Wasps building a nest

Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest

Last week, I saw these wasps working on a nest under the eaves of a building. I was curious because the wasps were mostly stationary, almost like a still life painting (top photo). Then another wasp flew in and the ones on the nest burst into life, swarming the newcomer, and bustling about their business.

I went outside with my camera and watched the activity. A couple of wasps flew away while the others continued with their work. Within a minute or two they slowed down until they were again mostly stationary. It occurred to me that this was all part of the process. Wasps flew in with building materials or water. Other wasps received this and used it to add to the nest. When they were done, they waited, conserving energy, until another delivery occurred and the cycle kicked off again.

I waited with my camera and, sure enough, a wasp flew in (at the bottom of the second photo). The others responded, crowding around for supplies, before dispersing to their work sites on the nest. I’ve watched wasps building nests before, and seen a nest grow to the size of a football, but I’d never registered this work and rest cycle before.

24 thoughts on “Wasps building a nest

    1. Graham Post author

      They’re maybe 3/4 of an inch long. I haven’t been stung by a wasp in ages (cue ominous music) so I’ve become more relaxed around them. They do seem similar to bees in the way they work together.

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    1. Graham Post author

      It was very interesting to watch them at work. If the nests are small and in a bad place, it’s not that big a deal to knock them down. They’ll just move on somewhere else. If the nest is big, that’s a whole different matter!

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  1. Kitty

    Not a fan of wasps. They’re so aggressive compared to bees and bumblebees. I’ve been stung by them all (accidents) and the wasps sting was by far the worst. However.. they are very skilled and it’s amazing pictures you have. I knew they were organized but not this much. Thanks for showing me

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    1. Graham Post author

      As I mentioned to Sandy, I’m more partial to bees than wasps for the reasons you mention. However, over the years, I’ve developed a good deal of respect for wasps and how they work.

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  2. SandyL

    Interesting observation. The photos give me chills though. A few weeks back I was stung by a wasp when I accidentally stepped on it with my bare foot. It smarted then but later I had an allergic local reaction (not life threatening, just uncomfortable) that didn’t go away until 2 weeks later. Just seeing all those wasps … yikes!

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    1. Graham Post author

      If you’re allergic to wasps or bees, then they can certainly be unwelcome. Sorry if I scared you with this one. I’ve always been partial to bees, but less so to wasps because they’re more prone to sting, but I do find their nests fascinating. Years ago, I saw a wasp nest near where I parked my car. Over the next weeks I saw it grow to the size of a football, but most interesting was how the entrance moved so it didn’t give straight access to the nest, but required a bit of a trek to get inside, presumably a defense mechanism.

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