Wasps In Bristol

About The Wasps In Bristol

Bristol has five species of commonly encountered paper wasps. Hornets are also paper wasps and are one of the paper wasps species commonly encountered in Bristol, especially on the periphery of Bristol.

Why Are They Called Paper Wasps?

We call them paper wasps because the wasps build nests out of chewed up wood products. The most popular way that wasps acquire or harvest wood pulp is from fences and garden furniture.

wasps collect wood fibres
A wasp harvests wood fibres for wasps nest construction.

The top layer of timber will soften over time, becoming green and easy to dislodge.

Paper wasps use their powerful mandibles to cut away the timber and mix the wood fibres with saliva to form small balls. The wasps carry this material back to the nest and use it to make small additions to the nest. 

The paper-like product produced is very resilient and can last decades, undisturbed in attics, lofts and floor voids, etc.

Why Are The Wasps Described As Social?

The wasps are classified as social because they have a queen who is in charge and workers (cast) that maintain, build, defend and nourish the nest.

paper wasps social insects
Paper wasps nourish, build and defend the nest.

Nests can contain thousands of insects, requiring impressive levels of organisation.

Where Do Wasps Nest?

Wasps nest in different places and this can be species specific. Lofts, floor voids, sheds, garages, playhouses, trees and shrubs are all locations where we commonly encounter wasps nests in Bristol.

How Many Wasps Are In A Nest?

Nest numbers can vary, but most nests will contain a thousand or more insects as they reach maturity. Some nests will contain over 10000 insects!

large wasps nest
Large wasps nest cut from hedges

Each species of wasp will have its own specific nest numbers, sizes and other factors such as prevailing weather to contend with. Some nests are huge, while others are very small.

How Are Wasps Controlled?

The most common form of control is using an insecticidal dust called Ficam D. This is injected into the nest or nest entrance. The dust is a contact poison that quickly incapacitates and kills the wasps within five minutes of contact.

Other control products include sprays of various different formulas that quickly incapacitate the wasps. Sprays are used to achieve a sudden and devastating level of control.

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Where Do Wasps Go In Winter?

As the year draws to a close and temperature drops, wasps decline in number. The queen stops laying eggs as the nest begins producing males and queens.

By November, the nests will be dead or have very few wasps left.

Although the wasps will perish in the autumn, the new queens will feed heavily on what they can before going into hibernation, emerging in the spring to establish a new nest.