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Move a Wasp Nest

 
Chris Holcombe
Posts: 97
Location: Zone 8b Portland
food preservation forest garden fungi
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I searched around and couldn't find an answer for this.  Does anyone have a safe way to move a wasp nest?  They started building a nest right next to the path I walk through every day and I'm a bit worried I will be stung because they feel threatened.  Any thoughts?
 
John Polk
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Probably not a good idea.  If you do decide to try, i will make some suggestions:

Wasps are diurnal...do it at night?
Wear appropriate bee-handling equipment
Use a lot of smoke

The nest is basically a brood chamber for the queen.  She is likely to die in the process, in which case, they will probably abandon the nest.  Wasps can be beneficial in the garden (as much as we would rather NOT see them there).

Good Luck!!
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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I don't think that smoke will work, That is more a trick to tell bees to collect up honey for a move, wasps do not make honey. Something important to keep in mind is that wasps are visual navigators, so if you move the nest the wasps may well continue to come back to the spot where you used to have it. I would suggest that you either move your path, or if that's not an option just get rid of the nest. There will not be quite as many wasps this season, but next season things should equilibrate for you.
 
Bucks Brandon
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
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well I did a little googling and came up with the following results:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080329141702AA9z8nu
http://www.ehow.com/how_2129235_relocate-wasp-nest-safely.html
and a video of a guy doing it [but not the way I would do it]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1HnOI6IZNI

From the info I read, I'd say you should:
1. do it at night, a cool night would be good for the hot protective clothing you should wear.
2. have a hose charged and nearby, if possible
3. have a secure container to put them in
4. have good protective gear. If you are allergic, I *ABSOLUTELY* would not do this.

furthermore, you should pick out their new home before taking down the old one - ideally look for something high off the ground and similar to the old home. Also, after moving them look for ways you can make the old spot undesirable [perhaps a staple gun and some window screen?].

Where are you in Philly? I live in neighboring Bucks County and maybe we could meet up and bounce permaculture ideas off eachother. 

If you'll feed me I might be tempted to come up and even help you move the nest! I could ride my motorcycle, as most of my gear would work well as protection against stings [thick leather jacket, good boots, thick gloves, full shield helmet [would need to seal the bottom with tape - or my neck would leave an entry point!]

Shoot me a PM if interested.
 
                  
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Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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As a kid we used to gather them for the grubs inside and use them for fish bait. I am assuming these are paper wasps which build an upside down "nest" kind of like a water lilly seed head. What we did was go into the barn at night when it was cooler and use either sticks to knock them down or even pluck them barehanded and run a bit. We did get stung occasionally but not much as the wasps are dormant so we shook them off while running as it were and actually it seemed could not see us to find and sting us at night. Now we were not interested in saving the nests and hoping the parent wasps hatched out a new brood. Quite frankly I don't think moving a wasp nest is like a beehive. Instead of following the nest with a queen inside they will return to the same area the nest was at for a while because they chose that site for a reason. Personally I would simply remove the nest at night using a long pole or stick and then remove any rebuilt nest till the wasps gave up on that location. The adults do not need the nest as a home but rather use it for raising young. If the nest keeps being removed/destroyed they will seek out and use a better location naturally.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I have found that paper wasps are fairly gentle.  I knock down a lot of nests and have only been stung once, when I inadvertently knocked a nest down the back of my shirt.  I cannot really blame them for fighting back.  They buzz around me a lot when I'm outside in the summer, I just give them a whack with the back of my hand and they leave me alone.  I believe they are good pollinators.

If they are indeed paper wasps, just knock the nest down at night, as others have mentioned.  Just make sure the nest does not fall on you.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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If your willing to try this route, it's a touch repetitive but I've had great sucess with it and not a dead wasp in site just an abandoned nest with no rebuilt.
Neem the nest once a day, after two weeks the basketball sized hive was over. We have at least 3 types of wasp surrounding or attached to the house or shooting out of the mud every year. When I first moved in before I knew any better it, id bash it off and they would start a new one 1 foot away staining the side of the house with former nest shapes.  It repeated till they built one at the edge of the kitchen window during my if I can't neem it let it live. It's not a poison but it sure upset's paper nest and the brood that hatch out can't evolve to the next stage. I've sprayed them in broad day with the oil, it doesn't destroy their wings like Wd40. Eventually hive maintenance plus a reduced population made it too much to handle.  I've kept the nest even when it smooshed after the winter and not a wasp has taken up residence as of yet on this side of the house at all.

take a look round the net when it comes to the efficacy of neem. It's not insecticide compound XXX, but it's as far as i'm willing to go when it comes to predating on "apparent pest". 
I'd advise against spraying in the day, I almost ran through a closed window to get back into the house, I think they had a picture of me inside of their situation room.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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adunca wrote:
I believe they are good pollinators.


I believe that most of them are carnivores, only landing on flowers by chance to rest in between flights.
 
Bucks Brandon
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
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Emerson White wrote:
I believe that most of them are carnivores, only landing on flowers by chance to rest in between flights.


i think you're right - the benefit of having wasps in your garden is not for pollination but for biodiversity and pest control. Some varieties of Wasps target specific pests that will try to wreck your veggies, often in gruesomely effective ways [like laying eggs in the host that in turn hatch and eat it from the inside, out!]
 
gani et se
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Location: Douglas County OR
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If you can't live with them, some things I've made use of:
In early stages, where it is possible, for any of these nesters, a stiff spray of water will dislodge a small nest. They may try again... squirt twice and they will usually get discouraged.
If there are a couple cells, dislodge them with a broom, a stick or your hand when her highness (who's the only resident at that time) is off collecting.
I once had a ground nest of yellow jackets (NOT easy going like mud daubers) smack in the middle of a high use area of the garden. Dry ice took care of that. At night, lay a piece of dry ice over the opening. Cover with plastic sheet, put weights around to keep the CO2 in. In the morning nobody home.
Mostly though, I'm in favor of keeping the critters around. If I do get rid of a nest, I think that the other nests in the area will get bigger to fill the opened niche.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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BucksBrandon wrote:
i think you're right - the benefit of having wasps in your garden is not for pollination but for biodiversity and pest control. Some varieties of Wasps target specific pests that will try to wreck your veggies, often in gruesomely effective ways [like laying eggs in the host that in turn hatch and eat it from the inside, out!]


I stand corrected - they do some pollination, but they are not very good at it:

Wasps look like bees, but are generally not covered with fuzzy hairs. As a result, they are much less efficient in pollinating flowers, because pollen is less likely to stick to their bodies and to be moved from flower to flower.
- http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/wasps.shtml

Although the wasp larvae eat insects, the adult wasps feed on nectar from flowers. They are constantly found on flowers, and play a role in the pollination of plants.
- http://www.pollinationcanada.ca/index.php?n=Paper+Wasp+Profile

Paper wasps are beneficial predators.  They do not scavenge on non-living foods as do nuisance yellowjackets but instead prey on caterpillars and other soft-bodied, leaf-feeding insects.  Adult paper wasps also feed on nectar, so can be seen foraging on flowers.  During summer you'll often find them around your yard's water puddles and ponds.
- http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/pdf/BUL/BUL0852.pdf

Note also that these paper wasps are not native to North America:
Dominulus or European Paper Wasp

Polistes dominulus, Vespidae

Before 1981, the dominulus paper wasp was not recorded in North America. In its native region, P. dominulus is the most abundant paper wasp in those countries around the Mediterranean. It is also found in southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and eastward into China.

A highly successful colonizer, this wasp has rapidly increased its distribution in the United States during the past 20 years. Before the introduction of this new species, the northern paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus , was the most frequently encountered species in and around structures in Pennsylvania.
- http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/dominulus-or-european-paper-wasp
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Depending on species some wasps are colonial with one queen and others just nest together with each female laying eggs and building cells.
 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 217
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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I just sprayed (with the hose) the daylights out of a small wasps nest about a foot from the entrance to the house this morning. I got most of the colony, I believe, and managed to destroy about half the nest with the water jet, but there are still some wasps hanging around, so I plan on spraying it again this evening or tomorrow morning. I also have a fake wasp nest from a dollar store ready to put up near by. Has anyone had problems with the pretend nests? Any tips? I know I could have made my own, but didn't want to bother, I'd have to go to the store to get materials anyway.
 
Deb Rebel
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Last place we lived (farther north) we had the ones that made the paper/grey bobble around the cellpod. Here we have the ones that make an open cellpod, and a few that make the mud tubes.

My husband is severely allergic (he has done anaphylactic shock for podies, for paper it was three days of 'flu' and a foot diameter 'hickey', and we now have epi-pens for him to get him to treatment) so I have to destroy the pods and convince them to LEAVE. I left one podlet up under the roof of our covered back porch and they will come back to start a new colony in it in separate years (that one has been there for three years, last week I convinced yet another batch that they're NOT). Podlies are mean, I found one on ground with about 8 cells and wondered how it had gotten washed there, and just as I peered at it one got me on the back of the hand. I retaliated with lots of water at 125 psi...

Any suggestions other than Neem? I keep ponds with fish and don't dare have any around as it is toxic to aquatics.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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I don't know how to move an existing hive, but I do have a successful strategy to keep them from building them in the first place.

It's an old farmhouse trick that I thought was just superstition when my mother suggested it. However, we painted the undersides of all our eaves a sky blue. Sure enough, despite a very high population of many species of wasp we don't have any building nests on our eaves.

It's going on four years now, and they try to start them on trim and furniture and garden plants, but none on the eaves. Apparently they think sky blue means it's not solid enough to attach a nest.
 
Deb Rebel
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Casie Becker wrote:t's an old farmhouse trick that I thought was just superstition when my mother suggested it. However, we painted the undersides of all our eaves a sky blue. Sure enough, despite a very high population of many species of wasp we don't have any building nests on our eaves. It's going on four years now, and they try to start them on trim and furniture and garden plants, but none on the eaves. Apparently they think sky blue means it's not solid enough to attach a nest.


If our hardware/paint store wasn't closed today I'd be down there getting a gallon right now. We do have blue trim on the house, I'm not adverse to changing it so it all looks the same. If that cures the battle on my covered back deck I owe you a steak or stir fried tofu dinner... !!! Thank you!

 
Cristo Balete
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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It's a nice thought to want to save the paper wasps, but the wasps at my place have a real attitude change at the middle to end of summer, and they are impossible to coexist with. Yet by then they have a turban-sized nest and I don't feel it's fair to kill that many of them. So I stop them from happening in the first place if they try on sheds and eaves.

I have found the queen over-wintering in wood piles, door frames, behind window trim, between large slate tiles in a stack, and in landline phone connection boxes. I have tried moving the queens, getting her to walk onto a stick and walking her far away, but within an hour she was back. Queens aren't supposed to fly, right? But it was spring and there were no hives, and it came exactly back to the eaves where I found it and I was painting. Talk about smart!

And on the occasions where I've left the hive, procrastinating about how to get rid of it, a racoon got up on the roof, reached around under the eave, tore it open and finished it off. This was in August. But if the nest is too near to people I think it's too risky to leave it there and wait for the raccoons to tear into.

They also love the underside of solar panels, which we don't tend to focus on the back side of those things, so that gets dangerous, especially if you're up on a roof.

I haven't found any shortage of paper wasps or mud wasps, and I've been stopping them from nesting on buildings for 23 years. I stop ground hornets, too, and there's no shortage of those suckers!

------------------
Cassie, what a great idea! Is there a more specific color you can recommend other than "sky blue"? Does it have to be darker Montana blue, or blue like a 1950's swimming pool, or ? Is it flat, satin or gloss?
 
Casie Becker
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I haven't done experiments with different colors of blue. I just ran with the idea that we're supposed to be convincing the wasps that our eaves are just pieces of sky and tried to choose a color that the summer sky sometimes matches.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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This has been said over a few posts in this thread, but the confusion seems to be ongoing, so I will reiterate here that the word "wasps" gets used to apply to several very different insects.

Paper wasps, what I believe to be the most commonly seen sort of true wasp, build a single-layer, flat nest with the brood cells visible. They are all black, with a thin "wasp waist". (A possibly related species which is yellow and black, and somewhat more aggressive, has largely taken over the niche in my area of upstate New York in the past couple of decades.) They are sisters, with no one queen, and all lay eggs in their nest. They are inoffensive and will not sting unless sorely provoked.

Black Paper Wasp (Dark Phase of Polistes fuscatus)
(David Keith, UNL Entomology)

Golden Paper Wasp Nest (Polist]es fuscatus)
(Jim Kalisch, UNL Entomology)

Mud wasps or mud daubers are all black (in my area), bigger, solitary, and build nests like mud tunnels. They are described as "mean" in a folk saying ("ugly as a mud dauber and twice as mean"), but I have not experienced this.

blue mud dauber - The Backyard Arthropod Project - somethingscrawlinginmyhair.com

Hornets (bald-faced or white-faced hornets) are smaller, mostly black, and build the familiar large football-shaped paper nests. They are aggressive in defending their territory, and as they can be very numerous, can be dangerous to disturb.

from Bee Control Pittsburgh

Yellowjackets or ground wasps are some of the nastiest of the lot. They are small, yellow and black, make nests underground, feed on sweets and carrion, and will viciously pursue anybody they feel threatened by.

from Bee Control Pittsburgh
 
Jen Stew
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We recently brought a yellow jacket nest under control.  They were aggressive and had stung someone twice already.  They located right by the back door, just a few feet from the kids' trampoline.  We got a bug zapper and then aggitated them a bit.  They swarmed the zapper for quite a while, killing nearly all of them.  We will have to wait and see if this a a long term fix, but now we have seen only one or two stragglers and they were not aggressive. 
 
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