How to Identify a Wasp Nest

Australia has a big variety of wasp species that could easily find your property a suitable place to build their home. Therefore, having a wasp nest identification guide can come in handy for helping you understand what you are dealing with, how to approach it and even how to remove a nest.

What is a wasp nest made of?

The most widely used materials include chewed-up tree fibres (giving it that papery look), resin, or mud (more popular among solitary species). This will determine the colour of the wasp nest – whether it’s grey or brownish.

What does a wasp nest look like?

Different species of wasps in Australia build their nests from various materials. In most cases, a wasp nest would look like a hardened cotton blob, with the outside looking like it’s made of strands of paper. The inside resembles a beehive, with little cell-like honeycomb structures. The overall feel of this type of nest (and we don’t recommend touching it!) is papery. 

Another popular look is miniature pottery. Some wasp species build nests that resemble small vases or other mud structures. In most cases, those would be smaller than the paper alternative due to the majority of these species being solitary. 

The places that are most attractive for nesting are also different depending on the species. Some wasps prefer to hide their nests in the ground, while others build them high on buildings and trees. 

 Paper wasp nest Paper Wasps' Nesting

The common paper wasps build their nest using mainly fragments from trees and their saliva. While the colour is also grey, the shape of the paper wasps’ nest is quite different. It has an interesting structure that resembles a cone turned upside down with papery cells on the bottom. 

The nests are usually built in roofs, bush areas, pipes and trees. These wasps can become aggressive quite fast if they feel that their nest is in danger, so we don’t advise you to try to touch or remove the nest all on your own. 

European Wasp NestEuropean wasp nest 

Similar to the previous species, the European wasps use chewed-up tree fibres, which are mixed with their own saliva to build nests. The nest is usually grey or brown in colour and has that papery look, which is the reason why these species are often mistaken for paper wasps. As for size, the nest is no bigger than a normal ball.

These dangerous wasps like to nest in the ground. Therefore, only the entrance to the nest is usually visible. Other favourite spots to build their homes are enclosed spaces that provide shelter, including the trunks of trees, crevices, ceilings and walls.

Mud dauber wasp nestMud-dauber Wasp Nesting

These wasps look impressive and you can say the same about their homes. As the name suggests, these species make their nests from mud. They are easy to identify, too, because they are usually in the shape of a long pipe. The colour is light to dark brown or orange, depending on the type of mud the wasps are gathering. 

Like most wasp species, the mud dauber wasps prefer to build their nests in sheltered places like crevices and corners. In urban areas, they can be seen in attics, ceilings, garages and others. 

Spider Wasp NestingSpider wasp nest 

These types of wasps prefer to nest in the ground, so to speak. However, the way they choose to do it is quite interesting. They dig out a hole where the nest is going to be. In it, the wasp will then leave a spider, along with an egg.

The wasp’s brood will feed on the spider and grow until it’s ready to emerge. Areas around rocks and wood are prefered by spider wasps to build a nest.

Do you see a wasp nest in your home? We can help!

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