Most wasps are social in nature and live in colonies. Like bees, most wasp species therefore build nests in close proximity to their feeding grounds, thus enabling the expansion of their numbers.
Wasps have an incredible ability to make a strong and sturdy paper like material just with only some scraped wood and their saliva. This is how they got the name “paper wasps.” The queen wasp hibernates during the winter months and then sets out to look for a place to build her nest during the summer.
She collects rotting wood by scraping it off logs and tree trunks, with her mandibles. She then mixes this with her saliva, breaking it down to a pasty paper pulp like consistency. She looks for a safe, secure and relatively undisturbed location that will also hold the weight of the nest.
Wasps usually build their nests in open places so that they can easily go outside to look for food and building material. This is why you will mostly find wasp nests under eaves, in hollow pockets in the wall, under tree branches or in garages and sheds and in other places where people aren’t frequent visitors.
The queen wasp carries the paper pulp and starts building her nest and uses this pulp to create cavities for the larvae and eggs. This pulp then dries up to form solid and sturdy walls for the nest. As the number of wasps in the colony increases, the nest too is expanded to accommodate the growing number of wasps.
The nest will only be used for one season. Wasps do not use the same nest twice. Hence, after one season, the wasps abandon the nest, never to return to it. Even so, when dealing with the extermination of a wasp colony, it is necessary to get rid of the nest too, as any wasps that may be foraging outside may keep returning to the nest.
A wasp’s nest can hold a large number of wasps, and depending on the size of a nest, there could be anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand wasps living in a single colony.