Wasp Nest & Hornets nest Identification.

Wasp & Hornets nest Identification
Wasp and Hornets nest identification - what to look for...
When do wasps make their nests?

Queen wasps start the nest in the spring on their own. There are no worker wasps about at this time.

Queen wasp stripping wood.
Queen wasp stripping wood to make nest

In normal years you will start to see active wasp nests from May onwards. Of course there will be some earlier ones and likewise some later ones. Geographical area can make a difference as micro climates influence temprature.
Nests will continue to increase in size over the summer, until late autumn.

I have a wasp nest!

This may seem ridiculous, "of course I have Wasps" you say, but many times a caller will say “I have a swarm of Wasps in my garden”.
Wasps do not swarm, if you have a swarm of what appear to be Wasps, please take a second look, they are probably Honey Bees.
If this is the case then you will need to arrange for a local beekeeper/beekeeping association to come and collect your swarm and re-home them and you will be playing a part in helping to save our native Bee colonies.

Honey bees are notorious for swarming into chimneys. If one day (out of no where) you suddenly have bees coming into your house via the fireplace. This will be a honey bee swarm that has taken up residence in your chimney. Again, you will need to contact your local beekeeping association for help and advice.

It is quite rare for wasps to nest in chimneys. We only see one or two cases a year.

Bumble bees!

In spring, many people mistake bumble bees for wasps, in particular tree bumble bees which are relatively new to the UK.

Tree bumble bees (bombus hypnorum) like to nest up high, in similar places to wasps. If you have what you think is a busy wasp nest in April/May and it is at gutter height, you need to double check that it is not tree bumble bees. They are slightly smaller than other bumble bees but bigger and rounder than wasps. Often in May, mating flights can be seen, lots of males (normally 15-20 but sometimes more) hanging around the entrances to nests waiting for new queens to emerge and be mated. They fly around the nest entrance in circles. This is most often mistaken for wasps.

Take a look at the video on our home page to compare.

We charge a flat fee of £40.00 to treat a Wasp or Hornet nest regardless of its location.
We have no hidden extra charges such as VAT or for unnecessary surveys.
Any secondary nests found on your property we charge an additional £10.00 per nest if treated on the day of the original call out.
All work is guaranteed.
Payment required on completion of work.
We work WEEKENDS too! So if you have found a nest whilst out in your garden and it is a Saturday or Sunday, don't worry, just give us a call and we will come straight out.

Please be sure you have identified the species before calling us. If you are unsure, please text us a clear photo and we will be happy to help identify. Or call us and we will talk it over with you.

Please do not call us out for bees, we do NOT treat any bee species.

Please be aware, if we are called out for bees there will be a call out fee.

Honey bee swarms and colonies

Often we are asked "why do we get bees nesting every year?" If you have honey bees nesting on or in your home every year, one of two things is happening!
1. You have a resident honey bee colony living permanently in your home.
2. You have a honey comb located in your home and each year a swarm of bees is attracted to this comb and its honey stores.
Please take a look at the following pictures, they will help you in identifying exactly what species you have.

Bees swarming around entrance to nest
Bees swarming around entrance to nest

As illustrated in the pictures, bees will swarm around the nest entrance or the queen Bee. Sometimes these swarms will be found hanging from the branch of a tree or occasionally as illustrated in the photos, on the side of a building, the queen will be at the centre of the swarm as the workers surround her.
Wasps do not generally swarm in this manner unless the entrance to the nest has been blocked.

Honey Bee Swarm Collection Service in North Hampshire

If you find yourself with a swarm of Honey Bees, don't panic.

The Andover Beekeepers Association are more than happy to come out and collect your swarm for you.

You can find contact details and more information on honey bees and why they swarm on the Andover Beekeepers website.

Bees swarming at nest entrance

Swarm of bees

For more info please take a look at our page: information on honey bee removal

The first question to ask yourself is "what can I see?"

Video of wasp nests to help show you what to look for.

We have put together a short video to help you identify if you have a wasp nest.
In the video you will see 4 separate wasp nests; the first nest entrance is on the side of chimney where the wasps (which are common wasps) are entering into the roof space through an opening next to the brickwork.
The second nest entrance is where a small gap has been left in the lead flashing and the wasps (also common wasps) are gaining access to the void in a timber frame wall. The third nest occupants (which are again common wasps) are entering a roof void using gaps under the tiles and the fourth is a German Wasp nest that has been built in a bush.

How can I tell if a wasp nest is active?

During the spring when wasps start building their nests, it is sometimes difficult to know if a nest is old (last year’s nest) or if it is a new one that is being built.
Some guidelines: If you have found a wasp nest in the spring and it is larger than a football with no live wasps walking about on the outside of the nest, it is most likely that the nest is an old one from a previous year.
If you find a golf ball size nest in the spring, just watch it for 10 minutes or so and see if anything returns to the nest within this time. If a wasp arrives at the nest, it’s a new one and is “live”.

Golf ball sized wasp nest

As the nests grow over the spring and early summer months, there will be more wasps emerging and by mid June most nests will have wasps walking over the outsides of the nests as they repair and expand the nest size.
Old nests usually look “old and tatty” where as a newly built nest looks bright and fresh.
Please remember that nests grow at different rates, some nests are far more advanced than others. When dealing with nature there are always extreme cases.

Compare the difference between a bee, wasp and hornet

If you can take a close look at your suspected wasps you will very quickly be able to identify if they are indeed wasps or hornets or bees.
Take a look at the four photos below for a comparison.

1. The honey bee!
The Honey bee

2. The Wasp!
The Wasp

3. The Hornet!
The Hornet

4. The Bumble Bee!
The Bumble Bee

You will know when you have a wasp or a Hornet nest when you see a constant stream of wasps to and from the nest (please take a moment to watch the video above and this will help you identify if you have a Wasp nest, Hornets' nest or a colony of Honey Bees), a Wasp or Hornet nest will resemble Heathrow airport, one lands, one takes off. They generally do not hang around the nest entrance for too long (a busy nest will have wasps queing up to get in). Wasps are on a mission with no time to loose. Bees will hang about around the entrance (particularly bumble bees).
Think of us as traffic control.

Wasp nest identification, what to look for! Video 2

Take a look at our second video to help you identify if you have a wasp nest, it will hopefully give you some idea of what to look for.
There are shots of a German wasp nest in a bush, a wasp nest in the soffit of a house, a wasp nest in a loft and finally a wasp nest in a shed wall.

Both Wasp and Hornets nests are treated using the same method; take a look at our treatment page to see how we will treat your Wasp or Hornets nest

German wasp nest

German wasps in bush

I have big wasps?

In the spring time, from March until the beginning of June, you may see what appear to be larger than normal wasps. These are queen wasps that have emerged from hibernation and are starting to build new nests. The queen wasps are slightly larger (fat) than normal worker wasps. From early June onwards the queen stays in the nest and the workers tend to her needs. At the end of the autumn you may see these larger wasps again, these are newly hatched queens that have recently emerged from the nest, have mated and will go into hibernation over the winter.

Where do wasps build their nests?

Wasps and Hornets build their nests in various (sometimes awkward to reach) places, most usually in loft spaces, but very often in garden sheds, air bricks and just about anywhere that they can fit into and where it is dry. They also build their nests underground, in old rabbit burrows or even mouse or vole tunnels.
It is worth noting that wasp nests are not always in the shape of a ball (round), they can build their nests to fit any shape, very often the nests are flat and spread out, for example they can build their nests in the cavities of walls, the nest then fills the cavity and the wasps build the nest within the space available to them.

Why do i get a wasp nest every year?

Very often we get asked “Why do I get a wasp nest every year”?
There is a very simple answer to this question: your property is ideally suited for wasps to build their nests in. It's not personal; you haven’t been singled out to be pestered.
If you have a wasp nest in your loft year after year, it just means that wasps have easy access to the roof space and it’s nice, dry and warm in your loft. The same can be said for sheds or just about anywhere else that they decide to make their home.

If you start to see dead wasps inside your house on a regular basis, this is a sure sign that there is nest close by, most probably on your property or your neighbour’s property. To locate the nest, inspect of the outside of your home paying particular attention to the roof and fascia areas, air bricks and just about any gaps where wasps could gain entry into the building.

Wasp nest identification, what to look for! Video 3

Take a look at our third video to help you identify if you have a wasp nest, it also shows various wasp nests in differing locations.
You will see a rather large "busy" common wasp nest, minutes after treatment, the insecticide hasn’t started to work yet, but we have shown this activity to illustrate just how dangerous it can be (if unprotected) when "stirring up a wasp nest".
This hyperactive response to the nest being interfered with is, in this case a good example of how some people can get into bother when trying to eradicate a wasp nest with DIY methods.

Common wasp nest in a crash helmet

German wasps build their nests in trees, bushes and hedgerows.
Learn more about wasp nest identification, structure and life cycle of wasps
also the life cycle of the Hornet and its nest

Please be sure that you have identified the nest and it is active, we don’t want to waste our time and your time attending an empty wasp nest or a bee nest which we will not treat.

Once you are sure you have an "active" Wasp or Hornets nest on your property, visit our Hampshire Wasp area map to find out who covers your area.

Common wasp nest

the signs to look for when identifying a nest