How Many Wasps Live in a Nest? Understanding the Behavior of Wasps and Bees

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on February 24, 2023 · 3 mins read

As a homeowner, it’s important to understand the behavior of the insects that make their homes in your backyard. Two common backyard insects are wasps and bees. While they may look similar, there are some key differences in their behavior that every homeowner should know.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.

What’s the Difference Between Wasps and Bees? Wasps and bees both belong to the Hymenoptera order of insects, but they have different characteristics. Wasps have smooth and shiny bodies, while bees are more hairy. Wasps are also more aggressive than bees and can sting multiple times without dying, while bees can only sting once before they die. Additionally, wasps tend to build their nests on the ground or in trees, while bees usually create hives in sheltered areas like attics, chimneys, or walls.

How Many Wasps Live in a Nest? The number of wasps in a nest can vary depending on the species. For example, paper wasp nests typically contain fewer than 100 wasps, while yellow jacket nests can hold thousands of wasps. Queens are the only females that can lay eggs, and their role is to reproduce and create more workers. Workers, who are all female, take care of the nest and tend to the larvae. Male wasps, called drones, exist solely to mate with the queen.

Identifying Wasp Nests If you see wasps frequently flying around a particular area of your backyard, chances are there’s a nest nearby. Paper wasp nests are often found hanging from trees or eaves, while yellow jacket nests are usually built underground or in crevices. Mud dauber wasps build small nests out of mud in sheltered spots like under eaves or porch ceilings. Bald-faced hornets build large aerial nests in trees or on structures like buildings or sheds.

Safely Dealing with Wasps While it’s tempting to try and remove wasp nests yourself, it’s always best to leave it to the professionals - especially if you have an allergy to stings. If you do come across a wasp nest, keep a safe distance and avoid making sudden movements that could provoke the insects. Avoid wearing bright colors or strong perfumes, as these can attract wasps. If you must be outside near a wasp nest, wear protective clothing like long sleeves and pants, and carry an EpiPen if you have a history of allergic reactions.

In conclusion, understanding the behavior of wasps and bees is essential for homeowners who want to keep their backyard safe and free from unwanted pests. By learning about the differences between these insects, how many wasps typically live in a nest, and how to identify and safely deal with wasp nests, you’ll be better equipped to enjoy your outdoor space without fear of stings or swarms.