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Nature & Environment

Alabama plagued by huge wasp 'super nests'

By T.K. Randall
July 1, 2019 · Comment icon 21 comments

Wasps in Alabama are building big. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Richard Bartz
Some wasp nests in the southeastern state are so big that even pest control experts won't go near them.
Finding a wasp nest in your home or garden can be unnerving enough at the best of times, but imagine finding one several times the size - a veritable fortress of wood pulp.

Unfortunately for residents of Alabama, several of these ''super nests', which unlike regular nests can survive the winter months, have recently started to appear across the state.

What's worse is that they are also showing up in some rather unusual places.
"We have found them attached to home exteriors and other places you might not expect to find yellow jackets," said entomologist Charles Ray. "The most workers I have counted in a perennial nest is about 15,000 or about three to four times more than a normal nest."

The last time a spate of super nests occurred was back in 2006 and there are concerns that this year there will be even more of them than there were then.

"If we are seeing them a month sooner than we did in 2006, I am very concerned that there will be a large number of them in the state," said Ray.

"The nests I have seen this year already have more than 10,000 workers and are expanding rapidly."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (21)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 5 years ago
How DARE people use basic elementary school science to show the astounding fact that more CO2 in the atmosphere = not good for livable temps. It's like scientists want even the DUMBEST hill person to understand this VERY BASIC CONCEPT.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
That nest is beautiful ! Perfect anti-personnel  mine !
Comment icon #14 Posted by Not A Rockstar 5 years ago
Nah. Now, without the suit.... different story LOL. The stings were on my shoulders and upper arms where the hood ends and the weight of the suit is resting against the top of the body (especially when it is HOT and you are sweating in that mess). You have to expect that with that many thousands of stingers airborne. I don't mind wasps or bees a bit, though without the right gear I respect them. I never wear it for just bees, unless they don't act right and might have a new, bad queen making them hotter than they should be. Africanized are no joke and it doesn't take long for a hive to convert... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Tatetopa 5 years ago
Good for you you got it quick.  I had one outside my kitchen.  Every day I would find 4-5 in the kitchen when I came home from work.  Looks like they were enlarging a hole at the corner of the window frame.  Not fun.  I don't know what I could have done with 40-50 inside.  My bug guy was pretty smart. I paid him for a little OT but he came at the last of his day for two days and doused the thing with his sprayer at dusk.  Seemed to get most of them.  No more noise in the wall.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Tatetopa 5 years ago
Impressive enough I'd say.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Not A Rockstar 5 years ago
That room wasn't used then. I just happened to walk in for something and heard that odd faint chewing sound and walked outside wondering wth and saw it in disbelief. With that many queens it probably would have doubled in a month or so. Seriously bad stuff. I remember googling to try to sort what they were and finding that Alabama story of the old car full up with a nest and reached for the phone. I was shocked they did not have a clue what I was describing. A threat change like that would be basic exterminator news, I would have thought. They did not take it seriously and took a couple days t... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by Tatetopa 5 years ago
They better get their act together pretty quickly.  There are going to be more of those plus fire ants in these hot dry summers.  Ticks too probably? Were they yellow jackets?  I hate those b*****s they are so mean and territorial,  They nest in the ground a lot up here and can turn a day in the woods real bad very quickly. On the bright side, they do have a few predators.   I was at a picnic once at a friends house.  About halfway through, the yellow jackets found us and started trying to carry off hot dogs and hamburgers.   He had a big hornet's nest about 60 feet up in a fir tree,... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Not A Rockstar 5 years ago
Yes mine were yellow jackets. I only knew them to nest in the ground until this event, so it was surprising and as I said, you would suppose a bug man would know about it. Funny you mention those wasps as I have carpenter bees trying to set up house in my carport and am making a fake hornet nest to hang out there to run them out. I hear it works well so am gonna find out  
Comment icon #20 Posted by Tatetopa 5 years ago
Do the wasps bother your bees?
Comment icon #21 Posted by Not A Rockstar 5 years ago
Usually, no. I do not have many wasps about other than that one event years ago. Just a few smaller ordinary sorts and a good hive can take those out if they try to invade. A decent hive will have 60-120k bees inside so no problem.

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