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Thread: Paper wasps

  1. #1
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    Default Paper wasps

    Not sure if these are much in the way of pollinators but they are beneficial insects. My question is if the nest structure is itself movable can they be relocated? Will they reorient similar to honeybees? Do they need a few miles to keep them from returning to the original location or can they be moved a few hundred feet?
    Any enlightenment on paper wasps would be most helpful.
    Sheri

  2. #2
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    They are useful to some degree in insect control in the orchard, etc. but I have found them to be most unpredictable and hostile - they will readily sting without provocation - if you get within their prescribed "territory".

    One thing I have found to control them on the farm is to leave their nests alone after the season - I don't clean them off the eaves, as they don't tend to return to a previously occupied nest area.

    I know this doesn't answer your question, but that's all I know about them...

    MM

  3. #3
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    Hi MM
    I had a paper wasp nest between the screen and the glass of the awning window to my candle shop last summer (which meant I couldn't close the window all summer!). It was right next to the door where people came and went all day, they never bothered anyone. In fact, you never saw them except when they were in the "observation hive". It was cool, the queen came and founded the colony and for quite a while it was just her, then slowly a couple hatched. At the height of their colony there was only about 6 at any one time. Shortly after that a big spider came and set up camp next door and the wasps were gone the next day.....to friendlier environs I assume, but maybe the spider had one big meal! Anyway, this particular small group was fine with the traffic near them, maybe because they were so small.
    That said, it is always a thrill to open a birdhouse in late summer and have a half dozen wasps fly out at you. Never been stung though, maybe we have wimpy wasps up here.
    Yes, they do abandon the nest once fall gets here and leaving it alone til then would be an option if there wasn't going to be the construction that is planned. Even the mellowest wasps might have a problem with hammers banging first thing in the morning. I've been known to pitch a fit myself under those circumstances!
    Sheri

  4. #4
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    I often see some larger paper wasp nests on buildings. Do they sometimes re-use a previous years nest and add to it, or do several queens decide to work together on a single nest?

  5. #5
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    I collected and studied wasps, yellowjackets and baldfaced hornets for years in addition to my beekeeping. I have found that there numbers in some areas have been on the decline for several reasons. This is a shame because they are verygood pest control. All of these bee's nests can be moved and reestablished in another area. There are several ways of doing this, it all depends on the nest size. The coolest baldfaced hornet"observation hive" I had was made out of plexiglass. I found a baldfaced hornet nest that the owner was going to spray, captured all the bee's; including the queen and separated them from the hive. Removed the paper envelope exposing the brood comb. Then took alittle white elmers glue and applied it to the bottom of the comb. Then placed the comb in place inside the plexiglass "hive". 24 hours later the glue dried and the bee's were introduced back onto the comb. I watched over the summer this hive's growth and there behavior. If I can find the pic's I will post them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    I often see some larger paper wasp nests on buildings. Do they sometimes re-use a previous years nest and add to it, or do several queens decide to work together on a single nest?
    They do not reuse an old nest and usually you will only have 1 queen. I did have a aerial yellowjacket nest that relocated that contained 3 laying queens.
    This was the first time I had ever come across this, but I suppose it can happen rarely.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Russ this is what I needed to know. I will just move the wasps a little ways on her property and, if she will let me, bring the bumbles home.
    I would love seeing the pics of the hornets if you can find them. I am thinking the paper wasp nest she is talking about might actually be a bald face hornets nest because she described it as sort of "built around and over the birdhouse, so we will see.
    Sheri

  8. #8
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    I read this post with interest and would be interested in seeing the pictures. Deep down, I just have this absolute dislike for yellow-jackets, hornets and wasps...having been stung as a kid, many times unsuspecting...sometimes deserved <lol>. I just can't see myself babying any of those bees...I let a paper wasp next that was developing nicely under the mailbox have it this morning with that long range spray! I get a sense of payback satisfaction, haha....ok, sorry if I offended anyone...

  9. #9
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    Default Time from egg to adult for white faced hornet

    To Russbee:
    I have never been able to find out how long it takes for a White Faced Hornet worker to grow from an egg until it emerges as an adult. I usually begin to see workers in the wild sometime around the fourth of July.
    Every nest I try to observe from day 1 ends up getting destroyed or the queen gets killed. I have been trying for over 30 years now!
    I have one on my house now but bad things keep happening to it and I think it is doomed as well.

  10. #10
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    Since starting beekeeping, I guess I have been more tolerant of having wasps on the farm. The only place I don't allow them to build is near building entrances. For some reason, they like to build right in the doorway...

    We get a lot of mud-daubers here too, but I have found them to not be as aggressive as paper wasps. Sorry, I don't think I will ever actually move the nests to save them, but I am getting to be more tolerant of them, Sort of like the swallow's nests - they are a nuisance, and a big mess - but they are certainly beneficial in reducing flying insects (hopefully not too many of my bees).

    MM

  11. #11
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    >>>For some reason, they like to build right in the doorway...<<<
    Isn't that the truth, lol. They must like people. Actually, I think they like the overhangs that most doorways have.....

    I thought it was very refreshing that the gal called and wanted them moved, didn't just ask what kind of pesticide to use on them. I have always been pretty tolerant of most of the wasps, bees etc and find them interesting little creatures, but I realize I am in the minority. Despite providing a red herring when it comes to bee research funding, the alternative pollinator folks are broadening the publics view of the beneficial role of all insects in the environment, which is a good thing.
    Sheri

  12. #12
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    Mud dobbers don't sting and eat insects, usually spiders I think, so I consider them benificial. I remember alot more mud dobber nests when I was a kid, I guess due to the ease of destroying their nests they have declined??? I always leave mud dobbers nests alone, but will spray paper wasps if they are in a very inconvenient spot.

    Do all paper wasps sting, or are some stingerless?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    Mud dobbers don't sting and eat insects, usually spiders I think, so I consider them benificial. I remember alot more mud dobber nests when I was a kid, I guess due to the ease of destroying their nests they have declined??? I always leave mud dobbers nests alone, but will spray paper wasps if they are in a very inconvenient spot.

    Do all paper wasps sting, or are some stingerless?

    Oh, yes - Daubers do sting. At least the "Blue" ones we have here - they aren't very aggressive, but I once got between one and its nest, and it got me on the neck. It is weird that they prey on mainly (perhaps only?) spiders, since spiders are also predators (trappers, primarily) and are also beneficial. If you smash open their nests in the late fall after they are gone, you will see remains of spiders.

    I've read that all paper wasps sting - that is, the females only, like for the daubers. The hornets and yellowjackets are the most aggressive wasps.

    MM

  14. #14
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    Interesting, I guess we mostly have the black ones here although I do remember seeing occasional blue ones. I've never seen the black ones even seem to notice that I was around.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    Interesting, I guess we mostly have the black ones here although I do remember seeing occasional blue ones. I've never seen the black ones even seem to notice that I was around.
    The common name is "Blue Mud Dauber" (Chalybion californicum), but they appear to be black rather than blue, unless you are in strong light, then they are a dark blue. I was replacing a door in my shop, and brushed against a nest. I worked around the nest - they don't tend to be too aggressive.

    MM

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