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The wasp dwelling can seem like an architectural marvel. But what material is a wasp nest made of? We clarify.

In a nutshell

  • Wood and saliva of the wasps are the basic building materials
  • Wasp nests can be different colors
  • in some cases the nest is only used for a year


When wasps build a nest, they only use two substances: wood and saliva. You can also use other materials as an alternative to wood. For example, the following are particularly popular:

Wasp nest with its honeycombs
  • rotten wood
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • bark
  • cellulose

Any item that can contain cellulose is used by the wasps. The nests can therefore differ greatly in color and have interesting color combinations. From a beam to paneling or the wooden chair on the balcony, the insects can strip away thin layers from almost any exposed surface and use the materials to build their nests. The insects also use firewood stored outdoors, boards and woody stems of plants.

Tip: Removing rotten wood and protecting wooden components with varnish or varnish reduces the likelihood of wasps building a nest on the property or damaging the building fabric.

procedure during construction

The procedure for nest building is comparatively simple and requires only a few steps:

Wasps build on a wasp nest
  1. Having found a suitable place for the nest, wasps go in search of available building materials.
  2. With their chewing tools they grate off wood or other cellulose in thin layers.
  3. The wasps transport the wood to the site of the future nest and mix it with saliva. This acts as an adhesive and creates a papier-mâché-like mass from the removed material.
  4. The animals model the walls of the wasp's nest in layers so that little by little, corridors appear.
  5. After the building fabric has dried, it hardens and the nest becomes habitable.

The advantages of the material used are:

  • versatile shape
  • great hardness after drying
  • comparatively low weight
  • numerous positions are possible

Notice: Normal building fabric is usually not gnawed through by the insects. However, there may be imperfections. Cardboard and paper are materials that wasps puncture in a targeted manner, for example to create more space for the wasp nest.


Wasp nests are often found in sheltered areas and elevated positions. For example:

Wasp nest on a window corner
  • on beams
  • in the attic
  • hanging freely in the bushes
  • in wall cavities
  • in roller shutter boxes
  • under gutters and roof tiles

Notice: The liquid droppings that fall under the wasp nests can cause damage to the subsoil. So it makes sense to cover the area under the nest to avoid discoloration and odor. Cat litter can also be used to bind the liquid and odor.

frequently asked Questions

Can wasp nests be removed?

Since there are some protected wasp species and bees and hornets also build nests, a nest should not simply be removed. If it is in an unfavorable place or if the structure is damaged by the animals, an exterminator, for example, can determine the species and remove the nest if necessary.

Is a wasp nest used more than once?

Whether wasp nests are used several times or only serve as a shelter for one year depends on the species of wasps.

Are wasp nests a danger?

Aside from possible damage from the nest, the wasps can pose a hazard if you have an existing allergy. However, with the right behavior and some protective measures, the risk of bites can be kept very low.

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