Wasp Nests, Part II

This is the ghostly remains of a Dolichovespula paper wasp nest that once hung from the entrance to a mausoleum.

Here’s another, recently taken down, presumably by cemetery maintenance staff. Here’s what this looked like in its prime this summer:

The nests aren’t used again–at least by the wasps, but other creatures may find shelter in here. Basically, the whole hive dies off every fall, and only the queen overwinters, emerging in the spring ready to start a brand new nest somewhere. She spends the winter tucked away in old rotting wood. I stumbled upon a Bald-faced queen a couple of years ago.

You will notice that these wasps are not black and white. This particular nest was made by the other Dolichovespula wasp you might see in NYC, the Common Aerial Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula arenaria). There are three other Dolichovespula species to be found in the northeast nearctic region.

Now, these do look a lot like the Vespula genus ground yellowjackets. I’ve only seen a few of these over the years, and have only seen this one definite nest.
The comb from inside the nest is also made of paper.

While these wasps don’t use the nests during winter, others may. Dark Paper Wasps, Polistes fuscatus have been recorded overwintering in them. I’ve seen other very small lifeforms in the abandoned nests; don’t know what they are, though. Bumble Bee Wax Moth (Aphomia sociella) caterpillars, an inquiline (parasitic) species, have been found inside active nests during the summer.

0 Responses to “Wasp Nests, Part II”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Bookmark and Share

Join 686 other subscribers
Nature Blog Network


%d bloggers like this: