The number of individual insects in a nest really depends on the type of wasp or bee nest. One key factor in the number of bees or wasps in a nest is whether or not they are social or solitary.
Most species bees and wasps are social. This means they gather in large nests and rely on their colony to survive. Their interactions are crucial to food production (as in the case of honey bees), reproduction, or protection from predators. These types of wasp nests are much larger than those created solitary wasp species.
Social Wasp Nests
The nest of a social wasp colony or a beehive can house as many as 50,000 to 100,000 in an extremely severe case. Wasp nests of this size are quite rarely and not typically found in residential areas. Nests this size take time to grow, so the problem must go unnoticed for awhile in order for the population to grow to this size. These types of nests are usually quite large and made of paper or wax.
Here is an example of a paper wasp nest:
Some bee and wasp species that live in large colonies include: honey bees, bumble bees and yellow jackets.
Solitary Wasp Nests
Solitary wasps, on the other hand, are just like they sound: they live alone or in very small groups. They tend to be scavengers and hunters that do not rely on a large population of surrounding bees and wasps.
The wasp nests of solitary wasps are much smaller, and thus easily hidden. Though solitary wasps can build paper nests, mud nests are more common. These are built under overhangs, umbrellas, outdoor furniture and other easily overlooked spaces. These nests are usually built for the wasps to lay their eggs. These nests are usually small with less than 20 cells and smaller than the size of your fist. Mud daubers are the most common type of solitary wasp found in Ontario.
Here is an example of a mud wasp nest:
If you’ve found either a paper wasp nest or a mud wasp nest, Magical Pest Control’s specialized bee and wasp removal division can help you get rid of it, and prevent future nests from occurring in the spot. Call us at (905) 738-6676 or fill out our contact form to book an inspection.