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My son noticed this near the apex of my shed roof yesterday.  Does anyone know what it is?


Orchid Lady

I think it's a wasps nest, presumably there are no wasps going in/out as you would have realised.  Check first and if not it's safe to move 

Thanks OL.  It's only about the size of a golf ball so not many wasps I hope and I haven't noticed any buzzing in and out as yet.

I had european wasps nesting in my compost bin last year (which admittedly was full of inherited grass mowings rather than compost) and they were horrible.  Nasty aggressive little beasts

Orchid Lady

They are horrible, don't mind bees but can't stand wasps really. I only know what it is because we had one in our shed last year, when they left we removed it 


Agree its a wasps nest - we were told to leave ours there as when next years wasps come scouting they won't take a space thats already occupied.  I think they even sell fake nests as wasp deterrents for that reason.

fascinating creatures though - if you look closely that nest is a work of art


 Common wasp nest built by the queen.


I agree chicky - they are absolutely stunning. When you watch a wasp harvesting wood from a fence to make into the 'paper' they make the nest with - you have to admire mother nature's skill  

Can't understand why anybody would think they were 'horrible.' I've seen very few wasps this year so far.

They also chew up dried hogweed stems to make paper. Fascinating to watch and hear.
Orchid Lady

I agree they are a work of art, we were fascinated by ours, it also does fascinate me watching them.  However, I don't like them near me, they just seem so aggressive and I don't fancy getting stung fir no reason 

So it's a queen wasps nest - would she have over-wintered in the shed at some point then? 

Last year's european lot were very agressive.  I had to abandon working in that corner of the garden last Autumn because they'd come and attack me if I got within 10 feet of the compost bin with more and more joining in if I didn't retreat.  I got stung a couple of times as did one of my visitors.  I was relieved to discover they don't nest in the same place twice. The ordinary english ones don't seem so bad - more dopey than fierce

Often the queen hibernates in corners of a shed, or even in your curtains, rather like over-wintering butterflies.
I think the queen may make several trial nests before she settles somewhere. We've had nests in different bird nest boxes; but apparently they don't return to the same one again. Nuisance when it is a swift box I definitely want available for the swifts!

Wasps will also cut neat pieces out of meat and carry them off if you are eating outdoors.  I provide the 'Chairman's Fieldtrip' picnic for my geology group.  We were unloading last year when someone realised there was an active wasp nest close to where I had intended setting up.  I moved everything about 10 metres away, provided said nest with a selection of 'goodies' and we were not bothered at all. Hornets have a bad reputation but I've photographed many of them foraging and rescued a few as well.  And yes, wasp nests are superb.  I've seen a very large one dug out of somebody's garden and you can only wonder at the skill and effort involved

Victoria Sponge

I've seen wasps cutting up meat too DorsetUK Years ago my father and I were sat outside with some food when a wasp removed a small piece of ham and flew off with it. The amazing thing was, it seemed to communicate it with the rest of the wasps because others came in, a bit like flights at an airport, and as one one flying away with some ham another was was cutting a slice. Extraordinary

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