper-like pulp, which is mixed with their saliva. Typically, hornet nests have a teardrop shape and are about the size of a basketball when complete. Bald-faced hornets tend to build their nests in trees and shrubs, while European hornets like to find a place protected from the sun and rain. Generally, you’ll find their nests on places like tree branches and shrubs, under the siding of houses or in attics or crawl spaces.

A hornet nest can contain several thousand hornets, but when cooler weather moves in, the hornets abandon the nest and only the queen survives the winter. She finds a safe retreat (sometimes in homes) and emerges in the spring to build a new hive and produce a new brood of offspring.

It may be hard to believe, but hornets can actually be beneficial, since they prey on insects like flies, ticks, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects. They also help pollinate flowers. So if you see a nest that’s a safe distance from your home, you may want to leave it alone.

On the other hand, if the nest poses a threat, it’s a good idea to call in professionals to handle the situation since hornets are aggressive when they feel threatened.

If a hornet nest poses a threat to your home or if you’re dealing with a serious problem with other stinging insects, contact the pest control professionals at Terminix® for help.

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The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

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The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

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The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.


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