You have most likely come across a wasp nest in your yard at some point. Occasionally, we might see a few wasps flying around, but sometimes it appears like an empty nest. So, what do wasps do during the day when they are not inside their nest?
Wasps prefer to be out when it is warmer, meaning they are more active during the day. So, wasps will look for food, like sugar-rich fruits, nectar, and pollen, in the daytime. They will also scout out new places to nest, like under decks, as well as in garages and trees.
While there are thousands of various species of wasps, paper wasps are the most common type seen around homes and buildings. Here’s a deep look at where wasps live during the day.
Where Do Wasps Go During The Day?
So, what exactly do wasps do during the day, and where do they go? It’s a brilliant question to ask if you are looking to rid your house of wasps or are curious about the fascinating creature.
Wasps are highly active during the day, as they prefer to rest in the evening and overnight. If you’ve come across an empty nest, you may wonder where all the wasps went? Well, there’s a good chance they won’t be gone for long, so proceed with caution.
Here’s a look at where wasps venture while they are not hanging out in their nest.
Wasps Search For Food
Wasps take advantage of their days by looking for food. However, wasps rarely go further than 1000 yards from their nest.
The meal plan of wasps differs depending on species, but most wasps search for nectar and pollen. For example, parasitic wasps prefer sugar-rich foods like honeydew or floral nectar.
In addition, wasps will eat small insects and feed on plants. They will either eat their prey immediately or bring it back to the nest for the larvae.
The queen can lay up to thousands of eggs and often works on collecting food before the eggs hatch. The larvae come out, and their food is waiting for them.
Finally, wasps will chew wood to help build their nests, so it is essential to protect any wood structures around your house.
They Expand Their Nest
Wasps take advantage of their free time during the day to scout out new places for a nest. A wasp nest only lasts one season as new queens and drones move in.
Queen wasps take advantage of warm weather to seek new spots for nest construction. Wasps make their nests with a mixture of dead wood and plant stems. The queen uses her forceful mandibles to chew up the fibers and create the nest.
A wasp lives less than a year, with some only living a few months, but the mighty queen can live for a few years.
Where Do Wasps Live During The Day?
Wasps prefer to be in high places to avoid predators. In addition, wasps try to avoid the elements and choose spots unaffected by rain or wind.
There are many species you will find in the United States and they can often get confused with other insects. For example, paper wasps are seen throughout North America and are often mistaken for yellow jackets because of their similar colors.
Here are a few places you might find wasps living around your home.
1. Under Decks
There’s a good chance you have found a nest on the underside of your deck. Decks make perfect places for wasps because they are up high and can be protected by the various weather elements.
Consider using a Wasp Nest Decoy if you feel like your deck is a popular place for wasps. The innovative gadget mimics an actual nest and tells wasps this turf is taken.
Since wasps are territorial, they will not build a nest if they think other wasps are already living there. Instead, you want to ensure you remove any actual nests before installing the faux one.
Finally, once you remove the nest, make sure you continue to spray the area to prevent them from coming back. Also, if you keep a trash can outside, make sure it is always covered. Wasps will gladly go through your trash looking for some food.
2. In Garages
Your garage is the perfect place for a wasp colony to build its nest. It is dark, away from the rain, and there is less of a chance they will get disturbed.
You will likely find them along any support beams or shelves in your garage during the day. It might be harder to eliminate the nest inside your garage because they do not have as many opportunities to spend time away.
A wasp colony will not have much luck finding food in your garage, but this will not stop them from making it into a home.
You want to eliminate the nest in your garage as soon as possible to prevent the colony from growing.
3. Wasps Nest In Trees
Wasps are not partial to wood when it comes to finding a place to live. You may have noticed nests hanging from tree branches in your backyard.
If you have a bountiful garden, you are more likely to find a nest in a nearby tree. The wasps will also help pollinate your garden, and you may be second-guessing your desire to eliminate the nest.
A wasp nest in a tree can be as large as a soccer ball, so it will not be hard to miss if the colony settles on their version of a mansion.
Since having daytime wasps near your garden can be a positive thing, consider leaving the nest if it is not causing harm to those around it.
If you didn’t know, honeybees and wasps are actually quite different but both can live in trees. However, some species of wasps can still make honey!
When Are Wasps Most Active?
Wasps are most active in the middle of the day, which is when you may see them flying on the outside of the nest. In addition, wasps prefer warmer temperatures and will retreat to their nest in the evening as it gets cooler.
Since wasps prefer warmth, you are more likely to see them during the summer months. Like with most insects, you will see a lot more wasps in the hotter times of the year.
Summer is peak time for wasps, so be mindful while out and about. Since wasps like the sweet taste of sugar, you probably will find them flying around at your outside barbecues.
However, you will also see plenty of wasps in the fall and spring, so don’t let your guard down too quickly. Most of the colony dies out in winter, while the queen hibernates.
You might even notice the development of a nest in your yard. If you do not want the wasps around, this is the prime time to treat the problem. Wasp nests can grow quite large, so it’s best to address the issue immediately.
Another reason to tackle the issue sooner rather than later is the wasps are not as aggressive early on. The colony is smaller, and they do not have as much fight in them as they will over the coming months.
What Should You Do If You Find A Wasp Nest?
We may not always see a nest right away, but if we see several wasps flying around, you can almost guarantee their home is nearby. Understanding the correct way to approach a wasp nest is vital to avoid potentially being stung.
If wasps are in your home, we highly recommend reading our article: 6 Things To Do If You Find Bees and Wasps in Your House
However, if you don’t have time, here are a few tips on what you should do if you find a wasp nest!
1. Don’t Touch The Nest
Even if you do not think there are any wasps in a nest, you should not handle them with your bare hands. While it should go without saying, it’s important to remember.
You also don’t want to hit or swing at a wasp’s nest. Unfortunately, you do not know how the wasps will react, and you have no natural line of defense to protect yourself. As you will read, it’s better to use appropriate pest control options when trying to eliminate a nest.
Finally, you do not want to take the chance and manually remove the nest because you think it’s empty. Even if there does not seem to be any activity, you do not want to take the chance and disturb any wasps inside.
2. Get Rid Of The Wasps If You Can
There are plenty of insecticides on the market, including the Mighty Mint Pest Control, which does a superb job at ridding your house of a wasp problem. The non-toxic spray can be used directly on a nest and has a lovely peppermint scent.
Since wasps go back to their nest in the evening, it’s best to use a spray once it’s dark outside. However, you will have a greater chance of success if you wait until the sun goes down.
If you spray during the day and successfully eliminate the nest, wasps will work on building a new one. Challenge accepted.
Wasps will lay their nest either under or above ground. If the nest is underground, it’s best to use powdered pest control like the Delta Dust Control. The water-proof dust can be applied directly into the hole.
You can learn more about the mechanics of how wasp spray works here.
In addition to pest control options, there are scents hate if you are looking for a more natural approach. You can have a lot of success using items around the house like cucumbers, dried bay leaves, and vinegar. You can learn more about these options here: 8 Scents That Wasps Hate (And How To Use Them).
Finally, don’t carry light when you eliminate the nest at night. Instead, you will have the opposite effect you are going for and will begin attracting wasps to you.
Instead, cover any necessary light with red cellophane, as wasps cannot see red light.
3. Call A Pest Professional
If an infestation ever seems out of your control, it’s always advisable to reach out to a pest professional. They can help determine the severity of the problem and figure out the best removal methods.
Y especially want to contact a professional if you cannot see the nest, but witness wasps coming out of a crack or gap in your foundation. The last thing you want is to encourage them to go further into your home.
4. Prevent Future Wasp Nests
There are several preventative measures you can follow to ensure a new colony of wasps does not come knocking at your door.
- Check for holes in the ground. You will want to inspect your yard thoroughly for any holes that could be future nesting spots for wasps. Fill in any holes with dirt to ensure complete coverage.
- Inspect your home for any holes in the foundation and siding. Like most pests, wasps can find their way through holes on the outside of your home. To ensure they don’t build a nest inside your walls, fill any gaps or holes you find.
- Avoid keeping piles of wood or brush outside. A nice, dark woodpile is a great place for a colony to build its nest. If you must keep wood outside your house, ensure you cover it completely.
You can learn more about why wasps are specifically in your house here.
Do Wasps Sleep?
Wasps retreat to their nests in the evening, which is why this is the best time to eliminate the nest.
Instead of describing their rest as sleep, it’s more appropriate to call it a dormant time of day for the insect. While they might not be in a deep sleep, the night gives them time to rest their bodies.
Once a wasp retreats to its nest in the evening, there will be several hours of immobility before becoming active again. Sometimes, a wasp will not wake until after sunrise.
Interestingly enough, wasps can quickly revert to a dormant state even after being aroused. So, if you accidentally stir the wasps while attempting to eliminate the nest, wait about twenty minutes before trying again.
Wasps can still perform as usual even with sleep deprivation, if only humans were so lucky!
Why Do Wasps Sting?
If you have ever been stung by a wasp, you may have wondered what you did to deserve it. Typically, a wasp stings to catch its prey, but they also use it as a defensive mechanism.
Here are a few reasons a wasp might sting you.
- A wasp will sting if it feels threatened. If someone were coming after you, you would probably try to protect yourself as well. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate the nest while the insects are dormant
- If you agitate a wasp, it will come after you. Much like being threatened, a wasp will sting if it is annoyed with something. You may have unknowingly stumbled across a nest and begun flailing your arms in defense. Well, wasps do not want you throwing your arms at them, and they will prove it to you by using their stinger.
Wasps will use a pheromone to let their colony know they feel threatened, so you may have a colony against you in no time. In addition, wasps can sting repeatedly, so if you get stung, ensure you leave immediately to avoid getting stung again.
What Else Do Wasps Do?
Wasps get a poor reputation because of their mighty sting. In addition, the awesomeness of bees can overshadow them. I mean, bees are pretty great.
If you are not sure which insect you have in your garden, give 6 Honey Bee And Wasp Differences (And How To Identify Them) a read!
However, there are advantages to coexisting with wasps. First, while we are quick to eliminate a wasp problem, you might rethink your decision next time you find a nest around your house.
Here are a few reasons you might let a wasp nest stay in your backyard.
Wasps Are Pollinators
Similar to bees, wasps help pollinate crops and flowers. While they don’t match the pollination skills of bees, wasps can efficiently transfer pollen from plant to plant.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, wasps do not pollinate as well as bees because they lack fuzzy hair. Without it, the pollen does not stick as well.
However, you may notice your garden is growing better than ever if you have a wasp nest nearby. If the nest is not bothering you, leave it be and see just what the wasps can do. It may surprise you how much more your garden flourishes.
Wasps Help Regulate Crop Pests
Wasps can protect your garden from pests like caterpillars, crickets, and flies. Wasps can even lay parasitic eggs in caterpillars.
Wasps also eat spiders and mosquitos; two pests never invited to any party at my house. In addition, wasps do an excellent job of keeping certain types of stink bugs out of your garden.
While you may not love the sight of wasps flying around your garden, they can help keep your plants and flowers growing to their fullest potential.
If you do not think wasps are cool yet, listen to this. Even if a pest has made its way into a plant, the wasp can fly in and pull it out. So, while wasps are pests themselves, they can be invaluable to keeping your garden safe from others.
That’s A Wrap!
That’s a wrap on where wasps live during the day.
You likely won’t see wasps at their nest during the day because they are finding food or even a new place to call home.
Wasps are most active during the day when it’s warmer. They will remain relatively dormant overnight as the temperatures become cooler.
Remember, never to touch a nest, and aim for treating the issue at night when wasps are inactive and resting. If you do not think you can handle the wasp issue, reach out to a professional. It’s especially vital to seek help if you have a wasp allergy.
Finally, while wasps can be a problem, it’s best to let them be if they are not bothering you. The pollinators can keep pests away from your lovely garden and help your flowers grow.
Hoffmann, M., et al. “Imported wasp helps control southern green stink bug.” California Agriculture 45.3 (1991): 20-22.
Klein, Barrett A., Allen G. Gibbs, and Kathryn MF Larsen. “Signatures of sleep in the paper wasp Polistes flavus.” The 2003 ESA Annual Meeting and Exhibition. 2003.
Röse, U. S. R., J. Lewis, and J. H. Tumlinson. “Extrafloral nectar from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) as a food source for parasitic wasps.” Functional Ecology (2006): 67-74.
Sachdev, A., et al. “Wasp sting induced neurological manifestations.” Neurology India 50.3 (2002): 319.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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