Bug Blog

Wasps Create Their Own Paper In Order To Build Nests

Wasps Create Their Own Paper In Order To Build Nests

12365423 - wasp isolated on white background

There are a variety of different types of wasps in America. For example, yellowjackets, paper wasps and bald-faced hornets. Each one of these wasps show similarities and differences in how they construct their nests. All wasps build their nests in the same way, but that does not mean that they end up looking the same in the end. Queen, and worker wasps use a sort of paper during nest construction. This paper is the most abundant material used in nest building. In fact, wasps have been able to produce paper longer than we humans have. You can find wasp nests in a variety of locations, but when you do, turn around, and walk the other way, as these flying insects tend to be more protective of their nests than some other insects.

We all know that wood can be turned into paper. Humans have been processing paper from trees for quite some time. But how do wasps create paper from wood? Any type of wood can be converted into paper by wasps. Cardboard can even be used by wasps to create paper.

After a queen wasp uses her jaws to break-off wood fibers, the queen then uses her saliva, and a bit of water, in order to weaken the hard wood fibers. This mixture becomes soft pulpy cellulose in the queen’s mouth. The queen then finds some void where it wants the nest to be located. This is when the mouthful of cellulose and saliva are spit out. This solution then hardens, forming the wasp nest.

The queen forms hexagonal shapes within the nest in order to shelter wasp offspring. As the colony grows, worker wasps take over construction of the nest; building additions for new offspring. During the winter, wasps die, except for the hibernating queen. Upon awakening during the early spring, The queen repeats this process.

Have you ever spotted a wasp nest, but did not recognize it at the time? Was it an active nest?