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Wasp nest in the loft! – a bit of background info.

December 23, 2011

A large wasps' nest found in a loft this week.

Since it’s Christmas I thought I’d show you a wasps’ nest I found in a loft this week. This one was big and very impressive!

For once I stopped my surveying work and began to marvel at its amazing shape and natural beauty.

The female wasps that made this nest have a Latin name of Vespula Vulgaris.

Nest building starts in the early summer once the queen emerges from her winter hibernation. The nest is formed from a mix of wood and her own saliva. The mix is then used like a papier mâché paste to enlarge the nest to enable eggs to be laid in the small holes created within the honeycomb. The initial nest is about the size of a walnut, but as you can see it can end up the size of a football!

Although the queen wasp will start the nest, once enough sterile female workers have been born, the queen stops nest building and concentrates on reproducing. Nest building and looking after the larvae then become the responsibility of the sterile female worker wasps.

The good news is that these nests are only used for one year. So if you see one in your loft in winter (like I did) you can be almost certain that the nest is no longer active and the entire colony of wasps, (except the young fertilised queens) is dead.

The young queens, having been mated by the males fly off to hibernate over winter, thus repeating the cycle.

Once the swirly outer shell is removed, you'll find layers of honeycomb plates

I thought you might like to see what the inside of a wasps’ nest looks like.

So the general rule is, if you get up close to a nest in summer you’ll probably get stung (ouch!!), but if you see it in winter, you probably won’t!

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