Weather Forecast


The buzz on this nest

Contributed photo Bev Thoennes sent in photos of odd looking nests located in birch trees at her home on Lake Brophy. The Echo Press did further investigation about the nests and discovered they are paper wasp nests.

A reader sent in photos of a pair of nests that were built this year in birch trees near her home on Lake Brophy.

The Echo Press did some further investigation about these nests.

The nests are home to paper wasps, according to Robin Trott, the extension educator of Douglas County.

Trott said that paper wasps create their nest from plant and rotten wood material by chewing the material and mixing it with their saliva.

Unlike honey bees, paper wasps and yellow jackets can repeatedly sting and therefore people must be careful around them, said Trott.

Bee hives are normally created inside of a structure like a hollow tree rather than in the open, she said.

Since the honey bee population has decreased, bee keepers are happy to help control the bees in a way that does not kill them so the bees can continue to be beneficial with pollination, Trott mentioned.

Paper wasps will generally only sting when they are threatened or disturbed, said Trott.

She added that yellow jackets are very aggressive, especially at this time of the year. Yellow jackets are in search of food before the winter months approach and are often attracted to outdoor meals and even apple trees, warned Trott.

She suggested keeping foods covered and being cautious when harvesting apple trees.

Unlike wasps, yellow jackets have underground nests, said Trott.

When trying to get rid of a wasp or yellow jacket nest, Trott suggested treating after dark and on cooler evenings.

Wasps and yellow jackets have a hard time flying in temperatures below 50 degrees, said Trott.

After applying a powder treatment to a yellow jacket nest, place a large rock over the hole to prevent more yellow jackets from inhabiting the area and as a reminder of where the nest is located.

Wasp treatments are generally in a spray form, said Trott.

Trott said the best time to get rid of a wasp nest would be in January or December. Wasps are dormant and often do not survive after a few freezes, said Trott. Therefore, this would be the safest time to get rid of the nest.

For more information about wasps, yellow jackets, bees and for bee control information, visit the University of Minnesota website,