Bug Blog

You Would Not Believe How Large Wasp Nests Can Get

You have quite likely stumbled upon an insect nest before. Sometimes these nests can be interesting, and other times they can be terrifying. Wasp nests are one of those nests that people instinctively know to avoid. There’s something menacing about the appearance of a wasp nest, but wasp nests are not always housing wasps. Every year a queen wasp will emerge from hibernation and then start construction on a new wasp nest. Sometimes queen wasps will build onto old wasp nests that had already been constructed. However, queen wasps always build new nests, and they never inhabit old decaying nests. This is why simply spotting a wasp nest does not mean that wasps are nearby. However, this also means that wasp nests can become extremely large over the course of years. For example, a wasp nest discovered in Tasmania, Australia two years ago is the largest wasp nest ever recorded, as it weighs two hundred and twenty pounds. And if you think that enormous wasp nests can only be found in places like Australia, then you would be wrong.

Vespula germanica wasps are invasive to Australia, and experts believe they first arrived on the continent in 1959 through New Zealand. In Australia, these wasps do not have any natural predators so they are capable of building highly populated colonies. This is part of the reason why these wasps were able to construct a nest containing up to one hundred thousand wasps. The nest has recently been relocated to the Queen Victoria Museum where the general public can marvel at its enormous size of thirty cubic feet.

Just five years prior to the giant wasp nest that was discovered in Australia, a pub owner in Great Britain discovered a wasp nest in his attic that measured an astounding six by five feet at the base. Experts estimated that the nest housed half a million wasps. And most recently, a wasp nest measuring twenty two feet was discovered in the Canary Islands. Now the wasp nest that you found in your garage last summer does not seem as frightening.

Have you ever encountered an insect nest that you thought was unusually large?