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Wasps Nest!

Wasps Nest Under the Eaves, ink & watercolor, 8x5"
Wasps Nest Under the Eaves, ink & watercolor, 8×5″

Each year a family (a nation?) of yellow-jacket wasps builds a nest here. One year they built a nest in an abandoned bird feeder which led to an interesting garden ecology life-cycle story. This time the nest is under the eaves of my studio. Fortunately it’s in an area where they’re not bothering me and vice-versa.

I would have liked to draw them and their nest with more detail, but decided it was best to work from a distance, have a more vague drawing, and not get stung.

When I eat lunch on the nearby deck, a wasp scout or two will come by for their share, which I put on a plate on the table for them. That way they don’t bother me on the chaise lounge where I usually eat and read.

I investigated having the nest professionally removed but read that they are beneficial to the garden, as they eat insect pests and move pollen around. I was surprised to learn that you shouldn’t swat at them as that makes them instinctively want to bite, which they can do repeatedly since unlike bees they don’t lose their stinger.

When the season changes I’m hoping they go away so I can remove the nest to observe and draw it more closely. And I’m watching for dead wasps that I can draw, but no luck so far.

10 replies on “Wasps Nest!”

NIce sketch Jana! It’s right not to swat at them. My first job was as a lifeguard at a pool. I remember one wasp that sat on my big toe for what seemed like eternity. It tickled a bit, but it didn’t sting me. I just kept as still as possible. I was sitting on one of those tall chairs and there was no where I could move anyway.


That makes a great image! I’ll remember your story if one sits on me and will stay still…but I hope they choose not to sit on me. If you’d started swinging wildly you could have not only got stung but also knocked over your tall chair and broken something. When I was a 8 I broke my leg and had a big cast from toe to hip. I was walking around on crutches with the good foot barefoot in the backyard and stepped on a bee. Then my poor mom had to carry me around for a day. Jana


Thanks Aletha, They are beautiful to observe and since I knew nothing about them, started by drawing rice grain shaped things with big wings and then on closer inspection saw they were made of three parts and had skinny legs (or something) that hang down and skinny long wings. I wanted to see closer but realized I could look them up on the internet later without getting stung (though I haven’t done that research yet.) Jana


I love your painting of the wasp nest. I’d leave it there when summer is over, I think some overwinter to start the new year. I took a (what I thought was empty) nest into the house and next spring I had wasps flying all around in the house.


My county (Los Angeles) has a free service to remove Vector-borne disease creatures. They explain: What is a Vector? Any insect or other arthropod capable of transmitting the causative
agent of human disease or capable of producing human discomfort or injury. (This was a quote
from the pamphlet by Los Angeles County.


My county will remove them too, but only if they’re in the ground. They aren’t allowed to deal with them when they’re on buildings–something about liability relating to messing with buildings. J


Well Jana, Your lovely work above moved me to get going and call the pest company as the little yellow critters, I think, have made some kind of a nest up my stove’s vent. We’ll find out soon. I love your work and thanks so much for all of your sharings!!! C-Marie


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