So you’ve found a nest in your yard that looks like the home of insects. How can you tell if you’ve stumbled upon a bee nest, a wasp nest or a hornet nest? Here’s a little run down on what to look for to determine what you’re dealing with.
Recognizing a Wasp Nest or a Hornet Nest
There are two kinds of wasp nests: paper wasp nests and mud wasp nests. Social wasps (or wasps that live in large colonies) tend to live in paper wasp nests composed of wood fibers. Solitary or predatory wasps (wasps that subsist on other insects and live in smaller colonies) usually live in mud wasp nests.
Paper wasp nests are bulbous and look like beige or brown parchment with circular striae. They may be enclosed on all sides, or open so you can see the inner combs. They can be as small as a golf ball or as large as a football. Mud wasp nests tend to be smaller and look like a wad of dried mud. Both kinds of wasp nests can be found in awnings, umbrellas, trees, sheds, spaces in bricks and hidden in nooks and crannies.
As hornets and wasps are variations of the same family of insects, their nests look virtually the same. Hornets usually build enclosed nests that look like large paper wasp nests.
How Do Bee Nests Differ From Wasp Nests?
Though bee nests, or bee hives, are formed into the same papery combs as wasp nests, wasps enter and exit their nests with purpose and rarely hover outside, while bees swarm around their nests. Often so many bees will be crowding around a bee nest that you won’t be able to see the nest itself. If you spot swarming insects, it’s a surefire way to know it’s a bee nest. Neither wasps nor hornets swarm. See the video below to see an example of bees swarming around the entrance to a hidden nest.
If you find a nest in your yard, watch it for a few minutes to determine if it is still active. If you don’t see any movement after ten minutes, it is likely an abandoned nest from a previous year. If you do see insects coming and going, you’re dealing with an active nest. Do not attempt to move it or touch it and call a pest control company immediately.